Hans Silvester: Omo Valley Fashion

The May-June issue of American Express' Departures magazine features the work of photographer Hans Silvester, a German photographer, who documents the extraordinary body painting of the Surma and Mursi peoples of the Omo Valley in southern Ethiopia.

The Surma and Mursi tribes are body painters. They paint their bodies with natural pigments made from the earth. They paint themselves and each other in a tradition that has remained unchanged for millenia. They use their bodies as canvases, painting their skin with pigments made from powdered volcanic rock and adorning themselves with materials obtained from flowers, leaves, grasses, shells and animal horns.

Hans Silvester was born in Lorrach, Germany, and is now based in southern France. He is recognized for a wide-ranging body of work and a protracted study of his subjects, most frequently nature, animals and the environment.

As the issue of Departures isn't yet on-line, many of the Omo Valley Fashion photographs can be found on The Daily Mail issue of February 2008.
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