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Portraits of Ethiopia’s Tribespeople [TIME]

In Africa, World News on February 11, 2010 at 6:27 pm

The Cradle of Mankind

Photographer Joey L’s portraits of tribespeople from Ethiopia’s Omo Valley, where lush jungles and harsh drylands make the region one of the most diverse in the world

The Funeral Procession of the Bodi Tribe
The Omo Valley is a three day drive from Ethiopia’s capital city, Addis Ababa, and remains one of the most diverse regions in the world. Each bordering tribe speaks their own language, and practices their own customs and beliefs. When a member of the Bodi tribe dies, the men perform a ceremonial death procession and will keep the body safe for three days. After this, the tribe will gather together and consume the body as a sign of respect and to ensure passing into the next world.

Olochia of the Mursi Tribe
It is the duty of the young boys to guard the cattle at night. Before being photographed, Olochia shot an invading Hyena with a Kalashnikov rifle.


Oudulomasha of the Bodi Tribe
Goats are very valuable and respected members of the tribe because they provide both food and clothing.

Daodo Swale of the Daasanach Tribe
Daodo used to practice his tribe’s animism, but converted to Orthodox Christianity in 1983.

Daodo Swale of the Daasanach Tribe
Daodo used to practice his tribe’s animism, but converted to Orthodox Christianity in 1983.

Bona (Vicious Dog) of the Hamer Tribe
Bona is the highly respected chief of his village, Labaltoy. In Hamer culture, the name Bona is given to an aggressive dog or animal. His scarification represents the number of enemies of the Borana tribe (seven) he has killed in battle.

Biwa Bermo of the Karo Tribe
The Karo are considered one of the Omo Valley’s most endangered ethnic groups with an estimated population of only 1500 remaining.

Biwa Bermo of the Karo Tribe
The Karo are considered one of the Omo Valley’s most endangered ethnic groups with an estimated population of only 1500 remaining.

Woman of the Hamer Tribe
Female members make their clothing out of recycled goat skin stretched and dried in the sun. In recent times, beaded decorations have also been woven into the fabric.

Man of the Hamer Tribe
Males wear decorative head pieces molded from clay. The clay is sculpted directly to the scalp, and will not be removed until the hair hidden below it grows outward. Joey Lawrence is a photographer based in New York City and photographs his documentary subjects in the same manner as his commercial shoots.

See more pictures from TIME

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