Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Ken Hermann | Beauty of Omo Valley

Photo © Ken Hermann - All Rights Reserved
I'm certainly glad to have photographed the Omo Valley in 2004 at a time when the influx of tourists and thrill-seeking photographers was considerable less than what it is now. What I've often seen coming out of the cradle of humankind (as the Omo Valley is often called) has been overworked photographs, with its tribespeople over made-up and fetishized by having them wear incongruous head gear and unnatural accessories.

So a trace of skepticism accompanied my initial look at Ken Hermann's Beauty of Omo Valley; fully expecting to see the same style of photography...but I was pleasantly surprised. No fetishized or Disney-fied versions of these handsome people in this gallery...just beautiful photographs made of equally beautiful people. While obviously staged with care, using paraphernalia such as umbrellas, reflectors and flashes, and photographed with digital Phase One 654 camera, the photographs are simple, and reflect Omo Valley people without the overbearing artifices used by other photographers.

Ken Hermann is based in Copenhagen, and works for a diverse range of clients including leading brands, agencies and media corporations. With a degree in advertising photography, Ken's work was published by a number of magazines and exhibited around the world. One of his projects made him the winner of Hasselblad Masters 2012.

According to an interview with the German GEO magazine, Ken describes that tourism to the Omo Valley has significantly increased over the past few years, and with the improved infrastructure comes the constant tour buses to villages with people jumping out, making photos, jumping back, and driving to the next villages.

For a back story kind of look into Ken Hermann's Omo Valley photo shoots, view the short video below: