John Kenny’s portraits are something to behold. The intensity in his subject’s eyes draws you in and forces us to think about another world. When John returns from his travels to some of the remotest parts of the African continent, I can’t wait to hear his stories of how he searched the dusty market-places of the Sahara and hitch-hiked to the valleys of Kenya in order to find his extraordinary subjects.
One of my favourite photographs that John has taken over the years is of a young Wodaabe girl. She had emerged from the desert scrub with her mother and sisters en route to a village market in Niger. She is traditionally dressed in dark cloth but has fixed ‘western’ hair clips into her hair.
John explained “The girl’s equally captivating mother approached me and proudly showed me her daughter. The girl had an enchanting look and her huge, bright eyes burnt with an inner fire that you often see in people who live in this hot, arid part of Africa.”
To me, this young nomadic girl’s piercing stare represents a strength and determination that can teach us all a thing or two!