Documentary shot of a cruel tradition (Warning)

cocasanacocasana Major grinsRegistered Users Posts: 150 Major grins
edited March 12, 2007 in Landscapes
In the Dani tradition every family mourning women should amputate a falange!
New market, Wamena, Papua Barat, Indonesia.
Canon 1dmk2, Canon 70-200mm f/4.
As always I would be really interested in your opinion, comments, critiques...
Thanks, Carlo

Comments

  • kdogkdog artistically challenged San Jose, CAAdministrators Posts: 11,669 moderator
    edited March 8, 2007
    Maybe I've lead a sheltered life, but that's one of the most cruel third-world country customs that I've seen.

    Great shot, although I almost wish I hadn't looked at it. It's the kind of thing that will haunt you for life.

    Your documentary photos of this area are outstanding. I take it that this area isn't a tourist mecca, to say the least. And yet the locals seem so comfortable with you. I'm sure I'm not the only one here who'd like to hear your story.

    Regards,
    -joel
  • wxwaxwxwax Immoderator Registered Users Posts: 15,471 Major grins
    edited March 8, 2007
    Holy cow! eek7.gif

    What a shocking tradition.

    Could you explain further? When a family member dies, does every woman in the family have to cut off part of a finger?
    Sid.
    Catapultam habeo. Nisi pecuniam omnem mihi dabis, ad caput tuum saxum immane mittam
    http://www.mcneel.com/users/jb/foghorn/ill_shut_up.au
  • Ben SpeckBen Speck monkey Registered Users Posts: 1 Beginner grinner
    edited March 8, 2007
    Hi Carlo,
    This is not a good documentary picture, because its only quality is that its shocking and ofputting. It does not make me want to find out more about this tradition, which is the one thing Documentary should do.
    The hands, which is the most important detail are out of focus.
    The face is screwed up in an expression diffucult to read, but she definately doesn't seem to trust you. It give me a sense of you exploiting her by taking this sensationalist picture. And its in focus but randomly blocked by the hand. If you wanna do documentary, don't shoot beggars on the street, unless you wanna tell us about beggars (I am just guessing here thats whats going on- bad sign that I havn't got a clue what environment she is in here). Tell me something about this womans daily life etc.
    Also, you should be carefull about your framing at all times, no matter how shocking an image you create. The picture is totally uncontrolled, almost like you took it while retreating from her, because she scared you. You as a photographer are very present here, I personally prefer it when the photographer is invisible but the subject matter reignes the picture.
  • MalteMalte Major grins Registered Users Posts: 1,181 Major grins
    edited March 8, 2007
    Ben Speck wrote:
    Hi Carlo,
    This is not a good documentary picture, because its only quality is that its shocking and ofputting. It does not make me want to find out more about this tradition, which is the one thing Documentary should do.
    The hands, which is the most important detail are out of focus.
    The face is screwed up in an expression diffucult to read, but she definately doesn't seem to trust you. It give me a sense of you exploiting her by taking this sensationalist picture. And its in focus but randomly blocked by the hand. If you wanna do documentary, don't shoot beggars on the street, unless you wanna tell us about beggars (I am just guessing here thats whats going on- bad sign that I havn't got a clue what environment she is in here). Tell me something about this womans daily life etc.
    Also, you should be carefull about your framing at all times, no matter how shocking an image you create. The picture is totally uncontrolled, almost like you took it while retreating from her, because she scared you. You as a photographer are very present here, I personally prefer it when the photographer is invisible but the subject matter reignes the picture.

    Wow. As far as first posts to forums go, that one's quite the ripper.

    I'm looking forward to your first picture post as I'm sure it will be absolutely flawless.

    Welcome to Dgrin.

    Malte
  • AndyAndy Bicameral New YorkRegistered Users Posts: 50,154 Major grins
    edited March 8, 2007
    Malte wrote:
    Wow. As far as first posts to forums go, that one's quite the ripper.

    I'm looking forward to your first picture post as I'm sure it will be absolutely flawless.

    Welcome to Dgrin.

