Facing Uncertainty: Photographic portraits from Kenya


Matilda Battersby@matildbattersby
Tuesday 01 November 2011 19:17

Photographer John Kenny began a journey in 2006 which would take him though many of Sub-Saharan Africa’s remotest communities. He spent hours walking, hitch-hiking and driving across African countries taking photographs of people who practise ancient cultures and traditions.

An exhibition of some of Kenny’s newest photographs taken in the northern lowlands of Kenya opens at a London gallery next week. It includes intimate portraits and large format shots of individuals from the Samburu, Turkana and Rendille peoples.

Those he photographed face incredible daily challenges, but survive the extreme climate of the region through the strength of their cultural traditions.

Their homes are set in the harsh scrub, sweltering heat and dust-laden winds, where traditional societies manage large herds of cattle, goats and camels. It is an area now suffering from a prolonged drought and famine.

Kenny’s hugely detailed portraits, for which he used a 10x8 format Chamonix camera, are stark reminders of how climate change is threatening global cultural diversity and jeopardizing centuries-old ways of life that could disappear in some areas within a few generations.

Facing Uncertainty: Photographic portraits from Kenya is at 3 Bedfordbury gallery, Covent Garden, London from 21 September until 2 October, www.capitalculture.eu

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