Ethiopia: Peoples of the Omo Valley


Written by Joelcy Kay

Editor & Curator – Edge of Humanity Magazine



Hans Silvester’s Ethiopia – Peoples of the Omo Valley is presented as two volumes in a box.  The two books are ‘Custom and Ceremony’ which depicts tribal daily life and ‘Face and Body Decoration’ displaying close up portraits that include body decorations resembling abstract paintings.

The beauty of the Omo Valley’s women and men are documented without intrusion.  The photographs depicting the ancient ways of life capture the serenity and simplicity of its people while the images from ceremonies seemed to have a more intense vibe.

Men are commonly seen wearing body paint and packing a rifle or a spear.

Heavy, bold, and beautiful jewelry is found on the women of the valley, who wear clothing made of animal skin and headdresses built out of natural materials that are very artistic.

Body tattoos, hair braids, colorful beads, tribal anklets, lip plates, and ear piercings, are also in plain view throughout these books.

Some of my favorites are the multiple feet shot on page 36/37 and the mother squirting water from her mouth onto her child at the river banks on page 44/45.  Also the pink flower headdress on page 74 and the contrast on the dual portrait on page 118/119 depicting mainly skin with only a couple pieces of simple jewelry.

The images depicted in Hans Silvester’s Ethiopia – Peoples of the Omo Valley are loaded with positive energy. The combination of natural materials used by the Omo Valley people are a source of inspiration and ideas for any artist as their bodies and faces are truly a work of art.


For book specifics see below


Ethiopia: Peoples of the Omo Valley


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