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East Africa

Vanishing Africa is a valuable historical record of East Africa's traditional customs and ceremonies.

Mirella Ricciardi’s seminal book Vanishing Africa, published in 1971 has preserved and cherished a time past. Although now out of print, it is a valuable historical record of East Africa’s traditional customs and ceremonies.

Now part of the archive's fine art collections, we not only see an honest portrayal of tribal life and community, we are also aware of Mirella’s talent as a sensitive photographer.

Fifty years on, these photographs taken in 1967-68 still continues to inspire. It gives younger generations a chance to learn of the tribal traditions, origins, migrations and cultural differences.

Issues surrounding the preservation of community, culture and the environment are ever present as these tribal customs rapidly evolve and change.

This collection will always continue to honour Africa’s heritage as well as Mirella’s prolific photographic career. It celebrates a unique timeless graphic style, revered by some of her contemporaries and admirers.

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Platinum Palladium Print

Platinum palladium prints offer the ultimate in photographic permanence.

Silver Gelatin Print

Visually silver gelatin yields uniquely neutral black-and-white images with deep blacks and subtle nuances.

Chromogenic C-Type Print

A C-print, also known as a C-type print or Chromogenic print, is a photographic print made from a colour negative or slide.

Black & white

Tribes

Mirella photographed different tribes around East Africa.

Rendille
Turkana
Maasai

The nomadic and pastoralist Maasai people are a Nilotic ethnic group inhabiting southern Kenya and northern Tanzania along the Great Rift Valley on semi-arid and arid lands. 

“The Maasai are the proudest and the most self-reliant of all the tribes of Kenya, cautious of strangers, and submitting unwillingly to any interference from the white man, the missionaries or the government. Before the arrival of the European they were renowned for their bravery and skill in defending their herds from neighbouring raiders and often themselves engaging in cattle-raids in return. A youth wishing to become a murran (warrior) must show no fear of death and it is not uncommon for a herdboy of ten to fifteen years old to kill a lion with his spear in defence of his herds.” 

Mirella Ricciardi, Initiation, pg.15 Vanishing Africa, 1971.

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