lamu :: shela village.


a dhow rests on a sandbar just off the coast of shela beach, lamu island, kenya.

the lamu archipelago lies two degrees south of the equator, just off the coast of kenya, surrounded by the indian ocean, yet protected by coral reefs and mangrove forests. lamu is the main island in the chain, and is both a UNESCO world heritage site and the oldest living town in kenya. lamu town was one of east africa’s original swahili settlements, and a bustling port city on the arab trading routes. there is a well-preserved swahili culture and a strong religious community. shela village, just a few miles from lamu town, is the second largest settlement on the island, and in stark contrast to lamu town — with stretches of sandy beach, white-washed houses, and relaxed atmosphere. dhows and fishing boats rest along the shore line and donkeys meander through the narrow streets. there are no cars on the island, and a generator supplies power (most of the time) and it’s pretty much always hot and sunny, and the water is always clear and cool. for me, and for many who visit this beautiful island, shela is a perfect, and unexpected paradise.

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lamu island, kenya – 2010:

part I :: lamu :: shela village.

part II :: lamu :: maulidi.

part III :: lamu :: dhow races.

part IV :: lamu :: shela primary school.

part V :: kiwayu :: island life.

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Filed under africa, lamu, photography, travel

lamu :: maulidi.


maulidi celebrations in lamu town, lamu island, kenya.

maulidi is a religious festival and annual celebration held in lamu during the third month of the muslim calendar to commemorate the birth of the prophet mohammed. this year marked the 121st celebration on the island, which attracts faithful celebrants from all over east africa and the middle east, as well as tourists from around the world.

maulidi is lamu’s unique and purely east african version of the religious festival, milad-un-nabi. centered around religious celebrations and the riyadha mosque, the festivities last for several days, featuring an array of cultural activities throughout town. there is elaborate drumming and dancing, and competitions that honor traditional culture — bao games, dhow races, swimming competition, and the donkey race, as well as poetry and embroidery. the festival is a source of great pride for the entire community, and the festivities truly ignite the island with excitement. it is amazing to witness such appreciation and devotion from such a united and connected community.

on the last day of maulidi, all of the men of gather at the town cemetery to pray and begin a procession into town. the procession is unreal — endless rows of men in white kanzu and kofia march through the streets, holding hands and dancing and singing in loud celebration. they move along the seafront towards the centre of town, accompanied by drums, and greeted by throngs of people on every corner. i wandered through the streets looking for a good spot, and was welcomed into a doorway on one of the good corners, which gave me a perfect view as they moved from the dock and into the streets of town. rose water is poured and splashed on everyone, including bystanders, and at the end i was completely drenched in the sweet smell, my ears ringing with the sounds of their singing, and absolutely in love with maulidi.

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lamu island, kenya – 2010:

part I :: lamu :: shela village.

part II :: lamu :: maulidi.

part III :: lamu :: dhow races.

part IV :: lamu :: shela primary school.

part V :: kiwayu :: island life.

* * * * *

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lamu :: shela primary school.


school children at shela primary on lamu island, working with polaroid film.

ive said it before, and ill say it again — i love polaroid cameras!

i absolutely love working with children, and while they are always very excited to learn about photography and love to have their photo taken, nothing beats the added joy of instant gratification with polaroid film! they loved posing, helping set up shots, and then handling and shaking the prints while they exposed right before their eyes. after every child had a photograph, they went back to the classroom and placed the photos in their notebooks, writing sentances in english describing where they were and what they were doing in the photograph  — love! i spent most of my time with the first graders who were so energetic and eager to learn and talk with me. at times they were totally giddy, but their teacher — the amazing miss grace — handled them perfectly, firm but kind, and with breaks for recess :) it was a wonderful experience, and i cant wait to see them again next week! enjoy!

* * * * *

lamu island, kenya – 2010:

part I :: lamu :: shela village.

part II :: lamu :: maulidi.

part III :: lamu :: dhow races.

part IV :: lamu :: shela primary school.

part V :: kiwayu :: island life.

* * * * *

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Filed under africa, children, education, lamu, photography, travel

kiwayu :: island life.


the tiny island of kiwayu, situated off the coast of kenya, in the lamu archipelago.

