Africa Geographic Photographer of the Year 2015
|Winner – People/Culture category|
Photographer Trevor Cole describes the scene: I was staying with the Suri tribe in the Western Omo region of Ethiopia. I had an opportunity to watch a ‘donga’ (stick fight), a traditional ritual in which the men of the tribe compete with one another to enhance their status. Victory and the prestige of winning is part of the process of finding a partner – the right to marry. The girls were watching the stick fight and the little boy spotted me taking the photo – a candid and spontaneous moment.
Jury leader Heinrich van den Berg describes why this image won the People/Culture category: Breaking a pattern is an effective way of creating emphasis. And with this image, of all the women looking away and the child looking towards the camera, this is exactly what happened. The viewer’s attention is drawn towards the child although everyone in the image is looking at something out of frame. This emphasis is strengthened by the age gap between the subjects in the image. The fact that the child is hiding from the rain while the rest of the subjects are not hiding increases the focus on the child. The photographer has captured the raindrops brilliantly by not using too fast a shutter speed, and by having a dark background so that the raindrops are clearly visible. This image tells a story about vulnerability, protection and potential.