Hereros – Jim Naughten

Each image, a portrait of Herero tribe members of Namibia, reveals a material culture that harkens the region’s tumultuous past: residents wear Victorian era dresses and paramilitary costume as a direct result and documentation of its early 20th century German colonization.

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These portraits are not intended to serve as a conventional documentary of Herero culture. They do not capture the subject in a snapshot of everyday life nor with objects typical of routine or social station. Subjects are removed from their home and intentionally suspended in a confrontational posture. As such, their identity as Herero tribe members is reified in their garments and their gaze, a colour and vibrancy brought into acute focus by the contrasting setting.

By composing these portraits against the Namibian landscape — one of unforgiving intensity but also of silent witness — there is an enlivening that takes place in an otherwise frozen moment. The still space, the direct gaze, the re-appropriated cloth combine to curate a stillness that allows the past to speak.

Words and images by Jim Naughten

I am also really into Naughten’s Monks and Healers series too.

One Comment

  1. Kathryn

    Stunning images and very interesting cultural history.