Tom Oldham's portraits of The Herder Boys of Lesotho

in Inspiration / Photography

London-based photographer Tom Oldham first visited Lesotho in 2009, shooting for the NGO Riders for Health, on a whistle-stop shoot travelling through the 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 just 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. It is the only option available to some, who often have very little formal education and can enter into this employment from early childhood.

In November 2016, Tom was able to return to Lesotho to shoot these portraits and with some valuable assistance from the team at Riders for Health he came home with some very special new work. You can see his resulting series, The Herder Boys of Lesotho, at the White Space Gallery in London from 26 June until 1 July 2017. It will be his first solo show in the West End. Discover more of his work at tomoldham.com.

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