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A black & white photographic journey of the Omo Valley tribespeople


Victoria Knobloch

Friday, 01 November 2019

Black and white portrait photography is a simple aesthetic that can speak volumes. The lack of colour introduces an authentic perspective, where the use of light adds mood and intensity. This is how German photographer Victoria Knobloch approaches her work. With her direct and straightforward photographic approach, she reveals the uniqueness and natural beauty of everyday life. She limits post-production finishing methods to ensure subtle and refined outcomes.
During her latest trip to Ethiopia, she captured a series of portraits of people from various locales, including the Karo, Hamer and Mursi tribes – all of which are located in the south of the country in an area called the Omo Valley. Each one of these tribes has a unique culture and traditions, despite their geographic closeness.
The Karo – one of the smaller tribes in the area – are known for their intricate and symbolic face and body paintings, which they indulge in before important ceremonies. The women of the Hamer tribe are known particularly for their thickly plaited ochre-coloured hair that hangs down in a heavy fringe. The Mursi people are well-known for the striking adornment of large clay lip plates that the women wear.
In the following images, Victoria highlights the people at the heart of this fascinating country and its culture, without the distraction of colour. SCROLL DOWN to enjoy this gallery.

Karo tribe members posing, Omo Valley, Ethiopia
Karo tribe members with their intricate face paintings © Victoria Knobloch
Hamer tribe mother feeding her child, Omo Valley, Ethiopia
Hamer tribe mother feeding her child © Victoria Knobloch

Mursi tribe woman, Omo Valley, Ethiopia
Mursi tribe woman (without her lip plate) © Victoria Knobloch
Mursi boy laughing, Omo Valley, Ethiopia
A young Mursi boy outside a hut © Victoria Knobloch
Karo tribe boys applying face paint, Omo Valley, Ethiopia
Karo tribe boys applying face paint © Victoria Knobloch

Clockwise from top left: 1) A Hamer tribe woman adorned with animal skin, beads and cowrie shell necklaces; 2) A Hamer tribe man; 3) A Karo tribe woman; 4) A young Hamar boy poses for the camera; 5) Woman and children of the Hamer tribe. All photos © Victoria Knobloch

Karo tribe boy standing on top of wooden fence, Omo Valley, Ethiopia
Karo tribe boy standing on top of the wooden fence surrounding the boma © Victoria Knobloch
Boys from the Karo tribe, Omo Valley, Ethiopia
Boys from the Karo tribe © Victoria Knobloch
Hamer tribe woman beading, Omo Valley, Ethiopia
Hamer tribe woman beading © Victoria Knobloch
Men from the Karo tribe posing with their AK47s, Omo Valley, Ethiopia
Men from the Karo tribe posing © Victoria Knobloch

ABOUT THE AUTHOR, Victoria Knobloch

Victoria Knobloch is a German photographer who concentrates on black and white portrait art and documentary work. Her work embraces the fields of vanishing cultures, ancient traditions and contemporary cultures, with the human element as the continuous thread. Furthermore, she is always in search of tranquillity, beauty and meditative landscape moods and approaches them in a poetic way. With this, she invites the viewer to pause, contemplate, observe and reflect, if only for a brief moment. You can see more of her works on her website.

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