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N 811 B 67.6K C 51 E Jan 1, 1972 F Oct 28, 2020
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A Balinese duck tender with traditional wide-brim rain hat under a light monsoon drizzle returns from the paddy fields along a path through the original Monkey Forest near Padang Tegal Village, Ubud, Bali. Digital slide scan, shot with an Asahi Pentax Spotmatic (SMC Pentax Zoom 45~125mm f/4) before modernization and the onslaught of mass tourism began to compromise much of Ubud's original charm, circa 1972. explore#32

© All rights to these photos and descriptions are reserved and protected by international copyright laws. Any use of this work requires my prior written permission.

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Tags:   Bali duck tender herder Monkey Forest Padang Tegal Ubud Indonesia Southeast Asia rain monsoon lush green wet-season people DavidSchweitzer DocumentaryPhotography StreetPhotography HumanInterest VisualAnthropology PhotoJournalism explore Portrait street film analog

N 1.4K B 81.1K C 401 E Jan 1, 1997 F Oct 29, 2018
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© All rights to these photos and descriptions are reserved and protected by international copyright laws. Any use of this work requires my prior written permission. National Geographic Yourshot Editor's Favorite with Editor's Note - Assignment: “Not Just a Face,” July 2018.

Returning the photographer's gaze - sometimes with a proud and knowing smile or an indignant look of resistance and mimicry as the observer becomes the observed. The gaze is returned, the observer othered. Subject owns the gaze for a frozen moment.

This proud, elegant Maasai herder (warrior age-set) paused for a moment to vogue this pose near the crater rim in the Ngorongoro Highlands of northern Tanzania. Adorned with glass-beaded necklaces, medallion and wrist band; an amber bracelet; stretched earlobes with glass-beaded sleeves and copper pendants. High resolution Noritsu Koki QSS digital film scan, shot with a compact semi-automatic Pentax Zoom 35mm point-and-shoot film camera, 38~105mm AF, circa 1997.

explore#46

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Tags:   Maasai herder warrior proud elegant returning gaze owning gaze Ngorongoro Highlands Tanzania Rift Valley cattle camp cattle beadwork afrique africa african portrait man tribal culture tradition pastoral nomadic tribe ethnic people indigenous jewelry glass-beaded collar stretched earlobes copper pendants clouds street Red sky ~The Magic of Colours~ VIII explore DavidSchweitzer DocumentaryPhotography StreetPhotography HumanInterest VisualAnthropology PhotoJournalism DocumentaryPortrait

N 402 B 43.7K C 182 E Feb 1, 1996 F Mar 10, 2018
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© All rights to these photos and descriptions are reserved and protected by international copyright laws. Any use of this work requires my prior written permission. National Geographic Yourshot Editors' Favorite - Assignment: “Everyday Moments,” September 2018.

Dani women with carrying nets prepare a traditional Melanesian cooking pit lined with grass and heated stones of fine grain limestone. The occasion is a Papuan pig feast that took place inside the oval courtyard of a Dani compound, set high in a remote corner of West Papua's central highlands, 1600m/5200ft above sea level - "Grand Valley" of the Balim River, Irian Jaya, Indonesia. High resolution Noritsu Koki QSS digital film scan, shot with a compact semi-automatic Pentax Zoom 35mm point-and-shoot pocket camera, film developed in a Sulawesi street-corner shophouse, circa 1996.

The Cooking Pit
The main steam bundle was built up with alternate layers of wet long grass, pork, a whole pig skin with its heavy layer of fat, vegetables, ferns and more heated rocks. Water was poured on the rocks from a gourd to make more steam. Banana leaves were added to several of these layers to help capture the steam.

Smaller grass-wrapped steam bundles containing sweet potatoes, vegetables and other greens from the elaborate gardens nearby were also placed in the pit. One of the small steam bundles can be seen at the centre of activity around the smoldering pit.

This preparatory process took about an hour, then another hour or more for the cooking, and several more hours for food distribution and feasting. The entire process took close to a full day that included a ritualized killing of the piglet with a bow and arrow, a gathering of materials for the earth oven (wood, grass, stones, food), making the fire, and heating the stones.

