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Earth’s Riches |  Omo Valley

In this young, Ethiopian boy’s adornment there is a declaration of “I am.” His beauty is composed in part with the raw materials at hand; a headdress fashioned from slender branches and the leaves of a common tree and face paint made of pigment from a nearby riverbed. His fashion is composed with eternal and timeless materials, but it also ephemeral. The paint, as easily as it is applied, if wetted will vanish within seconds in a pool of water, returning to its origins. The leaves will wither and decay, but in decomposing, will live on as their mulch enriches the soil and nourishes the lives of future trees.

What I admire in this boy is not just his beauty, but how conscious of self he is, without being self-conscious or overly self-aware. He is not “dressed to impress.” Just as nature does not seek to astound us but nonetheless does so immeasurably, repeatedly, astonishingly, a young person so grounded in his element is breathtaking and minus ego. Can it be so simple to be present in a body, in “I am-ness?” Yes—look, recognize, revel, and celebrate that in this boy, it can be so.

Limited Edition


18 x 24 inches (45.72 x 60.96 cm)

24 x 32 inches (60.96 x  81.28 cm)

30 x 40 inches (76.2   x  101.6 cm) 

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