Thursday, October 05, 2006

Omo river people

Karo women, originally uploaded by CharlesFred.

While in Paris, I came across an exhibition, near Bastille, of photos of people of the Omo Rover region. The very people we met this time last year on our Omo River trip. The photos were taken by Hans Silvestre and there is a very lavish double volume book coming out in a couple of weeks time. I would recommend anyone in Paris to visit this exhbition.

Much as I admired the photos and the undoubted skill of the photographer, I had my doubts about some of the subject matter. The way the people had painted themselves and posed, hanging in a tree, hugging a young calf and putting large green leaves over their heads suggested to me that these were very much staged, theatrical portraits rather than natural ones, and I found this quite off-putting.

Now these ladies here in this photo also dabbed a bit of paint on their faces as we arrived in order to make themselves photogenic and maybe earn a few bir for having their photos taken. And they were posing. But this still seems slightly more authentic than many of teh photso at this exhibition.

I would love to go back and stay longer and have enough batteries and memory sticks to take al the photos I wanted, a good guide too, such as the one recommended to us by Monique Jansen.

Looking back into flickr, I can tell that a year ago today, we were on the bus travelling from Harar to Nazret, through the beautiful green mountains of eastern Ethiopia before it started raining and we entered the dry Awash valley. This was on our way to Addis Ababa for our eventual rendez-vous with the Omo River gang at the end of the week.


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