Madagascar – The People

I have so many photos to share in this post, I don’t actually have enough words to describe them all, so I have decided to use a different technique. Click an image, and you can scroll through them. how cool is that?

The people of Madagascar are of extremely mixed races; there are clear traces of everything from eastern Africa, to the Middle East, to Asia, to Polynesian islands in the facial structures and skin colours. Kobokara is derived, essentially, from a single lineage – the founder of the village gave rise to six (or eight) descendants or lineages, each of which is now resided over by a single head. So everyone in the whole village is related, except for the married women – there are taboos regarding the marriage of couples within the village, so men find their wives elsewhere, and likewise, young women are often taken away and married into other villages. Because of this gene flow, there is an astonishing diversity in the appearances of the people. They are all beautiful in their own rights.

I have never been so entranced by a people. They are always eager and happy to be photographed – a rare trait in europeans. I found that, because of my heavy workload, I integrated more slowly than I would have liked. But once I did, I became so attached to the people that I did not want to leave. There is a curious light to them, despite the apparent hardships they suffer through. Their environment is immensely hostile, and yet the whole village appears to be thriving. It helped, no doubt, that the dry season in which we came was really rather wet, so we did not have to witness the area in the grips of drought, which is not uncommon. You can see in the faces and in the skin that these people live a hard life, but they are happy, despite everything. I found that to be extremely inspiring.

I was thrilled to capture these people on digital film. The light in Africa is special and wonderful to work with. There was not a single day of bad light (though mid-day was almost always bald skies, too bright to do anything good under).

This is not the last post with images of the people – there are at least two more to follow, of specific events that would make this post too long to make it viable.

Update: I’ve added three more photos to the gallery that I had forgotten about. Enjoy.


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