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A Place of Three Hills

Miki Iwamura | Kenya

"Yie oo o yesu kimparaka muruai nalala"
Thank God for showing me a wide safe place to live.

The Samburu are semi-nomadic pastoralists in Northern Kenya, with deep reliance on nature and intricate networks of kinships and clans. The Samburu were isolated from the rest of Kenya until a few years after independence in 1963. Their land was never a part of the colonized highlands, which allowed their culture and traditions to remain intact. 

In recent decades, their lives have steadily transformed along with widespread education, drifts into cities, and an increase in public transport and mobile networks. The effects of climate change and multiple droughts are also impacting Samburu communities to rely on access to water through government and NGO aid. This has set in motion a change in their livelihood structures that has been passed down for generations.

These photographs are a part of a long-term project documenting these changes taking place in one Samburu community. It is a glimpse into the dichotomy of balancing one foot in tradition and another foot in modernity for the preservation of their land and culture.

Miki Iwamura was born in Japan, and raised in Tokyo and New York. Her formative years have developed a strong foundation for cultural diversity, which eventually lead her to a career in education and traveling extensively to various corners of the world with a camera.

An award winner, Miki Iwamura’s photographs have been exhibited in the United States and abroad, online publications and small print publications. Most recent includes PX3 Prix de la Photographie Paris, 13th Pollux Awards, Fine Art Photography Awards and Publication in Photographers Without Borders Magazine. Her projects include cultural and wildlife conservation,and working with non-profit organizations.

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