About a week into our trip, we had the privilege of visiting a Maasai village with Margaret to meet the women with whom she works. After filming their business meeting under an acacia tree, I went wandering for some b-roll of the Tanzanian countryside before lunch. To say we were in the middle of nowhere would be a complete understatement. No cars, no roads, no planes, no buildings in sight. About this time, I saw a herd of livestock coming toward me from the distance and I planted the camera to film them passing. As is custom there, the herd was being led by a group of young Maasai boys, who were eyeing me curiously before walking over to the camera and standing in front of it with their brows furrowed. I knew maybe two words of Swahili, and no Maa, but I gestured for them to come where I was standing behind the camera. Kasey had wandered over by this point and she jumped in front of the camera and started doing a little dance while I tilted down the viewfinder for the boys to see. Immediately, they all burst out laughing and the oldest one began ordering the younger ones into the frame to do different dances, pointing at areas of the frame for me to pan to, turning the focus on the lens and looking at me as if to say "what does this do," directing his own movie. Eventually they realized that their herd was getting away, and they gave one last wave to the camera, then to us:
The oldest boy looked me straight in the eyes, and with a slight nod of his head, so ended one of the best wordless conversations I've ever had. We met some incredible people on our trip and I can't wait for people to see their stories. However, what will stick with me the most from the trip are these smaller passing moments of humanity -- moments that remind me that despite everything that separates us halfway around the world, we're all really not that different. I know I'll never see those kids again, and yet on any future shoot when a director points at a monitor for me to change frame, I'll think of the Tanzanian director and remember that no matter who you are, where you live, what language you speak, or how much money you have, when you see your friends dancing like goofs on a screen, you're bound to laugh.
-Brandon Somerhalder, Director of Photography