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  • Jamie Thom

Tribal portraits from the Omo River, Ethiopia

The Lower Omo River area is Ethiopia’s cultural melting pot, and after an hour's flight south from Addis Ababa and then half a days drive and a four hour boat trip, we made it to Lale's Camp. It is far from anywhere! The raison d'être of the camp is centred around the appreciation of the tribal cultures of the lower Omo region and the Omo River itself. Aside from boating and limited use of vehicles, we spent a lot of time on foot, either with the local people or exploring the environment.


Excursions are made to isolated villages of Kara, Hamer and Mursi people, where interaction with these people are fascinating and offers a rare chance to learn about their cultures and customs. We were some of the few foreigners who visit the area, and since Covid and the conflict in the northern part of the country, all of which affected tourism - there have been very few visitors. Some of the children we encountered had never seen foreigners before!


Photographing these people was done very sensitively. Appreciating that we are dropping in on their lives and pointing cameras at them, we made sure to settle in and 'open up' before everyone was comfortable with photos - some were not but these folks were and enjoyed seeing the images of themselves.


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