Himbas, numbering around 50,000 people, are an ethnic group living in northern Namibia, in the Kunene region, formerly Kaokoland.
They are a nomadic, pastoral people, closely related to the Herero, and speak the same language. While the Herero changed their life-style under the influence of European missionaries, the Himba have managed to maintain much of their traditional lifestyle.
The Himba wear little clothing, but the women are famous for covering themselves with a mixture of butter fat, ochre and herbs to protect themselves from the sun. The mixture gives their skins a reddish tinge and symbolizes earth's rich red color and the blood that symbolizes life, and is consistent with the Himba ideal of beauty. Women braid each other's hair and cover it in their ochre mixture.
Modern clothes are scarce, but generally go to the men when available. Traditionally both men and women go topless and wear skirts or loincloths made of animals skins in various colors. Boys are generally circumcised before puberty, to make them eligible for marriage. Marriages are arranged at a daughter's birth and usually take place when the girl is between about 14 and 17.
The Himba breed cattle and goats. The responsibility of milking cows lies with the women. Women take care of their own and other women’s children. They tend to perform more labor-intensive work than men do, such as carrying water to the village and building homes.
In the 1980s it appeared the Himba way of life was coming to a close. A severe drought killed ninety percent of their cattle and many gave up their herds and became refugees in the town of Opuwo living in slums on international relief.
This picture was taken in the shanty-town established by the Himba in Opuwo. Although tourists were abundant in the town, we noticed that very few visited this refugee camp-looking shanty-town.
Cropped, increased brightness.
PS: A small gift for André (InasiaJones)...
Critiques | Translate
InasiaJones (31562) 2011-03-28 22:24
LOLL!!! A great gift indeed! This morning, the first thing I did was to begin reading about Namibia, as last night, I had the pleasant surprise to know that my girlfriend was finally about to come with me on this trip.
Wonderful side light you caught here, creating volume and showing her skin texture. One thing that I admire is your low point of view, avoiding the shoulder height banal point of view. Your subject wears her full attire, including head jewel.
Well managed colours and nice blurred background.
batalay (37449) 2011-03-28 23:44
Dear Erdem Bey,
In my youth, photos like this were within the exclusive purview of the National Geographic Society, as were the genuinely informative narratives. You've captured the proud young woman's soul. (I too guessed this girl's age between 14-17.)
It's always a pleasure to see your photos, and in this case, at the ungodly hour of 2:40 am when I just happened to log on for a moment.
Sevgi ve selamlar,
TopGeo (38216) 2011-03-29 0:13
Hello Erdem! I appreciate that you gave a portrait very clearly a good angle that brings out the colors and detail the expression of an excellent record I think impressive note!
Sergiom (70648) 2011-03-29 5:30
Le portrait que tu as fait de cette belle et jeune Namibienne est très beau. Tu as réussi à bien saisir son regard et resque entré dans son intimité. Elle semble très fière de sa beauté.
SnapRJW (31629) 2011-03-29 5:58
Hello Erdem - You have captured the glowing red skin of this young Himba girl very nicely and I love all the detail in her garments and jewelry. I can even see the fine ostrich egg beads. How long, I wonder, will Namibia be able to protect the culture of this ethnic group? TFS and best regards Rosemary
papera (14184) 2011-03-29 14:46
I saw this picture this monitor on my office monitor, which is too dark, and I decided to postpone my comment, so that I could see it on my Mac. it was a wise decision because now I can fully appreciate the reddish tones of her skin and the great quality of the details.
Andre' noticed the low angle - indeed, it is a very good idea to use this perspective, it surely elevates the subject, giving her an elegant, dynamic character.
I don't use it often (actually, almost never) and it's a pity, because it gives a photo a totally different twist.
have a good evening,
- Copyright: Erdem Kutukoglu (Suppiluliuma) (3913)
- Genre: People
- Medium: Color
- Date Taken: 2009-08-21
- Categories: Daily Life
- Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark II, Canon EF 24-105mm f/4 L IS USM
- Exposure: f/9.0, 1/500 seconds
- More Photo Info: view
- Map: view
- Photo Version: Original Version
- Theme(s): Himba [view contributor(s)]
- Date Submitted: 2011-03-28 22:07