I am so moved by the beauty of the photos in this pictorial that I don't want to waste any time thinking up something to say, so I will just give you the facts and then give you time to behold the beauty.
These photos are from the book Natural Fashion: Tribal Decoration from Africa by Hans Silvester and they document the adornment rituals of the Surma and Mursi tribes of East Africa's Omo Valley in southern Ethiopia. From the May/June 2010 issue of Departures magazine: "Each morning (and sometimes three or four times a day), in the same way we might rifle through a closet to put on a Prada shoe, they scour their surrounding landscape to create hats from tufts of grass, necklaces from snail shells, a scarf from banana leaves. The final effect, writes Silvester in this introductory essay, "is a fascinating dimension of mystery...that is almost magical. For them, [nature] provides an infinite wardrobe - the most amazing accessory shop you can imagine." For some tribespeople, the process is rooted in the practical (women carry branches on their heads to shield themselves from the sun; ash can function as insect repellent), but the adolescents of the tribes devote considerable time - and talent - to the ritual, bringing it to its most elaborate peak. Remarkably it all happens in the absence of a mirror "or even a natural equivalent," writes Silverster. "The silty water is always cloudy in the valley - the only way one can see oneself is through people's reactions. An image of oneself...can therefore only be constructed through the eyes of others. And also, to a certain degree, through the lens of the camera."Bravo.