Tom Oldham first visited Lesotho in 2009, shooting for the NGO Riders for Health, on a whistle-stop shoot travelling through this 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, he 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.
The Herder Boys of Lesotho exhibition was supported by Hasselblad, and was printed and framed by Metro Imaging. This was Tom’s first solo West End exhibition and was held at the White Space Gallery, on Great Newport Street – just off Leicester Square in London.
Tom was interviewed on The Monocle Weekly radio show speaking about the exhibition and his work.