Oli Broadhead

Microstories

Records of Brief Encounters

 

Lamu

Kenya // 2019

The painted sail of this dhow featured the ship’s captain riding Rashford, his prize donkey. Lamu (a historic trading port of the coast of Kenya) takes both dhows and donkeys seriously. Donkey races are held three times a year for a first prize of 20,000 Kenyan Shillings (approximately $200) and a return flight to Nairobi. The captain’s brother was a local legend, having won seven times. The supremacy of donkey transport in the port has recently been threatened by an influx of cheap motorbikes, but a ban is already being discussed, with an exception for emergency services and local officials.

 

Rangers Without Borders

Poland + Lithuania // 2018

Investigating the working conditions of wildlife rangers and their collaboration across national borders. The European leg of the project focused on Białowieża National Park, one of the last fragments of primeval forest in Europe and a final stronghold of the European bison. The forest spans the borders of Poland, Lithuania and Belarus.

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The Death of a Sheep

Ethiopia // 2018

The sheep was a ewe, and she had spent her long life being herded up and down the grass slopes of the Semien Mountains by grubby boys with sticks and woven slings. She was killed without a fuss or a fight in the open air, and consumed with relish in a hut full of smoke and laughter.

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Disclaimer: I’m a vegetarian.

 

An Ode to Home

Cornwall // 2017

Two days exploring the coast of my native Cornwall by Sea Kayak.

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"By this point the light was beginning to fade and the water was changing from clear turquoise to milky blue, the sky tinted pink along with the ocean. I felt an overwhelming sense of happiness and clarity as I dipped my paddles into the water, one stroke after another, against the wide-open horizon."

Words by Helen Taylor, Sidetracked Magazine

 

Nias Island Spearfishermen

Sumatra // 2016

“Serenity flowed from the reclining fishermen. The outriggers soporific motion and the evening heat were hypnotically sedative. Wavelets lapped and slapped against the hull, their irregular rhythm an antidote to the even tick of internal timekeeping. Time was untethered, circadian rhythms decelerated, the mind faded into oblivion.”

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Thousands of compressed-air divers fish the coastal waters of Indonesia. Breathing air from primitive compressors through 100m hoses, they pair long dives with short recovery periods, putting them at high risk of decompression sickness.

 

Kasaragod Market

Kerala, South India // 2015

In spite of a life lived on the lowest rungs of India’s caste system the fishwives of Kasaragod market were welcoming and happy, regularly pausing to joke and laugh amongst themselves. Within their own secluded corner of society they clearly provided immense support to one another. They were a pleasure to talk with and to photograph.