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Photographer's Note

The internet is awash with photos of Mursi people posing in their full celebratory or military paraphernalia. While a fascination with their characteristic ornamentation and lip plates is understandable, most such photographs are non-spontaneous and many even seem disrespectful to the people they represent. The Mursi do not paint themselves in their daily life, nor do they wear headdresses when fetching water or caring for their children. They only do it for tourist photos, which raises the issues of authenticity and ethics of such photography that is not informed by ethnographic practices.
While there are still ladies who wear lip plates, and some were very happy to pose for us, younger girls prefer other forms of body decoration, mostly scarification, while some have traded lip plates for ear plates. I made this documentary portrait while this young beauty was reading a cartoon we had with us.

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Photo Information
  • Copyright: Tanja Al (tanjagari) Silver Note Writer [C: 6 W: 0 N: 77] (260)
  • Genre: People
  • Medium: Color
  • Date Taken: 2020-01-12
  • Exposure: f/0.1, 1/21 seconds
  • Photo Version: Original Version
  • Date Submitted: 2020-04-18 0:47
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Additional Photos by Tanja Al (tanjagari) Silver Note Writer [C: 6 W: 0 N: 77] (260)
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