Profoto have published an article about my personal photography project with the Hamer Tribe in Ethiopia on their Profoto blog page.
Personal projects allow us photographers to shoot more meaningful stuff for more intimate reasons. We can be drawn by visual or creative appeal, spiritual enlightenment or just a simple curiosity about people or a place. Even better still, we can shoot it exactly how we want.
I was born in Africa so it holds a special place for me. I have lived there at various times over the years and have been lucky to have travelled to a few places far away from tourists and seen, heard, smelt and tasted the real and beautiful Africa.
As I only took up photography a few years ago, I could never have imaged that I would be able document my experiences in such a way. Strangely enough, although I am a photographer and have travelled to many countries and lived in others, I actually have very few photographs of myself. I believe that one of our purposes in life is to explore the lives others. After all, isn’t this how humanity evolves and develops understanding, awareness, tolerance, love and forgiveness of each other?
Until recently, very few people had seen any of my personal project work and to be honest, I was happy with that. Whilst of course I am pleased that more people will be able to explore the Hamer Tribe through my imagery, I can’t help but feel a sense of unease that part of my inner self has been exposed.
The Hamer tribe live harmoniously amongst nature. Whilst their environment is harsh and daily lives a real challenge, they maintain an incredible tradition, value system, peace and happiness that I have never experienced anywhere else in the world. Whilst I was lucky to have shared that with them for only a short time…the experience will stay with me forever.
I will go back…
Images of the Hamer Tribe, Lower Omo Valley, Ethiopia, can be seen on my web: esam hassanyeh