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Natural Fashion: Tribal Decoration From Africa/Suma and Mursi Tribes of the Ono Valley

Here we are in the last frantic stages of finishing up a 3-year project, a book on carpenters in British Columbia, and what happens? I run across a book that just stops me in my tracks: Natural Fashion: Tribal Decoration From Africa; the photographer is Hans Silvester, who has to be a wonderful man to have formed such rapport with these people, the Suma and Mursi tribes of the Ono Valley, which is at the junction of Ethiopia, Kenya, and Sudan. This is on the order of Edward Curtis documenting the last days of Native American glory.

I took some time off from designing the cover of our book to shoot these photos of this wonderful book. Buy it! I'll send you a check for the purchase price if you don't think it's incredible.

The bittersweetness of it is that it's a way of life that is vanishing. "Tourism advances, subverting and destroying the lives of the local people even more irrevocably than civil or tribal wars, trade, and the vagaries of climate…." In one village, tourists are starting to arrive in 4x4s…


Anonymous said...

ES Curtis's works are represented well in 'The Indian Picture Opera'(Amazon,dvd). It's a re-creation of his 1911 lecture and slide show.

His work reverberates on through history because he knew how to capture character and soul on camera.

Curtis has turned into a subject of controversy because of the tug of war between documentary and art. Many people try to hold him accountable for 50 years before, and 100 years after his images were taken.

The images speak for themselves.

Lizz said...

Yes I need to buy this book for my 5 children. Thanks for the glimpse.

Parag said...

In the Suya Amazon tribe it is the men that wear the lip plates, while with the Mursi African tribe, only the females wear the plates in their lips. The Mursi girls pierce the bottom lips which are stretched so that a clay lip plate can be inserted.
Mursi Tribe Ethiopia

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