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  #1  
Old Posted Apr 25, 2013, 7:13 PM
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ETHIOPIA (2): Faces of Omo

Part 1 of Ethiopia here

The Omo Valley in the far south of Ethiopia (on the borders of Kenya and south Sudan) is the most amazing and bizarre place I have ever been. It is literally another world, even another world apart from Ethiopia which is a world in itself. As you drive through the stunning rolling hills/ mountains of Konso, you suddenly descend into a vast valley which the Omo River cuts through the middle, flowing into Kenya. This valley is literally an anthropologists wonderland, one of the last truly intact tribal areas of Africa. The valley has and is changing, and in 10 or even 5 years I imagine it will have been swallowed by modern Ethiopia. But for now, it is ruled by about 13 tribes, who more or less still live the same way they have lived for thousands of years.

Tribes I visited and photographed are the Mursi; Hamer; Dassanech; Arbore; Tsemai; Karo and Banna.

Also included are a number of photographs of the Hamer tribes coming of age ceremony, bull running! When a Hamer boy wishes to marry, he must prove his worth by running across the backs of about 9 bulls. I was fortunate enough to witness this spectacle. Another more questionable part of the ceremony is that the woman are whipped by hard sticks, causing bleeding and fairly nasty gashes across their backs and legs....not a pretty site. The woman actually goad the men into whipping them more, which I think is a kind of patronising way of telling the men they aren't manly enough to hurt them.

Anyway, without further ado.....





































































































































































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Old Posted Apr 25, 2013, 7:20 PM
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Thanks ....these are great.
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Old Posted Apr 25, 2013, 7:23 PM
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That's impressive. I can't believe the lip hasn't just broken by this point!

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8537/8...0d3e54ff_b.jpg

That's beautiful. Certainly painful, I'm sure... but it's beautiful.

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8530/8...41a1d1b8_b.jpg

She's gorgeous (most of the women were!):

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8246/8...3e360fa3_b.jpg
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Old Posted Apr 26, 2013, 1:54 AM
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Fascinating!
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Old Posted Apr 26, 2013, 10:33 AM
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This is amazing. Really an insight to another world
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Old Posted Apr 26, 2013, 10:43 AM
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I can't believe people still live like this in 2013, pretty crazy and some very good photography man. I'd love to go there some day.
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Old Posted Apr 26, 2013, 11:08 AM
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National Geographic-worthy! Simply amazing stuff!

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Old Posted Apr 27, 2013, 3:50 AM
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Beautiful faces.
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Old Posted Apr 27, 2013, 3:57 PM
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Of course, these people are actually somewhat aware of what surrounds them throughout the planet somehow. I like the way they show up naked, something good of them to keep up.
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Old Posted Apr 27, 2013, 5:22 PM
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astonishing!
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Old Posted Apr 29, 2013, 4:07 PM
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I'd been looking forward to this thread. As someone else said, these pictures are National Geographic-worthy, the cultural diversity there is truly amazing.
I've been wanting to visit the Omo Valley but am somewhat put off by reports of it being like a human zoo. Were you able to engage with the people in any meaningful way?
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Old Posted Apr 29, 2013, 4:57 PM
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Well done.
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Old Posted Apr 29, 2013, 5:00 PM
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Awesome thread. I love how even though they must be aware of the outside world and some of their jewelry was familiar, they keep on with their cultural heritage. Although, it looks like people are free to dress however they wish, as western as they please or not at all. And I was wondering what all their jewelry and body decoration meant. It mostly appeared to be just self expression than any kind of significant status symbol or societal rank.
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Old Posted Apr 29, 2013, 8:13 PM
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Outstanding pictures, Xander202! An excellent class of photography. Thanks for showing life in some ethiopian tribes. Incredible portraits and incredible faces and body marks. Great, great job!!!

Congratulations and greetings from Madrid, Spain!
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Old Posted Apr 29, 2013, 8:28 PM
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Incredible photography! Thanks for sharing.
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Old Posted Apr 30, 2013, 5:42 PM
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Thanks for the comments all.

KevinFromTexas and Masquet: You would be surprised. Some of the tribes live closer to civilisation and yes have a grasp of the outside world, but others (especially the Mursi, the one's with the lip plates) really don't. They understand the concept of the local Ethiopian market town, but they get ripped off because they don't understand the value of money. They don't really understand the concept Ethiopia and certainly not anything outside that.
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Old Posted Apr 30, 2013, 6:15 PM
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Stunning natural beauty.
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Old Posted Apr 30, 2013, 7:07 PM
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Photography worthy of awards, stunning to say the least.
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Old Posted Apr 30, 2013, 8:52 PM
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I have been reading up on the Mursi people and their lip plates. The larger the lip plate, the more she's worth! When marrying, if a woman's lip plate is considerably large, her new husband will have to give her family 60 -70 cattle, or so. Woman without lip plates are considered worthless, or so I read, their families get no cattle. Also, the larger the lip plate, the older the woman. But, lately because of outside influence, many young Mursi woman are refusing to follow this practice (fear of being ridiculed outside the village). Also I've noticed in a couple pictures there are guys chewing on twigs. I've read this is how people cleaned their teeth before modern toothpaste was invented. Amazing set, we need more of these kind of places showcased on SSP.
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Old Posted May 1, 2013, 8:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NYC4Life View Post
Photography worthy of awards, stunning to say the least.
Thanks!
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