Field Work… Africa

Field Work… Africa

Sandra Conte

27th May 2013

Being in nature and capturing its beauty through photography, is one of the perks in African-born Richard Field’s safari work. His love of wildlife photography is matched by his ability
to capture in portraiture the spirit of resilience to be found in the surrounding Indigenous communities.

Rich gives a glimpse into this world with his observations of well meaning western visitors who may not understand the sustainable values held by different lifestyles – “An example of this comes from my last safari, where we were unexpectedly invited into a Maasai village – one that isn’t set up for tourists. It was a completely authentic and uncontrived experience and it had some impact on my guests. The biggest impact was felt because my guests, like most well intentioned tourists to remote parts of the world, want to try and help where they can. They walk into a remote village and see that there is no running water and think how much easier these people’s lives would be with a pump and some basic plumbing, but seldom do they ask the people if that is what they actually want. The fact is that the Maasai have been living their own lives in the same way quite happily for many thousands of years, so who are we to tell them how to live their lives. They are justifiably proud of their culture and they are one of the few tribes of Africa who are still clinging on to their traditional ways. To try and make their lives better by bringing in pieces of western culture is a little arrogant on our behalf, although often well intentioned. Our constant searching for physical wealth and material possessions hasn’t really left us much happier. When you spend time with people like the Maasai in a natural and uncontrived way it becomes immediately apparent how happy these people are with what we would consider to be close to nothing. Instead of thinking that we always know best, we would do well to step back and learn from others who have long made their peace with the earth”.

Enamoured by Africa’s wilderness, Richard has worked for 16 years as a safari guide, naturalist and photographer. Based in Sydney he also organises extraordinary safari travel experiences for people wanting to experience the real Africa. Here Richard shares his portraiture work, allowing us to look into the Maasai eyes, of a woman, child and man, in order to reflect on our own, perhaps inflexible, perceptions about sustainability with the land.

Photographs by Richard Field. Maasai warrior, Maasai woman, and Maasai child, Ngorongoro Highlands, Tanzania.

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