We passed through the Serengeti plains into the Maasai camps of northern Tanzania to meet Ole Durup — an elder with four wives, hoards of kids, and one very active cell phone. Always working, Durup brings money into the camps giving families currency to buy goats and cattle for milk (but not for meat)—stock that is vital for creating dowries to trade for new wives, to raise more kids, to build better homes and communities.
The Maasai have been heavily documented for the last 15 years or so, and as a people, they are becoming well-versed in how to turn their unique culture of colorful robes and bejeweled bodies into cash-flow. In Baraka, filmmakers Ron Fricke and Mark Magidson show the Maasai dancing in String Theory to a humming hypnosis of ambient music—I shot this gallery at a private camp, so lucky to see an authentic version of the mind-bending, body-altering show. There are two types of Maasai camps: one created strictly to welcome tourists and to sell goods and others where families lead their lives and on occasion invite outsiders in for a glimpse. I wouldn’t exactly call the former touristy—these camps are hours into the bush and most who visit are indeed intent on breaking free of the common tourist path. But nonetheless, the Maasai keep their real lives somewhat private so it is good to be put in touch with someone on the inside. Ole Durup was the king of the inside. He said I was worth eight goats! The men in my life love that. Ole Durup and his family: