Llessa, Eastern Desert, Egypt

Over the coming weeks, I’ll be uploading a selection of portraiture that I shot in 2012 when I cycled through East Africa.
These portraits represent some of the remarkable people I met throughout the 5500 mile cycle adventure.

Ilessa. Photographed in Egypt, 2012.
The story of how I met IIessa is a fascinating one.
Awaiting the ferry to Sudan, I was based in Aswan for an extra 7 days, meeting locals, recovering from illness and preparing for the harsh Sudanese desert.
I decided to stretch the legs and cycled north along dusty tracks out of Aswan into the desert. After roughly 20 miles I came across a small oasis. It was a truly spectacular scene. No infrastructure and just locals on donkeys and the odd beaten up car. I remember it well, it was roughly 43 degrees and seeing this small Oasis was a god send. Standing drinking some lukewarm water, a young lad came over on his donkey. We chatted and he invited me to his house. Following a series of tracks I arrived at a small house deep within the Oasis. I spent four hours in the company of the family, meeting cousins, uncles and friends. They were incredibly hospitable people, providing me with fresh pita, meat and fruit.
During this time I met Lessa, a beautiful young girl who was happy to pose for a portrait.
I took her address (managing to keep it safe through the rest of Africa!) and sent her copies of the photos to her father.
I feel incredibly blessed to have had these interactions with such honest kind individuals.

About Julian Claxton

My passion for photography is supported by experiences gained on exciting travel adventures and through working for fantastic photographers. In 2006, I made the exciting step of realising my dream of becoming a freelance photographer. Since this pivotal moment, I have held numerous exhibitions, been featured nationally & internationally in print and won numerous awards, including being a finalist in the National Geographic Photographic competition in 2013 with one of my documentary images from the Sudan. From an early age I began to enjoy taking pictures of my daily life, basking in the thrill of sending the film to the printers and eagerly awaiting the pocket sized prints. My first foray into the world developing and printing strangely began at school when I was asked to produce a descriptive photo for the school newspaper. A front page shot later and I was destined to start the long arduous journey of becoming a photographer. In between exciting travel adventures and working for fantastic photographers, I graduated from college and at a crossroads in my journey to becoming a pro photographer, I embarked on a career working as a medical photographer. Learning new skills and dabbling in video production as well as progressing design skills, I yearned for the challenge and freedom of becoming a freelance. I have been fortunate enough to work on some amazing assignments which have included shooting a documentary assignment with an air ambulance, gaining full access to a British Pro cycling team during an international UCI tour, cycling to Rwanda and creating a photographic documentary of my journey. The experiences continue to grow, meeting wonderful people to photograph and telling the story of their journey. The list of events and striking moments that have played out through my viewfinder continue to grow and provide me with ever increasing snapshots of life to capture. One of the highlights of my career thus far has been staying in rural Uganda, teaching photography to the kids from the region, in a project I set up in late 2014, entitled ‘Give a child a camera’. The basis of the project is to supply 35mm cameras and film to the rural schools in this region of East Africa, teaching the children how to shoot photographs. After a week of taking photos of their life, an exhibition is held at the school and the children leave with their very own album, camera and film. One of the images I shot at Eden school in rural Uganda, during morning chapel won the 2015 Travel Media Tourism and Photography award. A great honour and one that I wouldn’t have picked up had it not been for the wonderful children of East Africa. For further information please visit www.julianclaxtonphotography.com
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