Cyndy Waters will be leading a photo safari to the Maasai Mara in 2021. If you’d like to be notified when the details are announced please e nancy@sxsemagazine.com -editor

For over 25 years, I’ve visited the Maasai Mara on safari and at other times I’ve worked closely with the Maasai people, throughout Kenya, East Africa. While few things in our world have progressed in a positive way as far as man and animal’s coexistence, truly the Maasai, their cattle and the African wildlife have learned to dwell upon the often dry and barren land and make it work for them. As Maasai community owned conservancies developed around the Massai Mara and other parts of Kenya, they fought hard to benefit from some of the tourism and conservation that drove Kenya’s economy. In my opinion, their conservancies are much preferred for safari over the Government run National Reserves. It’s not unusual to see cattle grazing right next to a cheetah hunting a gazelle and showing no interest in the fatter, meatier cows. Being on the land in the conservancies with people who grew up there and value each and every animal, is thrilling and quite intimate. They know the names of the leopards and other big cats, the history of the numerous lion prides, and the heartbreak of the cheetah mamas who so often loose their cubs to territorially, demanding male lions. They have grown up together sharing this land and being part of the first generation to figure out how to merge successfully into this amazing existence. There are many Maasai living away from the conservancies who are not benefiting from this eco-tourism. Hopefully, while the tribe’s voice within Kenya grows stronger, it will find many ways to retain parts of their beautiful culture. One thing that will never change is the deep love and attachment to their cattle. Even the most successful businessmen working away in the cities, can’t wait to get home to be with their cows. All the while, many Maasai equally love spending time deep in the bush with the birds and wildlife that have roamed and ruled their land even far before their time. This work is the beginning of my trying to equally tell that story. I thrive on reality photography and have mostly been a people photographer, but the Maasai story cannot be told without their animals and their land. It’s my attempt to capture a photograph of a strong and striking woman with her cows that can stand beside an image of a mother of a new born, tiny elephant suffering from a damaged trunk, trying to reach high enough to nurse, and a breathtaking sunset casting the last light on a grazing Zebra. In this series of photographs, I hope you will see the Maasai in this coexistence while they are at work at home with their cattle surrounded closely by the wild world of animals most of us can only dream about and visit on occasion.

BIO:

1976 Graduate-Art Institute of Atlanta.

Cyndy worked throughout the United States after graduation with jobs such as, Photographer for the State of Tennessee, Official Photographer for the 1982 World’s Fair in Knoxville TN, after which she opened Paine & Waters Photography in Washington DC. In 1986 she joined Johnson Klein Productions in Studio City, CA . J&K was part of the Woodstock crowd and she photographed Crosby, Stills & Nash and Neil Young among others.

In 1995 Cyndy went in to full time ministry and started the Obit Village Project, Inc. developing three projects in Kenya, East Africa. While still photographing continually, it was only in 2017 that she began to focus seriously on returning to the photograph circles of photography in the US. Cyndy photographs “reality” in most all forms from environmental portraiture, documentary, travel, landscape and in general, adventure.  After spending parts of the last 3 years traveling the USA and dedication much of here free time to the American landscape, Cyndy is back as much as possible in Kenya focusing her photography on both the people and the wildlife there

I shoot with Nikon Z72 and D850 and a wide variety of Nikon lenses.