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BEFORE TOMORROW COMES

"An enchanted world is one that speaks to the soul,
to the mysterious depths of the heart and imagination...."

                                                                Sir Thomas More (1478-1535)



Portfolio Portfolio
Pokot - People of Kenya Animals
   

The Before Tomorrow Comes focuses on the threatened culture and environment of the Pokot people of Kenya. The book explores their changing lives influenced by western civilization.


 

“I photographed nearly a million images in a span of more than 40 years. I covered the Vietnam War, worked as a director in the motion picture industry and traveled to most parts of the world. One shot changed my life.”


Photos provided by Daniel F. Evans, Jr.

To enter the world of Before Tomorrow Comes is to enter a place unlike any you’ve ever experienced. It is enchanted. It is real. And it is fast disappearing.

When award-winning photographer and filmmaker Bob Demchuk traveled to Africa six years ago, his life was transformed. He began a journey of discovery that would take him to a place where past and present intersect with astonishing clarity, a place of wonder he felt compelled to capture before tomorrow wipes it all away.

That place is the tribal homeland of the Pokot of western Kenya.

With direct narrative skill and richly textured photography, Demchuk chronicles the three months he spent living among the Pokot on the shores of Lake Baringo earlier this year. His encounter with the Pokot begins with a magical photograph, the snapshot of a tribal matriarch who beckons him into her world of proud, spear-carrying warrior-hunters, hereditary chieftains, herb-wielding medicine women, riddling storytellers, and a nomadic clan that lives a simple life in the wild devoted to ways from the far distant past, defying the future.

At turns whimsical and humorous, eye-arresting and deeply moving, Demchuk’s tale is filled with marvels – battling hippos, unicorn-like giraffes, a rare silverback gorilla, crocodiles, a lake region populated with 458 different species of birds – and the Pokot themselves, a complex family of native Africans wary of Western ways who are guardians of a culture from our collective past.

 

Table of Contents

Introduction: Discovery Of My Journey                    

   “The more I understand, the more questions I have.”

First Month

   “We do not trust people from the west at all.”

Second Month

   “To see . . . learn . . . to tell.”

Third Month

   “Whoever does not travel outside his home thinks that only his mother knows how to cook.”

Six Months Later

   “I had to return, it bothered me how I left.”

 AFTER THE CEREMONY, The Chief walks with us. I take a few photos outside the village as we make our way back.  Chief Limale reminisces, tells us about his friend, “He had many children. He was a good man, a good husband, father and worked hard.  He was my most trusted advisor.”  I notice the chief has a great admiration for my watch   and eyes it with a questionable tone as he speaks. I figure it’s about the watch.  “What did he say?”  I ask Richard.

‘He – He asked – He wanted to know if you have children.  I told him no.”  Richard tells me. The Chief stops and stands tall in front of me looking down.

“Tell him this is the second time I’ve been asked.”  Richard doesn’t have the time to tell him and the Chief walks off in a huff, “Then you are mountain if you die.  No burial.  They will throw your body to animals.”

“Mountain means dirt and without children," Richard tells me. "The Pokot consider you worthless.”  I don’t know what to say.

It was the last time I saw him.


Page 151


“An absorbing and amazing adventure. I felt as if I was there with Bob Demchuk with each step. I loved this book.” Gus Leodas, Best Selling Author of Award-winning novel Unsafe Harbor.

“Bob Demchuk has achieved with his photographs what John and Alan Lomax did with their iconic audio field recordings. He provides a brilliantly focused insight into the beauty of a culture that is simply not available through any other means.”
Frank Dorritie, Author and Grammy Award Winner.

“Before Tomorrow Comes" is a gripping tale of a once proud people who lived harmoniously with the environment but now face extinction. We can learn a lot from them.George Ayittey, Ph.D. economist, author and president of the Free Africa Foundation in Washington D.C.

“Bob Demchuk pulls off a veritable photojournalistic hat trick.  He captures with sensitivity and precision a disappearing culture that inhabits a different time and dimension in resolution that reflects a painstaking artistic process.  To boot, he provides prose that illuminates the beauty and mystery of the Pokot people.”  Josh Ruxin, Author, A Thousand Hills to Heaven: Love, Hope and a Restaurant in Rwanda.


"Before Tomorrow Comes to Kenya:
Photographing the Vanishing World of the Pokot People."

is published by McFarland

 


Book Awards





I am available for worldwide photo assignments.