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This is Usimbgi Kwesamoi (I think I spelled it correctly) of the Datoga Tribe in Tanzania. It is part of an extensive series of portraits I shot of indigenous tribes in Tanzania a few months ago. I think she is stunning. I debated whether or not to retouch the fly out near her eye, but decided not to. It was there, and well, it felt somehow wrong to do so.
For this series of portraits I was inspired by Irvin Penn (a god to me), where he photographed indigenous tribes using a North Light Studio - basically tenting in which the opening faces the north, where, in the Northern Hemisphere anyway, the light is the softest, most diffuse, and I feel the most beautiful. I loved how he took his subject out of context, and just focused on the person. Somehow, for me anyway, that is when their beauty shines. I didn’t want to know too much about them, about where they were from, what their history was. I just wanted to see them simply, as the beautiful and noble people they - and we - all are.
The interest in these portraits has been immediate and overwhelming. I still have many more portraits to work up - as I photographed over a hundred tribespeople - but I have been thrilled and honored with all the response so far.