Trey Wallace has been taking pictures since he was a child, but began to delve into professional work about four years ago, shooting the occasional wedding. While volunteering his services to a nonprofit organization, he realized his true passion: humanitarian photography. Take a journey with f-stop customer Trey through Lesotho in Sub-Saharan Africa, where his beautiful images are helping to affect positive change.
Words and photos by Trey Wallace
Images have the power elicit empathy, promote action, and effect change. For the last five years I have worked as a photographer and filmmaker for several organizations in Sub Saharan Africa. Recently, I spent two months in Lesotho capturing images for a Mississippi-based nonprofit organization called The Reclaimed Project, which focuses on job creation and orphan care. This was my first major project with the f-stop Ajna. I loved having it for this adventure because it was spacious enough to carry all my video equipment as well as some survival essentials for long days out on the mountain. Additionally, it felt more than tough enough to take on the rocks, sand, and snow.
I chose to focus on capturing environmental portraits—wide angle shots that allow me to tell my subjects’ stories through their surroundings. Setting is a fundamental part of portraiture, especially when shooting in a landscape as dramatic as the Drakensburg mountains in the Lesotho Highlands. To understand what life is like for the people of Lesotho, you must understand their environment. Lesotho is a formidably rugged land, gashed with sheer canyons and precipices. It was winter during my project, which meant flurries of snow and bitterly cold winds.
For this set of images, I spent the day following a shepherd boy whom I met at the orphan care center. After learning his story, I was determined to share it. Ntene was forced to become a slave shepherd as a young child after being abandoned by his mother. An illness left him deaf and mute at eight years old. In the highlands of Lesotho, there are no special services for children like Ntene. Despite his hardships, he was one of the most cheerful people that I met. His smile was contagious and he loved being photographed. Shortly after my time in Lesotho, I learned that The Reclaimed Project had gone to great lengths to enable Ntene to attend a special needs school in Maseru, where he will learn to read and write.
After putting away the sheep, we went on a short hike around the mountain, where I met several other shepherds.
Lesotho is one of my favorite places to photograph. Many people have never heard of the small country. I love to share the incredible beauty of this hidden nation. Through my images I hoped to capture the resiliency of the Basotho people. Despite some of the harshest landscapes I have encountered, these people thrive. Just like Ntene’s smile, their resiliency is contagious.
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