Two of the images from The Mentawai will be shown in Athens, Greece this month as part of an international group Portraits exhibition. Curated by Blank Wall Gallery, the show is designed to "express a different aspect of reality" and features a select number of images from around the world. It will be on display from April 20th though to May 3rd.
I was warned about getting shot in Colombia. The balaclava, reflective sunglasses and combat fatigues in the southern city of Pasto were a giveaway. I should have just run. Instead, I'm hit twice - not with bullets but with white foam shooting out of a canister by a 12-year old boy shouting “Viva Pasto!”
That gushing “spssstttttttt” was my intro to El Carnaval de Negros y Blancos (Black and Whites' Carnaval), a five day party held in January that just happens to be the world’s biggest foam fight. The Carnaval is the loudest, longest and messiest festival in southern Colombia, and a real celebration of cultures.
To be fair, at the time the trigger is pulled I’m distracted by street vendors yelling, “Some goggles for you, senõr? A sombrero, cheap?”Now I understand why. Of course, in truehorse-bolted fashion, I purchase a ridiculouslyoversized sombrero and a ‘foa...
The latest issue of Get Lost travel magazine features Guy Needham's adventures in Southern Colombia, where he witnessed El Carnaval de Negros y Blancos (the Festival of the Blacks and the Whites). Not quite knowing what to expect in the city of Pasto, he was only there for minutes before he got shot twice. Pick up a copy of Get Lost to find out what happened next.
One of the most defining images of the Shades of Otara series is spotlit in this month's Royal Photographic Society's Journal. The image of a young man resting on a pile of crates he has just unloaded. There is something balanced about his physical exhaustion and the girl in the background, licking an ice-cream as if it was her reward for his hard work.
The lead travel story in today's Sunday Star-Times is my experience of meeting the Waorani tribe in the Ecuadorian Amazon - and what I did not expect. From fishing for piranha to going hunting with blowguns, it was the transition the tribe is going through that made the trip so fascinating. Read the full article here.
“Smash it on the head” yelled Geranio, our guide. “Quick!” The freshly caught piranha was flip-flopping in a desperate attempt to get back to water, sharp teeth biting at air as I brought a rotting stick down upon its head. Minewa, a 60-year old local tribesman, added it to his string of dead fish and smiled at me. “Now you are a warrior!’”, laughed Geranio.
We were fishing in the Amazon Basin on the edge of the world’s most bio-diverse ecosystem. I was there to spend time with the Waorani, one of Ecuador’s indigenous tribes who today number no more than 3,000. Not that any of that mattered to the piranha.
Getting to the Amazon had been no easy task. Far from the cobblestones and thin mountain air of colonial Quito, it had taken us two days by boat. I say ‘us’ because I wasn’t the only tourist onboard; sitting ahead of me was a machete-wielding, coca-chewing, bird s...
Colombia's Bogota Post has selected an image taken by Guy Needham at the recent Carnaval de Negros y Blancos for its front page. It's a rare honour for a foreign photographer covering a Colombian cultural event to be featured in this newspaper. You can see the image here.
The third of Guy Needham's tribal series, The Mentawai of Indonesia, will be shown as part of the Head On Photo Festival in Australia this year. The exhibition, to be held at the historic ArtHouse Hotel in Sydney, will feature ten of the original portraits taken in 2017 and be on display from May 5th though to June 8th.
Want to know more about visiting New Zealand's 'City of Sails'? Check out this guide on AFAR.com that I locally edited, to find out the best places to stay, where to eat & drink, what to do, and of course, where to shop. The AFAR Guide to Auckland is here.
If you'd like to know what it's really like living with an ancient tribe in the equatorial rainforest check out my latest article in the New Zealand Herald to find out about coping with leeches, rotting wood, poison arrows and medicine men.
“Hold on, I just need to scrape something off…” My guide had removed his gumboot and was reaching for a knife. Slowly he sliced the blade down his leg to remove the blood sucking leech that had attached itself to him. “Welcome to Mentawai!” he said with a broad grin.
The leech and I were on the island of Siberut in the Indian Ocean, 150km west of Sumatra, on one of Indonesia’s 17,000 islands. I was there to spend a week living with the Mentawai tribe, a proud, independent hunter-gatherer people living off the land since the Stone Age.
Far from your typical holiday, only a few people make it this deep into the equatorial rainforest, and had I not been researching for an exhibition I doubt I would have heard of them. So, here I was, three flights, one ‘fast’ ferry, 1 motorcycle ride, 3 hours on a motorized canoe, and 2 hours tramping through mud later. No electricity,...
The Royal Photographic Society, one of the world's premium photography institutions, is featuring a gallery of Shades of Otara on their website. The exhibition was included in the Society's Documentary magazine, The Decisive Moment.
In an exclusive interview with D-Photo magazine Guy Needham talks about the lengths he went to to get the shots for his upcoming exhibition, The Mentawai of Indonesia. The article reveals what it's really like as a photographer where a contrast in culture is the least of your worries. Read journalist Adrian Hatwell's article here.
This image of a young Hamar man holding his borkoto in the Lower Valley of the Omo, Southern Ethiopia, has been awarded 1st Runner Up at this year's London Photo Festival. The image, taken when Guy was working with an NGO in Africa, was part of the 2016 exhibition The Hamar of Ethiopia.
Even the most ardent solo traveller at some stage will need a guide - someone who knows their cantons from their arrondissements better than you do. I’ve used more than 20 guides around the world, from well-known tour companies to local specialists to random taxi drivers, so here are a few simple tips that might help next time you travel.
Choose if you can. Often I travel independently and need a local guide / translator / fixer that can’t be found in a Lonely Planet. TripAdvisor’s online forums are a great starting point – if only to identify companies that specialise in where you’re going – and from there a little desk research will get you far. Don’t necessarily go for the cheapest, make sure they have a good grasp of English over e-mail, and be clear about what costs are and aren’t included.
The tour company isn’t your guide. But the guide will be your company,...