It is the men's role to kill the pig, make the fire, prepare the heated stones, undo the steam bundles, cut the pig skin into strips with a sharpened bamboo knife, and distribute the food according to a predetermined pattern of exchange and reciprocity among members from this and several other neighbouring compounds or hamlets. The piglet was provided in exchange for a full day’s solo access to this Dani compound.

The Gardens
The sweet potato (over 70 varieties) accounts for about 90% of their diet. The gardens involve complex mazes of sophisticated irrigation ditches cut deeply across the fertile grand valley floor. Sharpened, fire-hardened digging sticks are used to weed and maintain the gardens. Both men and women spend most of their working lives in the gardens.

Finger Mutilation
The segments of four fingers on the left hand of the woman at the centre of activity were cut off as a child as a traditional form of sacrificial grieving or mourning for a close relative who had died. Most females above the age of about ten have lost four to six fingers in connection with funerals and efforts at impressing, placating or driving away the ghost of the deceased.

Finger mutilation or the traditional practice of chopping fingers off at the first joint is now officially banned, although it seems likely that this longstanding neolithic cultural practice continues today in a few isolated pockets of the region.

Ethnographic accounts indicate that daily life for a woman in Dani culture is largely limited to a routine of drudgery that generally appears to have a sullen or depressive effect on most women.

First Contact
The indigenous peoples of West Papua migrated from southeast Asia and the Australian continent about 30,000 to 50,000 years ago during the Ice Age when sea levels were lower and distances between islands shorter.

Western "first contact” with the Grand Valley Dani was established in 1938 during American-led botanical and zoological explorations the central highlands, less than sixty years before this photograph was taken.

Today, about 50,000 Dani live in small compound clusters or settlements scattered across the fertile and densely populated "Grand Valley" of the Balim River (about 40 miles long by 10 miles wide) in West Papua's central highlands.

Trembling on the Edge of Change
The Grand Valley Dani are accomplished gardeners and pig farmers with a Neolithic (late Stone Age) culture and technology that anthropologists see as "trembling on the edge of change.” They have relied on polished stone adzes and axes, sharpened pig tusks, bamboo knives, and fire-hardened digging sticks - tools that are gradually being replaced with iron and steel.

Accelerated contact with the outside world is inevitable. The road from the coast up to the grand valley and beyond has been under construction for more than two decades and is near completion. Little has been done to prepare indigenous Papuans for the expected influx of migrant outsiders from other over-populated islands (especially Java) under Indonesia’s state-sponsored transmigration resettlement programme.

