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User / david schweitzer / Sets / Rethinking Portraiture
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"To possess the world in the form of images is, precisely, to re-experience the unreality and remoteness of the the real." Susan Sontag, On Photography

Biwa, an esteemed Kara elder and charismatic leader, pauses for a moment to volunteer this near-surreal pose during preparations for an early-evening communal dance in a small settlement set high on the east bank of Ethiopia's lower Omo River.

Adorned with finger-painted white-chalk body markings and brass earrings. The ivory lip-button and clay hair bun with ostrich feather reflect a "culture of heroism" shared with other tribes in the region, one that glorifies and rewards individual acts of bravery for killing an enemy or a dangerous wild animal that may threaten the settlement.

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Tags:   explore GettyImages karo kara indigenous horn of africa warrior tribu tribo tribe tradition portrait people pastoral painted face ostrich feather omo valley omo lip lipdisc lipplate lipplug markings hairbun fighter feather facial markings faces of africa face ethnic jewellery ethiopia elder east africa decoration clay chalk brass afrique african africa body art wow! culture street documentary travel gaze DavidSchweitzer DocumentaryPhotography StreetPhotography HumanInterest VisualAnthropology PhotoJournalism DocumentaryPortrait StreetPortrait VanishingCultures

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

Young Tsemai woman with tattooed facial markings at the weekly market in Key Afer, a small multi-ethnic frontier town in the remote lower Omo Valley of southwestern Ethiopia. Shot near the end of a long hot dry season regularly exceeding 40°C in the shade.

The Tsemai are one of the least known ethnic groups in the valley, numbering around 5000 people concentrated in settlements along the west bank of the Weito River, a tributary to the larger life-sustaining Omo River that carves and winds its way south through the greater Rift Valley floor of Ethiopia's Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples Region.

explore#11

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Ethiopia - Flickr Top photos of 2016

Tags:   indigenous ethnic beauty tribe afrique africa african omovalley omo portrait tsemai tatooed face people facialscars ethiopie ethiopia bodymodification bodyart Turmi Documentary Portraiture Explore Tattoo DavidSchweitzer DocumentaryPhotography StreetPhotography HumanInterest VisualAnthropology PhotoJournalism DocumentaryPortrait StreetPortrait VanishingCultures gaze Street

N 834 B 43.9K C 152 E Jan 30, 2009 F Mar 13, 2017
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Sambeke, a proud Maasai herder of the warrior age-set, comes from a small pastoral settlement nestled in the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro, near Amboseli National Park in southern Kenya's Rift Valley Province. He travels each year to Keyna’s northern Swahili Coast to work as a security guard. The money he earns goes towards the upkeep of his family and cattle back in the homeland. Adorned with glass-beaded collars and stretched earlobes with glass-beaded sleeves. High-resolution Noritsu Koki film scan, shot with a point-and-shoot pocket camera, circa 1998.

explore#8

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Kenya - Flickr top photos of 2016

Tags:   Maasai Kenya Kilimanjaro foothills Rift Valley coast beadwork afrique africa african lamu portrait man tribal culture tradition pastoral nomadic tribe ethnic people indigenous faces jewellery Amboseli security guard jewelry earlobes documentary travel Red Explore fashion DavidSchweitzer DocumentaryPhotography StreetPhotography HumanInterest VisualAnthropology PhotoJournalism DocumentaryPortrait StreetPortrait VanishingCultures square Street 500x500

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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Mali - Flickr top photo of 2016

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

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Tuareg from Gao, northern Mali, West Africa

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Tags:   Tuareg man musician Gao Mali Africa Sahel Sahara tribal Street tribe rebels fighters Azawad war Afrique portrait indigenous Faces of Africa West Africa travel gaze outdoor documentary DavidSchweitzer DocumentaryPhotography StreetPhotography HumanInterest VisualAnthropology PhotoJournalism people DocumentaryPortrait StreetPortrait


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