Sunday, February 21, 2010

Dorze Girl, Lower Omo Valley, Ethiopia, February 1, 2010

As Esther's portrait is being made, she walks from our right and stands and watches, smiling as Esther smiles and laughing as Esther laughs. She is a natural.
The Dorze Community is open to our work, patient with the process. To our left, the adults sit around and watch the photography, waiting for us to select from them. Since there are so many, some are only meant to watch rather than be photographed. Regardless, they sit and watch.

So it is her turn to be photographed, the young Dorze girl with the natural smile. She is photographed twice, once as she arrives and once after switching shirts with her sister. The above portrait is a still from the video sequence, on her second portrait series.

She follows our instructions beautifully, stands tall and with her face to the sun. She is serious at times; she smiles at a whim, her laugh infectious. We make portraits until the sun goes down behind a tree; then move to a different spot, until the sun goes down for the last time on this beautiful afternoon.

Everyone follows us down the hill and into the village, exchanging their portraits for a small fee, helping their community to thrive by sharing their culture with us. With smiles we say goodnight to each other, until the morning when we make portraits once again before moving on, with her smile on my mind.

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