Taylor Wessing 2013 photographic Portrait Competition

The 6 photographs have been submitted by Deirdre Threadgold, to the National Portrait Gallery, London, The Taylor Wessing 2013 photographic Portrait Competition.  Deirdre Threadgold took these photographs  during her investigative trip, on 29 September 2012 to Laikipia Conservancy, Kenya, to ascertain the presence of water and the viability of installing a Borehole for the Pokot Tribe.

The  three photographs of the Pokot people are of them going to a ceremony;  the girls have been kept in purdah for weeks.  They are then prepared for the ceremony dressed in goatskins, swaddled and tied  with string.  Their hair is then dressed with beautiful  beads.  They are accompanied to the ceremony by the elder ladies to the area where there are as many as 200  hundred girls between the ages of 11 to 13  gather for this ceremony of celebration with feasting and dancing.

The girls stopped our LandRover on the dirt and by dusty road by crossing their  sticks, preventing us passing, only when we had paid a  small a sum of money to allow Us to pass.

Deirdre Threadgold  asked permission if she could photograph them.  It was a beautiful evening, as the light was beginning to fade, this gave a wonderful glow to their pretty, happy faces, enhancing their beauty.

The three photographs of the young woman and the cheetah, are because, she rescued this beautiful creature who was orphaned by an elephant.  It is unique because, against all odds, this beautiful cat has survived.  As her mother was giving birth to her an elephant came across them.  The elephant was so spooked and frightened by the sight of the mother cheetah giving birth and too the mother was very frightened, but the elephant’s natural reaction to the objection of the mother cheetah, was to kill her by stamping on her.  Unfortunately there was still another kitten remaining inside the mother; they both died from their injuries.  This is a story of the harsh reality of nature with the unpredictability of all wild animals.