De has taken an unconventional approach to telling the story of the Lisus; since the birth of photography, oppressed communities have been cast as “exotic” or “primitive” by those standing behind the camera. Instead of taking a “colonial-anthropological” look at these families and individuals, he’s chosen something closer to magical realism. The photographs themselves are rich with symbolism, and the Lisus’ animals and their environment become key characters in the narrative. If pure photojournalism is prose, De says his work is poetry. He makes sketches before constructing an image, and sometimes he’ll elevate the mythical atmosphere of a scene by adding elements like fog.