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Sunday, 01 January 2017

Omo by Lynne Doran: Photos of Ethiopia's Vanishing Tribes

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Omo by Lynne Doran is a book of photographs highlighting the various indigenous tribes of Ethiopia's Omo Valley. She is able to witness some rare celebrations like weddings and coming of age ceremonies and portrays close ups of some of the most fascinating cultures left in the world. 

Doran travels with Steve Turner, owner and guide of Origins Safaris, to these remote areas which are extremely difficult to reach. On his website, he says “The Omo River of south western Ethiopia is nothing less than the last great tribal land left in the world today, a real kaleidoscope of vanishing cultures.”


In her short introduction some of the more interesting customs are mentioned, though many are not and the stories are just told through the pictures. The portraits themselves are excellent and compelling, and though some people are smiling, many more are staring intently right at the camera.


One interesting part of the book is noticing how different these tribes are from one another, even though they developed in areas surrounding the Omo River not that far apart. While some may have traded with others at times, they certainly didn't adopt each others traditions, and the picture of what is beautiful in each tribe is quite unique – from dyed hair and headbands to face painting, armbands and piercings. 


Doran's photos are intense and honest, but the book may not be for everyone. Though the body painting, plaiting and beading may be beautiful some of the other things like the huge lip plates worn by women in Tulgit and the scars on women of the Hamar tribe from ritualized whippings may turn others away.


All in all, it is a candid look at a handful of almost extinct cultures that have certainly been forgotten by most and it may serve to make you wonder about your own origins.



Omo by Lynne Doran,, $79



©Christina Bolton


Last modified on Friday, 06 January 2017
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