Friday, March 28, 2014

What happened when I gave cameras to remote tribes

For my First Stories (Undiscovered Myths) Project, I live with and study the Myths and Archetypal Dreams of Africa's most remote tribes, including the Mursi.
Since tourists flock to Ethiopia's remote Omo region to photograph the Tribes people, especially the Mursi women with the lip plates, I thought it would be fun to give Nikon cameras to the Mursi. My original idea was for the Mursi to photograph tourists as they photographed the Mursi, like everyone looking in a photographic mirror. Unfortunately, no tourists came to Belle, the remote village where I chose to live for a week in January of this year.

So what subjects did the Mursi--who are considered by far the most fierce of the Omo tribes—photograph for the first time in their lives? Well, duh, they photographed each other. 
Actually, the very first subject was me while taking a photograph of the first Mursi photographers. This was the first time they had ever held a camera.
Even the elders got into taking photographs. It did take this guy 3 snaps before he figured out he had to take his finger off the front of the lens.
No one did a selfie.
My personal Mursi guard, Mamoosh, became very popular with the ladies when he had the camera. 

My guide Andu, said that he had never seen the Mursi so "calm" as during our visit. Usually, the Mursi—the fiercest of the Omo tribes—are constantly agitating for something, like money.

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