Photographer's 'Tribes' is a cultural adventure
May 14, 1997
Web posted at: 9:59 p.m. EDT (0159 GMT)
NEW YORK (CNN) -- Celebrated nature photographer Art Wolfe
has turned the lens of his camera on the world's indigenous
peoples for a new book, "Tribes," to be released this month.
His gripping images capture the culture of peoples whose
daily lives have changed little for centuries.
"I think people are constantly jolted when they see photos of
stone-age cultures that live as they always have lived,"
says Wolfe, a University of Washington graduate who first
dreamed of being a painter before picking up a camera.
Many of Wolfe's other books -- 22 in all, including the
award-winning "Light on the Land" and "Migrations" -- make
haunting landscapes and inquisitive wildlife accessible to
all. "Tribes" celebrates the pageantry of the people.
"In Australia, in the outback, the aboriginals will have
dreamtime dances," he says. "The elders will adorn themselves
in the cotton plant seeds. What as amazing about it was I was
sweltering under 110-degree heat, and yet they were
plastering their heads with all these leaves and cotton."
Wolfe photographed mountain tribesmen of Papua New Guinea as
they competed to see who had the most elaborate costume, and
Dani tribesmen in Irian Jaya wearing pig tusks in their
"I brought (photographs of the Dani) to the Samburu tribesmen
of North Kenya," he says. "And they saw that and they just
freaked out. They thought, 'Wow, what a bizarre behavior.'"
The photographer -- whose work has appeared in National
Geographic, Life, National Wildlife, Natural History and
other publications -- says the tight close-ups focusing on
the eyes of the tribesmen serve to give the viewer "the same
emotion or the power or the uneasiness that I might have felt
at the time."
In addition to "Tribes," Wolfe this month also is releasing
"Rhythms" -- long-exposure photography capturing motion in
Correspondent Mary Ann McGann contributed to this report.
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