    Malte
    wave.gif Malte :D

    Actually, I find it refreshing! Folks get plenty of "great shot" responses. This was a genuine post, with some real "how it makes me feel" stuff. I'd love to see more of it. Is it direct? Sure. But we as photographers, when we post our stuff, should be able to take the good and the bad.
  • JESTERJESTER Major grins Registered Users Posts: 369 Major grins
    edited March 8, 2007
    I agree with Andy. Not everything in the world is a bed of roses. I have been around the world about four times and you would be amazed at some of the customs of some countries. I think it is correct to show the good and the bad. But thats just my opinion. It makes you think. Like Wxwax I too am curious as to whether it is one woman or all in the family that has to do this. The photo does raise your curiosity.
  • cocasanacocasana Major grins Registered Users Posts: 150 Major grins
    edited March 8, 2007
    Thank you all (old and new) digrinners for stopping and commenting.
    Ben: I'm very sorry this shot doesn't make you what to know more about this cruel tradition, but I think you can agree with me that's very subjective! Isn't it?
    When I had to choose which part to focus on I've chosen her face because of her suffering expression. I also thought that having her hands covering partially her face gave an interesting cause/effect sense to the photo. For my taste environment is quite clear: people in motion, a motorcycle: street photography! I'm sorry I really can' understand the trust problem! There was nothing to trust: she just showed me her hands trying -I guess- to point out to my attention that tradition. I wonder what makes you think I was retreating from her, as I wasn't. We sat together while she was explaining me about this tradition. In Papuan dialect. So you can imagine how much I've understood. I've asked to some English speaking Papuan people and the only thing I could get is that they do it to make visible their suffering.
  • PrezwoodzPrezwoodz Alaska Grinnin Registered Users Posts: 1,147 Major grins
    edited March 8, 2007
    Im going to have to agree with Ben for a few key points in this photo. Although I like the shot it didn't really stab at me. I think its because her hands are unfocused and when keying in on the tradition of cutting off her fingers it seems like that would be very important. Also does she find it cruel to cut her fingers for tradition? Does everyone follow these traditions or only those who still believe in them? Her face is covered by her hands which makes it seem incomplete and her face seems more angsty then having suffered.
  • bsvirginianbsvirginian BS Registered Users Posts: 241 Major grins
    edited March 8, 2007
    bowdown.gif Actually it does all that it's supposed to do. I shows a different culture and life style. It does solicite questions. I do want to know more about the culture. I have seen similar atrocities in other third world nations. And to top it all off, the photography is technically good. Show us more! BSthumb.gif (Obviously this icon hasn't lost any family members)
  • SloYerRollSloYerRoll Major grins Registered Users Posts: 2,788 Major grins
    edited March 8, 2007
    This shot reminds me how genuinely blessed I am to live in the US and have customs that don't involve harming myself.
    While the shot really gets your attention. I think a few posts in here are accurate about not really capturing the essence of this shot and just grabbing shock value. A story needed to be told about the picture instead of the picture telling the story. It would have been a great PJ shot if you were able to capture her in the greiving process and somehow drawing attention to her hands.
    Regardless, thanks for sharing!

    -Jon
  • cocasanacocasana Major grins Registered Users Posts: 150 Major grins
    edited March 8, 2007
    Speaking about the hands being out of foucus, at a certain moment I even thought to blur them a tad to have an effect similar to this shot, that I've posted a week or so ago. Then I didn't, because I don't like to work too much on my pics!
    BTW, for thos who haven't already see it its Wim Tok Mabel's mummy held by one of his descendant. Apparently the mummy is 362 years old. Wim Tok Mabel was a "big man" and everybody in the valley wanted his advices. Even nowadays somebody is looking for them! Sumpaima village, Baliem valley (Papua Barat, Indonesia).
  • DavidTODavidTO Mod Emeritus Thousand Oaks, CARegistered Users, Retired Mod Posts: 19,160 Major grins
    edited March 8, 2007
    Carlo, that last is my favorite image of yours, so far.
    Moderator Emeritus
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  • dogwooddogwood pixel hack Registered Users Posts: 2,572 Major grins
    edited March 8, 2007
    cocasana wrote:
    Even nowadays somebody is looking for them! Sumpaima village, Baliem valley (Papua Barat, Indonesia).

    Yeah, definitely a unique image. Your selective focus really works well here.

    Portland, Oregon Photographer Pete Springer
    website blog instagram facebook g+

  • wxwaxwxwax Immoderator Registered Users Posts: 15,471 Major grins
    edited March 8, 2007
    I give this discussion my seal of approval. friday.gif

    It's been a good one. clap.gif
    Sid.
    Catapultam habeo. Nisi pecuniam omnem mihi dabis, ad caput tuum saxum immane mittam
    http://www.mcneel.com/users/jb/foghorn/ill_shut_up.au
  • bauermanbauerman Ear to Ear Registered Users Posts: 452 Major grins
    edited March 8, 2007
    That last image is just fantastic........thanks for sharing these.
    Perhaps the greatest social service that can be rendered by anybody to this country and to mankind is to bring up a family. - George Bernard Shaw
  • Tee WhyTee Why Major grins Registered Users Posts: 2,390 Major grins
    edited March 12, 2007
    What a sad thing for a culture to propose.
    I wonder what the men cut off if they have lost a family member.
  • JohnCJohnC Nikon D300 Shooter! Registered Users Posts: 222 Major grins
    edited March 12, 2007
    I think it’s a great shot with great detail on a cultural tradition, albeit, cruel, but nonetheless interesting.

    Don’t stop posting any of your photos because I haven’t found one yet that I didn’t like, Cocasana.
    Nikon D300 l Nikon SB-600 l Nikon MC-30 Remote l Nikon AF-S 24-85mm 1:3.5-4.5G IF-ED l Nikon 50mm f/1.8 AF-D l Sigma 10-20mm F4-5.6 EX DC HSM l Quantaray Pro U-100 backpack by Naneu Pro l Quantaray QSX 9500 Tripod by Sunpak
    Canon AE-1 Program l FD 28mm 1:2.8 l FD 50mm 1:1.8 l Sunpak Auto 821 Dedicated
  • SystemSystem Registered Users Posts: 8,195 moderator
    edited March 12, 2007
    interesting and neat photos-

    great discussion, as sid said-

    the cutting off of fingers over mourning is fascinating-

    if it's turned into a custom that all, in a sense, have to follow, well, I dunno-

    but if it's done in the frenzy and hysteria of true mourning?-

    I would definitely like to know more-

    anyway, thanks for posting it-
  • SystemSystem Registered Users Posts: 8,195 moderator
    edited March 12, 2007
    Call these photo's whatever you want, they are amazing captures of a world which time forgot.
  • TerrenceTerrence Works too much to shoot Registered Users Posts: 477 Major grins
    edited March 12, 2007
    truth wrote:
    Call these photo's whatever you want, they are amazing captures of a world which time forgot.

    Well put! Keep it up. You are producing fantastic images and touching a lot of people with them. Bravo.
    Terrence

    My photos

    "The future is an illusion, but a damned handy one." - David Allen
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