8 hours northeast of lamu by sail, and situated within the kiunga marine national reserve, kiwayu is a mere wisp of an island — just 12 miles long and half a mile wide. i spent a few days camping, snorkeling, and fishing with friends along the deserted white sand beaches and fell in love with this idyllic island. the main village is very small, with no electricity, one school, and one well for fresh water. everyone i met was wonderful, especially the children who were anxious to have their photographs taken with their siblings + friends. my favorite was one woman who acted camera shy until i showed her the image i had taken on the back of the camera’s LCD screen — she was thrilled! she blushed and smiled in approval, which encouraged her daughter to take a turn in front of the lens. i love being able to show people how beautiful they are, and i was thrilled to hear they loved the prints i sent back to the island when i returned to the states :)

* * * * *

lamu island, kenya – 2010:

part I :: lamu :: shela village.

part II :: lamu :: maulidi.

part III :: lamu :: dhow races.

part IV :: lamu :: shela primary school.

part V :: kiwayu :: island life.

* * * * *

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Filed under africa, lamu, photography, travel

lamu :: dhow races.


lamu dhow racing, maulidi 2010.

lamu island is renowned for its annual dhow races which occur during major festivals and celebrations throughout the year. earlier this year, during maulidi – the multi-day celebration of the prophet’s birthday – i was fortunate to be on the island during the races and aboard the magnificent dhow felice chasing the racing dhows! it was exhilarating to watch the dhows tack back and forth through the channel, and crazy when one capsized — there are so many men on the boats, it’s amazingly controlled chaos!



* * * * *

lamu island, kenya – 2010:

part I :: lamu :: shela village.

part II :: lamu :: maulidi.

part III :: lamu :: dhow races.

part IV :: lamu :: shela primary school.

part V :: kiwayu :: island life.

* * * * *

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Filed under africa, lamu, photography, travel

women by women.

dc fotoweek + wpow = fantastic photo exhibition!


unkonda, thrilled to be back in shela, lamu island, kenya, laughs aboard felice.

i am so excited to announce that the above image was chosen to be included in WPOW’s annual photo exhibition women by women.” i absolutely love this portrait (and the subject!) and i am so proud to see it on display this week in dc! unkonda is an incredible woman with an exuberant spirit and infectious energy. her magnificent laugh and broad smile are among her best features and just looking at this image makes me so happy! the photo was taken earlier this year off the coast of kenya, but unkonda is currently working with the peace corps in burkina faso. i miss her and her amazing laugh, but i am so proud of the work she is doing and count myself lucky to call her my friend.

the juried show features the work of some of dc’s most notable photographers and i am so honored to be among them! the images are on display during fotoweek at AYN studio in dc from 11/5 – 11/14, with the opening reception on tuesday november 9th. below in an excerpt from WPOW’s event page and you can read more about the show is HERE.

“In association with FotoWeekDC, WPOW: Women Photojournalists of Washington is pleased to announce the opening reception on November 9, 2010 for our annual juried photo exhibition, “Women by Women.” The event is open to the public and a silent print auction will be part of the festivities, the proceeds of which will help WPOW continue our mission to educate the public about the work of women photojournalists. All 16×20 prints will be signed by the photographer.

Images were selected by renowned jurors: New York Times photographer Ruth Fremson, Reuters photographer Larry Downing, and Aperture Books editor Denise Wolff.

The photographers featured in the exhibition are Irene Abdou, Andrea Bruce, Gabriela Bulisova, Mary F. Calvert, Michelle Frankfurter, Alexandra Garcia, Alexis Glenn, Melissa Golden, SERLI, Nikki Kahn, Yanina Manolova, Jenna Isaacson Pfueller, Astrid Riecken, Molly Riley, Jamie Rose, Erin C. Schwartz, Allison Shelley, Vanessa Vick, Sarah L. Voisin, and Jaime Windon.

The prints, which were generously donated by Nations Photo Lab, will also be presented as a national traveling photo exhibition to photojournalism schools.”

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Filed under art, dc, exhibit, news, photography, photojournalism

dogs! blonde photo style.

snapshot :: dogs across america.


yuri — shiba inu puppy, 6 months.

over the last few weeks i’ve photographed so many dogs — from the east coast to the west and back again! i absolutely love capturing great images of animals, especially when they have such sweet personalities!

enjoy!

:: sammy ::

:: taj ::

:: dottie ::

:: clarkson ::

:: watson ::

:: cicero ::


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Filed under animals, dogs, pet photography, photography