Travelling by jeep through OMO Valley, from the riverbanks, the highlands, down to the Kenyan border, we came across 5 different indigenous groups. But shooting in Ethiopia wasn’t easy. Tribes like the Banna, Karo and Mursi can be quite intimidating and their attitude towards foreigners isn’t necessarily the friendliest. We came to take pictures of Kalashnikov wielding warriors, with credos like ‘It’s better to die than to live without killing’ and ‘A close friend can become a close enemy’.
"In hindsight their fierce warrior spirit resulted into some of the most powerful photographs in the book, but on location things weren’t always comfortable"
The only way to get anyone in front of the camera at all, was through the universally spoken language of money. On the one hand an effective door opener, but at the same time a potential liability. Of course we couldn’t take photographs of everyone. We would always carefully select the people that would make the strongest portraits, but you really don’t want to tell an agitated man carrying an automatic rifle he’s not good-looking enough to be in the picture.