This week's Deranged Photography Contest theme is Portraits, and I missed the previous theme, Hit Me with Your Best Shot. So some tribe portraits came to mind. Instead of my Best Shots, these are among my least favorites.
Does that sound strange? It was indeed a strange experience for me, so much so that I didn't go through these photos until today. Visiting tribes sounds exotic, and most of the experiences were truly fun for me. I have previously shared some of them already on Steemit. I enjoyed those natural moments and genuine interactions when the lovely kids voluntarily posed in front of my camera, and when the friendly locals granted me permission to photograph them on their land...
However, there was a time in southern Ethiopia when I had unpleasant experiences. It's in the Mursi tribe where women traditionally wear plates at their lower lips. The discs are typically made of clay, though some are made of wood. They have patterns painted on them and vary in size, as you can see in my photos. I suppose it hurt when they first started inserting the plate into their lips as teenagers, but for the tribal women, it's a symbol of beauty and identity, so they're very proud of it.
I started a road trip to the south with another solo female traveler I met in the capital, and we were escorted to this Mursi tribal village by a local guide. I recall paying an entrance fee to the Mago National Park where the village was, and as tourists, it was not surprising to see the tribe people asking again for money for photos. I saw the lip plates being removed while the women were doing chores, but they quickly put them back when visitors approached.
It became disturbing when they kept touching me to ask for tips, even when I was just walking around without photographing them. I didn't mind paying for photos, but it was getting increasingly difficult for me to simply walk around in peace. I also began to blame myself as a curious tourist who might have contributed to the over-tourism.
When the mood or vibe isn't right, I just don't feel like shooting. I was uneasy and hesitant to take pictures because they always appeared aggressive. As a result, I only took 5 photos in this village (3 portraits and 2 landscapes), which is far fewer than usual.
Since I didn't enjoy those photos, I never edited or posted them before. When I look at them now, over 5 years later, these only 3 portraits from then seem precious. Although they are not closeups focusing on the lip plates as I had intended, they captured the characters of the people there, at least to me on that day of my visit.
So, I thought it might be interesting to share this lesson and the unique tribe culture with you here. How about you? Do you have any similar travel or shooting experience?
图文 by Donica，谢谢来访！=)
For the best experience view this post on Liketu