Towards the end of June, into the beginning of July this year, London based portrait photographer, Hasselblad Ambassador and PhotoBite contributor, Tom Oldham, showed a collection of works in London’s White Space Gallery
Tom’s first solo West End exhibition, The Herder Boys of Lesotho, supported by Hasselblad, and expertly printed and framed by the team Metro Imaging, opened its doors between the 26th June and 1st July with a host of press coverage and critical acclaim, and with a capacity crowd arriving for the opening event.
In this new, short film, Tom gives an honest and candid account of his reasons for taking the project offline, into print, and ultimately, for the week-long exhibition.
Tom first visited Lesotho in 2009, shooting for the NGO Riders for Health, on a whistle-stop shoot travelling through this mountain kingdom. On the winding, climbing roads he’d see herder boys tending to their animals and immediately imagined a series of images that he couldn’t shake from his mind. Their distinctive silhouettes against the sky, these icons of Lesotho wrapped in the woollen blankets that provide their only protection from an intense sun or a brutal winter. The herder boys work astonishingly hard, for very low pay, in the toughest conditions imaginable.
In November 2016, Tom was able to return to Lesotho to shoot the portraits that made up the collection, and with some valuable assistance from the team at Riders for Health, he came home with some extremely special work.
Tom explained: The film is fairly self-explanatory, but the purpose of it was to attempt to explain the process of the show, and how I felt about the project. I believe we have to put ourselves out there, to challenge why we call ourselves photographers, to invite criticism and to create an experience that exists outside of websites and social media. Overall, I feel that it went down well; was really well supported, and I’m humbled by the feedback, attendance, press and print sales.”
Watch the short film below: