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Image 7
CREDIT: Max Robinson FRPS

Max Robinson FRPS

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Statement of Intent

I've extensively photographed many different families of the Hamer tribe of Ethiopia during the past 14 years, recording aspects of their daily lifestyle including food preparation, collecting firewood, ploughing, raising animals, grooming, and scaring birds away from their crops. Additionally, through a long relationship with one particular family I was able to photograph key stages of the Hamer manhood ceremony which are displayed in the middle row. These include preparing the special hairstyle of the initiate, capturing a bull, the very rarely witnessed secret fertility ritual (image 11), jumping over the backs of several bulls, ritual whipping , celebratory dancing and applying face paint. For reasons of authenticity all pieces of dust, straw, scars etc on skin have not been retouched.

I started working towards this portfolio in September 2013 when I attended an advisory day in Switzerland. It was inspired by my time spent with the Hamer tribe of Ethiopia, my first visit being more than 14 years ago. I wanted to create a portfolio that reflects their daily life and their most important ceremony, the ritual rite of passage of the male. I am most proud of the image of the fertility ritual (image 11) as very few people, apart from the male elders of the tribe are ever allowed to witness it.