With the help of my wonderful mentor, Laura Valenti-Jelen I have completed a portfolio of work I am very proud of. This body of work below is taken from my trip to Namibia in May this year and started with over 6,000 raw images that were edited down to just over 400 good images and further cut to about 200 with strong potential to end up with the final portfolio of 26 strong images. When I started out I had a sense of the color tones from the areas we visited and with Laura’s encouragement, I applied a sepia like finish to all the pictures in the portfolio and I believe these now capture the desert like feel of the environment and its people, the Himba tribe.
I settled on the title of Blood + Water as these represent what I believe to be the themes underlying life in the region. “Blood” represents the strong family and community ties essential to survive in such an environment. Without the close knit network of the tribe these people would struggle to survive in such a challenging world. “Water” is the other critical element to all life in the region and Namibia is currently in the grips of a two year drought which is taking its toll on the people and the animals. The pictures shown scenes from digging wells in the dry river beds in order to water the cattle and themselves. This is an arduous daily task which is a must for survival.
I hope these images inspire you to reach out and explore the world around us. By visiting Namibia and Ethiopia the year before, I recognize the is a vast difference in our living standards although that gap is much smaller in terms of quality of living because of the strong community of these people, something I believe we can learn from. I am truly privileged to have spent time with the Himba people and my desire is to use these pictures to raise funds for the Unicef “Zero” campaign. Each day, 18,000 children around the world die from preventable causes – this is a tragedy of monumental proportions. Unicef is driving that number down, already from 23,000 a day over the past two years. I invite you to join me in making a difference by contributing to this campaign at this link. All proceeds from this work will go to this campaign.