Out of Africa: Samburu Warriors in New York

Lesiit and his compadres visited New York this past May 2011, it seems like it would have been a sight to behold. The juxtaposition of their striking beauty and traditional Samburu garb superimposed on the New York skyline. Imagine crossing Broadway or 5th Avenue, some notable and renown New York intersection and laying eyes on one of these svelte regal beings. One would certainly have had to stop and take visual note.

New York-based fashion photographer, Billy Kidd a.k.a. I was shot by billy kidd spent a week together with Lesiit and company, three Samburu warriors and their Chief documenting their days in the city. The travellers on their first journey outside of Kenya on a trip organised by The Thorn Tree Project. An philanthropic organisation vested in funding education initiatives in the Northern region of Kenya, home to the Samburu, also known as the Butterfly people. Kidd’s use of black and white photography is sharp and poignant. Through his viewfinder, we see his tendency towards a fashion documentary style; one that captures all the beautiful details of the Samburu dress, style and usage of accessories. Even a casio watch is not left un-customized; wrapped in beading and effortlessly in-sync.

Prints are available online, starting at $200 a piece with partial proceeds from sales going towards the Thorn Tree Project. It might be hard to resist, in fact it might be even more hard to choose which one(s) from the Samburu series.


Billy Kidd (b. 1980, Panama City, Florida) is a photographer living in Brooklyn, NY.



All images courtesy of the artist. All rights reserved.

  • Josie

    Great photos about our people. They really left for New York? Wow.

    Entaa Supa!

    Bravo ‘Lamuran’

    • Another Africa

      They really did visit NY on behalf of the thorntreeproject.org!

  • Lineo Lerotholi

    Absolute creativity!!!!

  • http://twitter.com/MendelsonImages Marcy Mendelson

    Fabulous! Great work and I’m sure hard to hold back on shooting color when it comes to the Butterfly People.
    I just returned from Samburu County and here is my story:

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