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Sarah Elliott September 1, 2010

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Ethiopia.
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“The Women of Omo Valley”, Ethiopia 2009

Sarah Elliott (b.1984, USA) is a graduate of Parson’s School of Design with a BFA in Photography. Her stories include post election violence in Kenya, renewed fighting in DRC and maternal health challenges in Ethiopia. Sarah has interned for James Nachtwey and assisted Stanley Greene. Her photographs have been published in The New York Times, The Daily Telegraph, The Guardian, Stern, Men’s Vogue, Monocle and others. She is a founding member of Razon Collective, an international group of visual storytellers pursuing stories independently. Sarah was chosen as a winner for the 2010 Magenta Flash Forward Competition of Emerging Photographers will be a participant for the 2010 World Press Joop Swart Masterclass which will take place in Amsterdam in October.

About the Photograph:

“The women in the photographs are from diverse ethnic groups including the Dorze, Konso, Mursi, Bume and Hamer tribes. Even with the presence of missionaries, and the growth of tourism in Ethiopia the tribes of the Omo Valley are generally isolated from the modern world and have continued according to their own unique culture, following their own customs and traditions. The Bume women wear a large number of bead strands in varying bright colors and unique designs, and the Hamer women utilize cowri shells in their jewelry and when they are married wear thick metal necklaces around their necks. As much as I was in awe of their unique decoration and adornment the women of the Omo Valley were equally as drawn what I was wearing…my zebra print Converse All-Stars, my black nail polish, and my reflective sunglasses. I couldn’t help but wonder if their interest in my ‘modern’ adornment was a metaphor for their future?”

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Mariella Furrer September 18, 2009

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Ethiopia.
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Patient with Trachoma at eye clinic, Ethiopia 2005

Mariella Furrer (b. 1968, Swiss & Lebanese) has lived in Africa her whole life. She attended the Documentary Photography & Photojournalism Program at the International Center of Photography in NYC (1993), and has since been working as a freelance photojournalist based between Kenya and South Africa. She has covered Africa extensively and has worked on stories in Europe, the Middle East and Asia.  Mariella has been awarded grants from the 3P Foundation, France and the Hasseleblad Foundation, Sweden. She has received an Honorable Mention from Unicef Photo of the Year 2005 and has been nominated for the Santa Fe Prize for Photography 2006. Mariella has been documenting child sexual abuse in South Africa for the past six  years, which will be published in book form.

About the Photograph:

“Desta Ayanew has suffered from trachoma, for decades, waits to have her eyelids operated on during an eye camp at the Fires Wega Health Post. Trachoma is a highly infectious disease, which affects the eyelids, inverting them and causing the eye lashes to scratch the cornea. Desta who has gone blind due to trachoma keeps her eyes shut almost permanently because blinking is too painful. Her eyes are tearing constantly and she has streaks down her face from the salt left over when her tears have dried up. Her son and his wife and children look after her. The eye camp for trachoma was organized by the district health department. I loved working on this story, firstly because Ethiopia is an amazing country, and secondly because although I had grown up in Africa I had never heard of trachoma before. For me, this was a great story to highlight because trachoma, although a highly infectious disease is in fact very easy to treat and to prevent – if there is adequate funding.”

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