A black & white photographic journey of the Omo Valley tribespeople

Victoria Knobloch
Friday, 01 November 2019

Black and white portrait photography is a simple aesthetic that can speak volumes. The lack of colour introduces an authentic perspective, where use of light adds mood and intensity. This is how German photographer Victoria Knobloch approaches her work. With her simple and direct photographic approach she reveals the uniqueness and natural beauty of everyday life. She limits post-production finishing methods to ensure subtle and refined outcomes.

During her latest trip to Ethiopia, she captured a series of portraits of people from various locales, including the Karo, Hamer and Mursi tribes – all of which are located in the south of the country in an area called the Omo Valley. Each one of these tribes has a unique culture and traditions, despite their geographic closeness.

The Karo – who are one of the smaller tribes in the area – are known for their intricate and symbolic face and body paintings, which they indulge in before important ceremonies. The women of the Hamer tribe are known particularly for their thickly plaited ochre-coloured hair that hangs down in a heavy fringe. The Mursi people are well-known for the striking adornment of large clay lip plates that the women wear.

In the following images, Victoria highlights the people at the heart of this fascinating country and its culture, without the distraction of colour. SCROLL DOWN to enjoy this gallery.

Karo tribe members posing, Omo Valley, Ethiopia

Karo tribe members with their intricate face paintings © Victoria Knobloch

Hamer tribe mother feeding her child, Omo Valley, Ethiopia

Hamer tribe mother feeding her child © Victoria Knobloch

Mursi tribe woman, Omo Valley, Ethiopia

Mursi tribe woman (without her lip plate) © Victoria Knobloch

Mursi boy laughing, Omo Valley, Ethiopia

A young Mursi boy outside a hut © Victoria Knobloch

Karo tribe boys applying face paint, Omo Valley, Ethiopia

Karo tribe boys applying face paint © Victoria Knobloch

Clockwise from top left: 1) A Hamer tribe woman adorned with animal skin, beads and cowrie shell necklaces; 2) A Hamer tribe man; 3) A Karo tribe woman; 4) A young Hamar boy poses for the camera; 5) Woman and children of the Hamer tribe. All photos © Victoria Knobloch

Karo tribe boy standing on top of wooden fence, Omo Valley, Ethiopia

Karo tribe boy standing on top of the wooden fence surrounding the boma © Victoria Knobloch

Boys from the Karo tribe, Omo Valley, Ethiopia

Boys from the Karo tribe © Victoria Knobloch

Hamer tribe woman beading, Omo Valley, Ethiopia

Hamer tribe woman beading © Victoria Knobloch

Men from the Karo tribe posing with their AK47s, Omo Valley, Ethiopia

Men from the Karo tribe posing © Victoria Knobloch


Have a look at our bucket-list safari below:

Ethiopia’s Omo Tribes– 10 days

• Ethiopia, the cradle of humankind – 8 days

Travel in Africa is about knowing when and where to go, and with whom. A few weeks too early / late and a few kilometres off course and you could miss the greatest show on Earth. And wouldn’t that be a pity? Search for your ideal safari here, or contact an Africa Geographic safari consultant to plan your dream vacation.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR, Victoria Knobloch

Victoria Knobloch is a German photographer who concentrates on black and white portrait art and documentary work. Her work embraces the fields of vanishing cultures, ancient traditions and contemporary cultures, with the human element as the continuous thread. Furthermore she is always in search of tranquillity, beauty and meditative landscape moods and approaches them in a poetic way. With this she invites the viewer to pause, contemplate, observe and reflect, if only for a brief moment. You can see more of her works on her website.


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