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Omo valley polaroids

This project uses instant photography as a tool to connect with and embrace individuals from traditional societies who are being directly affected by globalisation and forced to modernise.

This story contains graphic content and viewers discretion is advised.

Due to large scale government projects and recent commercial developments, many of the Omo Valley’s traditional societies and their livelihoods face ominous transformation. These new developments have also led to the construction of many new roads and telecommunication networks which has ultimately made this remote region more accessible to the outside world.

Since the Lower Omo Valley is now more accessible than ever, this remote region has also seen an increase in tourism. This type of tourism has often been referred to as “Human Safari” in which, adventurous tourists travel to some of the regions remote villages for a chance to observe traditional societies. These tourists often take lots of pictures but rarely do the subjects get to see those photos, let alone keep them for themselves.

I was bothered by the fact that the only connection these communities have with the outside world is with corporations that are taking their land or tourists who are taking their photos.
Eric G Hernandez

During his time in the Omo Valley, photographer Eric Hernandez spent several nights with the Dassanech, Hamar, Kara and Mursi Tribes. By no means he was the first photographer to stay with these tribes but he says it was obvious they were not used to spending more than a few hours with a foreigner. To shake things up a bit more, he brought along a vintage SX-70 Polaroid camera and 20 packs of Instant polaroid film. Over the course of 2 weeks he took dozens of individual and group portraits with a focus on inclusion and pride. Each subject was able to keep a portrait of themselves or their loved ones. By doing this, he was able to create a very unique connection but more importantly he was able to give back something that is often taken away from them [a photo, a memory, a reflection of themselves]

The instant photographs from this project were given to the subjects as a form of inclusion.

Now it's your turn, keep the generosity wheel rolling

Please consider making a one-off or recurring donation to

The Fairshots Collective Pool

using the form below.

This story does not end here. Helping the

people from resettled communities of the Omo Valley

will require your action too.

After sharing this story and helping spread awareness about their plight, you can:

-Recreate this project around your own community or in your next trip.

This story was brought to you thanks to the good people at

Print Art

and their commitment to

enabling photographers to share their story in print.