The autonomous and culturally distinct peoples of this remote region are on the brink of sweeping social change. Completion of the road up from Jayapura on the coast, alienation of the land to outsiders, lumbering, organized tourism, the advent of cash and alcohol, expanding state intrusion into indigenous Papuan affairs, the inundation of permanent Asian transmigrants with competing outsider beliefs and practices - all pose a serious and growing challenge to the traditional Papuan way of life and very survival as an independent and culturally unique indigenous nation.

~~~

Ethnographic efforts at demystifying Dani Neolithic cultural practices and ritualized inter-clan warfare in the region are associated with the early ground-breaking Harvard-Peabody Expedition, 1961-63. They include Anthropologist Karl Heider’s accounts in “The Dugum Dani: A Papuan Culture in the Highlands of West New Guinea,” Aldine Publishing (1970); and “Grand Valley Dani: Peaceful Warriors” (Case Studies in Cultural Anthropology), Wadsworth Publishing (1996). Also, filmmaker Robert Gardner’s classic social documentary, “Dead Birds” (1965), and writer Peter Matthiessen’s gripping first-hand accounts in “Under the Mountain Wall: A Chronicle of Two Seasons in Stone Age New Guinea,” Viking Press (1962).

This photograph pays homage to the extraordinary black-and-white analog images of West Papua’s Yali and Korowai peoples that appear in the epic “Genesis” project and publication (Taschen, 2013) by eminent social documentary photographer and photojournalist, Sebastião Salgado.

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Tags:   Dani courtyard compound valley Balim River West Papua central highlands Irian Jaya Indonesia pig pit cooking vanishing cultures stone age culture tribe ethnography New Guinea bodyart indigenous street documentary portrait portraiture clan ethnic jewelry South Pacific Oceania earth oven cooking pit Melanesia tradition People neolithic DavidSchweitzer DocumentaryPhotography StreetPhotography HumanInterest PhotoJournalism VisualAnthropology black&white monochrome film analog

N 477 B 39.8K C 247 E Jun 1, 1976 F Mar 13, 2017
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© All rights to these photos and descriptions are reserved. Any use of this work requires my prior written permission.

Peul noblewoman (Fulani, Fulbe, Fula) with tattooed lips and gold earrings from a large semi-nomadic pastoral settlement near Hombori, central Mali. High resolution Noritsu Koki slide scan, Asahi Pentax SP Spotmatic, (SMC Pentax Zoom 45~125mm f/4), circa 1976.

Peul women of this region often tattoo their lips, gums and the area around the mouth before marriage, a painful aesthetic practice and rite of passage signifying marital status.

The extravagant gold earrings or "kwottenai kanye" symbolize the wealth and prestige of a husband or family based largely on the ownership of cattle among the semi-nomadic pastoral Peul of this region. They are also an aesthetic symbol of cultural pride and identity, usually passed on as a gift from a husband to his wife or an heirloom to a daughter on the death of her mother.

The large earrings are made by local smiths or artisans concentrated mostly in the Mopti region of central Mali. They are crafted from a 14-karat bar of gold that is first chiseled and heated over a fire, then hammered into thin blades and twisted into a four-lobe shape.

This proud and elegant Peul woman is likely from the class of “free nobles” (mostly herders, religious and political leaders, some cultivators) at the top of a highly stratified Peul society. Ethnographers distinguish this class from lower-tiered occupational groups or “castes” (griot story tellers and song-praisers, artisans, blacksmiths, potters, woodworkers ) and former slaves (labourers, brick makers, house builders).

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Tags:   Peul Fulani noblewoman gold earrings lips tattoo tattooed Africa Afrique Mali Hombori pastoral nomadic Sahel tribu tribe tribal travel tradition portrait indigenous face ethnie ethnic bodyart beauty african Street Portraiture Faces Douentza Mopti jewelry Documentary Fula earring kwottenai kanye gaze people fashion DavidSchweitzer DocumentaryPhotography StreetPhotography HumanInterest VisualAnthropology PhotoJournalism Fulbe DocumentaryPortrait StreetPortrait film analog

N 1.5K B 99.9K C 411 E Jun 1, 1976 F Nov 15, 2020
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© All rights to these photos and descriptions are reserved and protected by international copyright laws. Any use of this work requires my prior written permission. National Geographic Yourshot Editors’ Favorite - Assignment: “While on a Walk...,” May 2018.

A Dogon woman with calabash carrying bowls makes her way across the rugged crest of the Bandiagara escarpment in central Mali, West Africa. Noritsu Koki QSS-31 digital film scan, shot with an Asahi Pentax Spotmatic (SMC Pentax Zoom 45~125mm f/4), circa 1976.

She is on a long weekly trek to market that begins in one of the small adobe villages nestled among giant boulders at the base of the sandstone escarpment. Ancient walking trails that connect the villages in the sandy semi-desert plains below ultimately converge at a steep and stony staircase on the cliff’s sheer face leading to the market on the escarpment plateau.

The Bandiagara escarpment and its rocky scree has transformed over the centuries into a vast cultural landscape consisting of huge sandstone rock slabs riddled with holes, faults, burial caves, rock shelters and secluded adobe villages embedded in caveties high on the steep cliffside.

explore#28

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Tags:   Dogon Bandiagara Mali West Africa trek market indigenous silhouette documentary Calabash dramatic sandstone rock rugged Sky DavidSchweitzer DocumentaryPhotography StreetPhotography HumanInterest VisualAnthropology PhotoJournalism people explore Portrait Street black&white monochrome film analog woman Landscape dreamscape Escarpment clouds


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