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Photographer Brent Stirton Captured Magnificent Images Of Mursi Warriors Of The Omo Valley In Ethiopia



Brent Stirton/Getty Images

Brent Stirton is a senior staff photographer at Getty Images and four times a World Press Photo winner. On his travels Brent encountered a fair amount of conflict, including a tribal skirmish over a strip of land that resulted in the death of nine people.

Brent has excelled in a career that could have evolved quite differently had a photographer been on hand when he needed one 18 years ago. As a journalism student in South Africa, he wrote an essay on factional violence and, in the absence of a photographer willing to accompany him, took the shots himself.

“This is a volatile place, and the link between what it is to be masculine and violence is very pervasive,” he says. Although he “didn’t go to shoot conflict”, the journalist in him took over when he came up against the violence, resulting in a couple of shots he describes as “suspenseful”.

More: Brent Stirton, Instagram, Facebook


Brent Stirton/Getty Images

There are eight major tribes in the Omo Valley, each with their own distinct language. The smallest tribe consists of just 1,600 people, the largest, 80,000, and internecine fighting is frequent due to their contact with militia groups on the Sudanese border. While the region’s scarce resources have been a source of competition for centuries, the arrival of automatic weapons – and, crucially, ammunition – has seen death tolls rise significantly.


Brent Stirton/Getty Images

Money talks wherever you go in the world, and the Omo Valley tribal elders were quick to demand a fee for entering their village, as well as paying every subject who was photographed. Brent is phlegmatic about the process, admitting that, “as much as I’m not a fan of that sort of thing, it’s what happens. They’re always going to see you as the white man with means.”


Brent Stirton/Getty Images


Brent Stirton/Getty Images


Brent Stirton/Getty Images


Brent Stirton/Getty Images


Brent Stirton/Getty Images


Brent Stirton/Getty Images


Brent Stirton/Getty Images


Brent Stirton/Getty Images


Brent Stirton/Getty Images

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