As documentary photographer I traveled to the remote Omo Valley in Ethiopia to capture the traditional way of life of ancient tribes in a time of change.
A massive hydro-electric dam is being built in the Omo river in order to support vast commercial plantations that are forcing the tribes away from their land. This will destroy a fragile environment and the livelihoods of the tribes, which are closely linked to the river and its annual flood.
Increasing tourism is also having a negative impact on their behavior. I had to pay for every single shot and very few were the opportunities for me to capture candid moments in their daily life. In the pursuit of photo- money women were piling pots, horns and flowers on their heads. Children were posing like experienced models and were offering body paint and dancing acts.
As globalization takes over, this unique part of the world could be fast disappearing.
More info: massimorumi.com
Hamar people rest under the shadow of a big tree
Hamar men paint their face before attending a Bull Jumping ceremony
Hamar women volunteer to be whipped as a sign of commitment for the young man taking part in the Bull Jumping ritual
Bulls are lined up side by side for the Bull Jumping ritual
Bull Jumping is a ceremony to determine whether a young Hamar male is ready to make the social jump from youth to adult, and is ready for the responsibilities of marriage, raising a family and owning cattle.
Tribal dance during the ceremony
The chief of the village is curious about my camera
Hamar men attending the ceremony
Hamar men celebrating after the ritual
Approaching the Dassanech Village
Only women and children in the village as men are away hunting
Old Dassanech Woman
Scars are signs of beauty
Karo Tribe Village – Boys with painted face
The Omo river is a precious source of life for the Karo
Kara kids playing in the Omo river
Kara woman decorated with beads
The Karo women are known for their productive work and dedication to serving their families.
A proud decorated Karo man
On my way to a Mursi village
Mursi are tall and lean and have a reputation of aggressive people
Goatskin has always been a traditional clothing of Mursi
Morsi Girl with corn on the head
Mursi’s main food is a dry cereal prepared from ground maize or sorghum. Sometimes they add milk and animal blood, taken fresh directly from the wound on the neck of the cow
Mursi women are known for the huge ceramic plates that are inserted into their lower lips.
Piercing of the lower lip is performed on young girls who have reached the age of 12-13 y.o. Initially, a small wooden disk is inserted into the lip. Then its size is gradually increased, stretching the woman’s lip
Morsi woman with beads
Travel helps me to get to know the world in such a way that cannot be learned at school or in front of the TV. By traveling i learn that no matter where i am people are people striving for the same things in life.. We may have different religions, languages, coloured skins, but we all belong to one human race.
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