The Omo Valley, Ethiopia
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While Ethiopia's sky-heavy terrain leaves its residents engulfed by a jungle of impressions, myths and searing truths, their daily existence rema… Read More
While Ethiopia's sky-heavy terrain leaves its residents engulfed by a jungle of impressions, myths and searing truths, their daily existence remains tinged with sociopolitical issues, a sense of spirituality, and an undeniable nearness to the animal world. (Ongoing series 2008 - 2013) The full series can be seen here: http://www.joeyl.com/personal/ Read Less
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SHALLOWGO ON LAKE TURKANA
Shallowgo checks his fishing nets for the daily catch. The Omo River's flow is essential to the health of the lake, channeling fresh water via great deltas. In recent times, the Dassanach have seen the lake retreat, shrinking in size and increasing in salinity. Dassanach tribe, Ethiopia.
HAMAR WOMEN AT SUNRISE
The Hamar are a agro-pastoral tribal group living amongst the many diverse ethnic groups that occupy Ethiopia’s Lower Omo Valley. A complex belief system with deep animistic roots intertwines their daily lives with their livestock, a central part of Hamar culture. The women are well known for putting beautiful red river clay in their hair and skin.
 (Left to right): Buli Ure, Kydo Damo, Godi Mana, Kaja Kala, Bazo Damo, Wollyso Muga, Keli Kyma, Godi Kala, Wotu Shada, Kyla Mama and Bulla Ure.
PORTRAIT OF KUNKI DULA
In Labaltoy, this government-built school certainly stands out in the somewhat traditional village. The modern looking structure with it’s tin roof and concrete floor contrasts against a row of huts made completely from wood and mud. The school’s students also provide a stark contrast- the traditional clothing of the Hamar girls themselves in this contemporary setting. Their primary lessons involve learning Amharic, Ethiopia’s national language. English is another focus. 
 
GUTI KULI
Portrait of Guti Kuli and Notebook. 
PORTRAIT OF RUFO
RUFO
After the introduction of missionaries into the Omo Valley the Arbore now share a mixture of monotheistic and traditional animist beliefs 
Arbore Tribe, Lower Omo Valley, Ethiopia 
PORTRAIT OF LAGO
Lago places strong importance on her identity as a member of the Arbore. Each tribe of the Omo valley has a specific way of dressing and decorating themselves as a way to visually associate themselves with their unique customs and values. 
Arbore Tribe, Lower Omo Valley, Ethiopia 
WOMEN OF THE DAASANACH
The Daasanach are a semi-nomadic tribe numbering approximately 50,000. Their clans stretch across Sudan, Kenya and Southern Ethiopia. Politically, the Daasanach do not feel they belong to either country and prefer to self- govern by their own customs and interpretation of land borders. 
Daasanach Tribe, Lower Omo Valley, Ethiopia 
PORTRAIT OF BALO
Like most of the residents in the Omo Valley, Balo does not directly count her age in years, but knows she was born during a harvest. When she reaches womanhood and is around 17 years old, she will be married to a man slightly older than her. Her dowry will be paid in cattle. 
Daasanach Tribe, Lower Omo Valley, Ethiopia 
PROCESSION UNDER TUMA
A woman of the Bodi tribe has fallen ill and died. The elder women of the village shout to the spirits and chant of her death to bring her soul to peace. The men perform a ceremonial procession and will guard the body of the deceased for 3 months. 
Bodi Me’en Tribe, Lower Omo Valley, Ethiopia 
SARAGOLEA
“I have my own personal God.I walk over to my favorite tree, look upon the skies and pray." 
Bodi Me’en Tribe, Lower Omo Valley, Ethiopia 
PORTRAIT OF OUDULOMASHA
“Our goats are very valuable to us and a respected member of the tribe. They give us both food and clothing.” 
Bodi Me’en Tribe, Lower Omo Valley, Ethiopia 
PORTRAIT OF VICIOUS DOG
Bona is the highly respected chief of his village, Labaltoy. In Hamer culture, the name Bona is given to an aggressive dog or animal. It is not a common name for a human. When he was young, Bona showed strong signs of aggression and strength, causing his mother to choose this name. 
Hamer Tribe, Lower Omo Valley, Ethiopia 
BIWA BERMO
As an elder of the Karo tribe, Biwa is respected and well adorned as a warrior, carrying rows of scarification representing the enemies he killed in battle. Biwa fought the Mursi and expelled them from the land his tribe now occupies. 
Karo Tribe, Lower Omo Valley, Ethiopia
KARO MOTHER AT SUNRISE
PORTRAIT OF DAODO SWALE
Daodo's headpiece resembles that of a Daasanach hut- created from collected scraps and objects traded with other tribes and villages, then turned into a work of art. 
Daasanach Tribe, Lower Omo Valley, Ethiopia 
KIBBISH RIVER
Surma women Naguio, Nabelgoo and Nakoguinea cross Kibbish River. Suri Tribe Territory, Lower Omo Valley, Ethiopia 
PORTRAIT OF KOLOTOLA
"I will not loose my culture. I will never leave my culture. Even if I am given clothes, I will still be a Mursi." 
Mursi Tribe, Lower Omo Valley, Ethiopia 
NADOGOMI AND BARDOMOYE
Mursi headdresses are made out of animal bone and leather cow hide. It is both a decoration and an object intimidation for neighboring enemies. 
Mursi Tribe, Lower Omo Valley, Ethiopia 
MURSI ELDER
Feathers are only allowed to be worn on the head by respected elders or celebrated warriors. 
Mursi Tribe, Lower Omo Valley, Ethiopia 
Left: 
STUDY OF ARBORE VIRGIN
Arbore tribe, Lower Omo Valley, Ethiopia 
 
Right:
STUDY OF DAASANACH GIRL
Daasanach tribe, Lower Omo Valley, Ethiopia 
 
STUDY OF BIWA BERMO
Karo tribe, Lower Omo Valley, Ethiopia