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Papua New Guinea field studio portrait series

Brian Hodges
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Entry Fee: Free

On special occasions, tribal groups gather to participate in a cultural festival known as a “Sing Sing”. The aim of these gatherings is to peacefully share traditions among diverse and occasionally warring tribes. The Sing Sing provides a forum for the indigenous people to showcase their traditional costume, face paint, and music.

These photos were taken over the course of three weeks in September, 2006. Traveling with my white photo backdrop, I set up a small field studio at two different Sing Sing events – One in town of Goroka (Eastern Highlands Province), and one in the village of Simbai (Madang Province). The Goroka show is probably the largest cultural event held in Papua New Guinea. It takes place every year around Independence Day (September 16), and attracts about one hundred diverse tribes from regions around the country.

The esthetic values of the Papua New Guinea highland tribes remain largely unadulterated by external influences. This integrity is increasingly rare in today’s connected world. As a photographer, I am drawn to the exquisite sense of style displayed by these subjects, and feel compelled to document its uniqueness. Removing visually competing contextual references with my white background, I am able to showcase the subject and their unique beauty.

A seasoned collaborator and worldwide traveller, Brian Hodges is a travel and editorial photographer known for capturing authentic moments and images with a powerful connection to place.

In love with travel and the lure of the road, he has followed the winds of adventure around the globe and across 60 countries. He speaks English, French, and Spanish fluently.

His award-winning work is featured in such distinguished publications as Conde Nast Traveler, Photo District News, National Geographic Traveler, GEO Magazine, and many others. He regularly contributes his photographic talent to charitable organizations worldwide, leveraging the power of imagery to increase awareness for their causes.

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© Rob Johnston

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Image detail: Gary Ramage