This picture of boys in the melon store in Molapo, Botswana, was taken in July 2005, during a trip to the southern Kalahari in Botswana, which I undertook with the help of Survival International, a charity set up to protect the rights of tribal peoples throughout the world. It was the first time I was able to both shoot and write, and the subject was the Bushman people who have been living in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve for thousands of years. These two boys are sitting in a hut storing melons in Molapo, a small settlement in the north of the reserve. Bushmen cultivate watermelons during the wet season to provide them with virtually their only water supply in the summer months. I shot this on our last day in the CKGR – I was wandering around the village, giving out balloons to the children, who had never seen them before. They invited me into the melon store, which was the only hut to have any light inside, as the roof was partly falling down, and I took about three frames.
Since this photograph was taken almost all the Bushmen, including these children, have been relocated by the Botswana government to resettlement camps outside the reserve. They are no longer able to live by hunting and gathering; they are now dependant on government handouts. The Bushmen are in the process of suing the government to be allowed to return, and the case is in the final phase at the moment (September 2006).
The photograph was used as a double page spread in the final piece (Telegraph Magazine October 2005) and has often been used by Survival to publicise their campaign in support of the Bushmen.
While studying philosophy in the early 90’s, Lottie became involved in student theatre. Since she was the only person who knew how to use the students’ union darkroom, she became the unofficial stills photographer for the university, which eventually led to her decision to follow it professionally.
Lottie assisted for about six years, mostly in advertising, and went out on her own in 2000.
Since then Lottie has contributed regularly to the Daily Telegraph, shot a few ads and portraits, and is currently looking for more projects in the vein of the Botswana trip. Indeed, Lottie followed it with a story in Guatemala City earlier this year, and is working on going to Siberia later this year or early 2007. Lottie is searching for more stories with human interest and hopefully some adventures too.
Photographer since 2000, EPUK member since 2006.
See more work by Lottie Davies