Bara Mama By Keaton Lemos


My main goal for this wildlife photography portfolio wasn’t to find some hidden meaning or story in every picture. My goal was to document the animals I saw and to showcase them to like-minded people. Ever since I began reading and learning about people like  John H. Patterson, George Adamson, and Bunny Allen, I developed a love for Africa. This book is for my younger-self who never thought they’d get this far. 

“ Bara Mama “ means Mother Continent in the Kiswahili language.  There could be no better name when it comes to Africa, as the birthplace of humanity as we know it, The continent is steeped in history and nature as well. It’s one of the few places in the world that has a substantial megafauna population. These animals have evolved alongside humans and were here before us and will remain here long after we’re gone. 

The Massi Mara is one of the many gems of Eastern Africa. Established in 1961, it covers almost 580 square miles and is home to some of the most majestic and mesmerizing animals and vistas known to man. The reason I chose the Masai is that it is the epitome of  culture and history when it comes to Kenya, the Mara, and the Masai people. 

The portfolio you are about to read is divided into 10 chapters, each about a specific animal. Simba, the Swahili word for lion, was once hunted by the Masai as a rite of passage but it is now protected by the young Masai warriors. Tembo & Ndlovu, the Swahili & Zulu word for elephant, is the largest of the elephant species still alive today. Duma, the Swahili word for cheetah, is the fastest organism on land but is surprisingly timid during any confrontation. Chui, the Swahili word for leopard, is arguably the most dangerous of all the cats in the Panthera species Mbweha, the Swahili word for jackal, is frequently seen nibbling away at kills made by larger predators. Twiga, the Swahili word for Giraffe, these long-necked herbivores are an endangered species, especially the Nubian subspecies. Nyati, the Swahili word for buffalo, these mountains of muscle regularly end up in fights with lions and do, on occasion, end up killing the big cat. Pundamilia, the Swahili word for zebra, is like human fingerprints, each pattern on a zebra is unique. Fisi, the Swahili word for Hyena, these scavengers possess one of the strongest bite forces of any land animal. 

As you can see, elephants have been given multiple chapters, this is purely due to a personal love and fascination towards that animal.

“Bara Mama” is a heartfelt tribute to the extraordinary animals and captivating landscapes of Africa. Through this book, I aim to document the diverse creatures I have encountered and share their beauty with fellow nature enthusiasts. Inspired by the remarkable work of conservationists like John H. Patterson, George Adamson, and Bunny Allen, my passion for Africa’s wildlife has grown immensely.

Within this vast continent, the Maasai Mara stands as a testament to the cultural heritage of Kenya and the Maasai people, making it a perfect choice for this photographic journey. It serves as a testament to the cultural heritage of Kenya and the resilient Maasai people. Choosing this location was a natural fit, as it embodies the spirit and history of Africa. Its majestic landscapes and incredible wildlife offer a glimpse into the wonders of this continent.

“Bara Mama” holds a profound meaning beyond being a mere wildlife photography portfolio. It represents not only my personal growth as a photographer and explorer but also serves as an homage to the aspirations of my younger self. When I reflect upon the journey that led me to this point, I am reminded of the wide-eyed and curious individual I once was, filled with dreams that seemed distant and unattainable.

My ultimate hope was to inspire others, fostering a deeper appreciation for Africa’s rich wildlife heritage. I’d like to think I succeeded in some small way.


All the photos and text in this post are copyright of Keaton Lemos, Vadodara, Gujarat, Creative Hut Institute of Photography. Their reproduction, full or part, is forbidden without the explicit approval of the rightful owners.