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Ethiopia – Omo Valley by Joe Buergi

The “Vanishing Tribes of the Omo Valley” trip was my first visit to Ethiopia. I have fallen in love with the country as soon as I have put the first step onto the ground. And of course, the leadership of Marius and Sam from ORYX Photography and all the local guides made that tour unforgettable and everlasting. The small group of three participants was just perfect, we could act very agile and Oryx could take a ton of time for each of us. Afi the local guide explained a lot about the people, the countryside and the harsh condition to live in an area like that.

I came to the Omo to photograph in a different way than I photographed so far. I wanted to go close to the people, to their souls. I wanted to see how they live, how they are. All that with respect and distance. But – that was not easy, I needed some time to be in that mood. Lots of discussions with Marius und Sam during the long transfers helped to understand. Understand Ethiopia as a Country, how to photograph as a traveller and also when to put down the camera. I learned also only the see with my mind and with my eyes. Photographing is not only clicking.

I have my own style how I capture moments and how I see the world. But – I could learn something from the fellow travelers Bruce and Mike. I loved when we were showing our images at night, when we were talking about photographing and travelling – about god and the world. New ideas, new point of views, new stories, new things. I went every night to bed with tons of images and thoughts in my head and couldn’t even wait until the next morning. Each day was completely another experience.

All those tribes fascinated me a lot. And also, the stories behind. To see that they disappear slightly and get westernized is maybe a fact no one can stop. But – maybe they last with our photographs and the memories in our head.

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