Painted Bodies: African Body Painting, Tattoos, and Scarification
Written by Carol Beckwith and Angela Fisher
September 18, 2012
Photography - Individual Photographers - Essays
12 x 16
About This Book
The seminal volume on body painting and adornment by the world’s preeminent photographers of African culture. Following the international masterpiece Africa Adorned, Carol Beckwith and Angela Fisher have focused on the traditions of body painting spanning the vastly unique cultures of the African continent. In a contemporary world so fascinated with tattoos and piercings, Beckwith and Fisher document the origins of these fashionable adornments as passed down through African tribal culture.Featured are portraits of the richly colored, detailed, and exquisite body paintings of the Surma, Karo, Maasai, Himba, and Hamar peoples, among others. Drawing from expeditions in the field and firsthand experiences with African peoples and cultures over the past thirty years and with more than 250 spectacular photographs, this is the definitive work on the expressiveness and imagination of African cultural painting of the human body.
About the Author
Carol Beckwith and Angela Fisher have photographed the peoples and cultures of the Horn of Africa for more than 30 years. Together, they exhibit internationally and lecture widely at prestigious venues such as the American Museum of Natural History, The Explorers Club, The Smithsonian Institution, the National Geographic Society, and the Royal Geographical Society. Their magazine credits include major features in Time, Life, Vogue, Marie Claire, and Elle.
“PHOTO BOOKS OF THE YEAR. Documenting African cultures, Beckwith and Fisher create an iridescent record of the continent’s skin art: body painting, tattoos and scarification.” ~ American Photo
“..this beautiful book offers up large and colorful photos en masse...I paged through this volume transfixed, amazed at the simple beauty of the patterns and color utilized by the tribal artists documented with great respect for its subjects. This large coffee table-sized book takes great care to not only document the different body-painting styles of numerous tribes, but also to describe in chapter prefaces, the processes and cultural significance of the techniques.” ~Tattoosday
“Leafing through Painted Bodies, the eye-popping book...is a joyful experience. The vivid photos of painted and adorned bodies—some daintily dabbed with dots of paint, others lashed with bold streaks of color—mesmerize and uplift.” ~Professional Photographer
"Best known documenting African cultures, Beckwith and Fisher create an iridescent record of the continent's skin art: body painting, tattoos and scarification." ~American Photo
“It wrings one’s heart, however, when one realizes that these images may well be among the last records of this art that is at the dawn of all art. This book may be romantic and carries the authors’ knowledge very lightly, but if one images is worth 10,000 words, these pictures eloquently plead for the protection of the Omo Valley.” ~The Art Newspaper
"Carol Beckwith and Angela Fisher’s unabashedly spectacular color photographs have nothing to do with art world fashions and trends. In their latest book, they document modern versions of practices thought to have continued for tens of thousands of years... Pictures—intensely colored images that fill page after page with dramatically decorated faces and bodies—are the photographers’ primary achievement. Anyone who leafs through the pages of this book can see stunning evidence of ancient customs that seem to thrive, as well as survive.” ~Los Angeles Review of Books