British photographer Tom Oldham recently exhibited his work The Herder Boys of Lesotho, a series that documents the workers who endure the extreme mountain ridges of Lesotho in the South African region.
When Oldham toured the high-altitude country in 2009, he noticed silhouetted figures among the hills by the roadside. They were the region’s herders, who work in extreme conditions and are iconic symbols of Lesotho.
Seven years later, Oldham returned to document the lives of the Herder Boys in 2016, spending months earning their trust and working with a translator.
These portraits show the Herder Boys dressed in clothes designed to endure the severe weather, including large blankets to protect them from the strong sunlight, as well as the ice, wind and snow throughout the year. Each blanket is personal to the wearer.
Oldham, an ambassador for Hasselblad, told the camera makers: “I had two shots in mind when planning this project; I wanted to capture the herders set against their sprawling landscape and then I wanted to remove the blankets to reveal the man beneath, using each blanket as a backdrop for their portraits
“They looked so incredible and powerful but the more I learned about them, the more I learned how exposed they are to some terrible working conditions and extreme weather, it was written all over their faces.”
Like our Facebook page for more of the same.
Akita was granted permission to use images by PhotoBite