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Vanishing Africa - Colour Collection

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

Mirella Ricciardi’s seminal book Vanishing Africa, is now more important than ever. Although now out of print, it is a valuable historical record of East Africa’s traditional customs and ceremonies.

In our swiftly changing modern world this valuable book, published in 1971 has preserved and cherished a time past.

Through the eyes of this inspiring woman, we not only see an honest portrayal of tribal life and community, we also are aware of Mirella’s talent as a sensitive photographer.

Fifty years on, this book 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 publication 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.


Mirella photographed different tribes around East Africa.


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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print process


The Vanishing Africa Colour Collection utilises the Chromogenic C-Type print process to bring to life these beautiful images.

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.

burning questions or enquiries?

If you would like to see more of Mirella's collections, make a purchase or visit the studio in London, you can reach out to us by filling in some details about your enquiry.

Peter Beard in front of elephants