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Photographer's Showcase: Joey L -- Abyssinia: The Cradle of Mankind

photo-eye is pleased to announce the newest addition to the Photographer's Showcase: Joey L. and his portfolio Abyssinia: The Cradle of Mankind

Women of the Daasanach - Joey L
While most 19 year-olds are focused on school, getting a summer job or that coveted internship, not to mention their weekend plans, photographer Joey Lawrence (here on out Joey L.) has been criss-crossing the globe in order to bridge the gap between photo-journalism and fine art photography.

Joey first visited Ethiopia three years ago to begin his series titled Abyssinia: The Cradle of Mankind. Initially I was reminded of Irving Penn's "tribal" photographs made in New Guinea, but Joey takes a distinctly modern approach by updating the lighting and adding color. Deliberately using studio lighting and a modern style to shoot the photos, Joey L. says his subjects "become overlooked when they are depicted in... black-and-white..., as noble savages, as unchanged people".

Photograph of Rufo - Joey L
Joey's portraits present the people of Ethiopia's Bodi tribe not at a cross-road often associated with "lost tribes" being forced into a western world, but rather celebrating their rich and ancient cultural heritage. Joey makes no assumption that his subjects live in isolation, some western influence is clear, whether in the form of an assault rifle shouldered by a hunting tribesman or a Nike T-shirt that may have been part of a Goodwill clothing drive. Joey's photographs celebrate the color and richness of the Bodi's heritage but do so with solemn respect and understanding connecting people-to-people, face-to-face. We see ourselves reflected in the faces and poses.
"Joey L's subjects present themselves with an artistry which bridges the gap between them and the viewer. We see their frailty, and their pride and resilience in confronting our myopia, which condemns them as backward, dispensable, and moribund 'primitives'. Joey L's art penetrates their exoticism and shows us the sheer beauty of our shared humanity, with all its tragedy and hope." -Stephen Corry, Director, Survival International.

See Joey L's portfolios on the Photographer's Showcase here.

For more information, please contact photo-eye Gallery Associate Director Anne Kelly by email or by calling the gallery at (505) 988-5152 x202