Photographer Dale Morris has made multiple trips over the last 8 years to visit the Omi tribe, who live in the Omo Valley of Southern Ethiopia, and has captured their unique body modification traditions in a series of stunning pictures.
His gallery let’s us see some of the world’s oldest style of body modification, ranging from war paint to lip plates bigger than you could imagine is possible.
Dale, originally from the UK but now living in South Africa, said “it’s a privilege to capture moments in people’s lives.”
“The Omo’s culture has remained untouched for hundreds of years, but the modern world is invading and soon these costumes and body modifications will be a thing of the past. I feel I am capturing these images on the cusp of change. Soon these people will have changed, and their ancient customs and fashions will disappear.”
Dale has been an avid photographer for more than 20 years and his latest trip to visit the Omi trip was last month. He considers the huge lip plates that you will see in many of his pictures to be a thing of beauty.
He has also captured the unique tribal body paint with is commonly worn among women, with more ornate designs done for special events like weddings.
He said that within the tribe it is considered ‘the bigger the plate, the hotter the girl’.
“I have a love of communicating the wonders of our world to others – I’m a storyteller, and photography is part of my storytelling kit bag.”
He explained that the process of having a lip plate begins when the girl is a teenager:
“A slit is cut in the lower lip and a small cork is inserted. gradually and over the course of years, larger and larger plates are inserted, hence stretching the lip until it is long enough to put in something the size of a small dinner plate. When the lip is stretchy enough for a big plate, the two bottom teeth are removed. It is a strange practice that looks extremely painful and uncomfortable.”
You can view more of Dale’s incredible photography on his website.