Kingdom of Women

22 12 2010

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Italian photographer Luca Locatelli documents the lives of the Mosuo tribe, often described as one of the last matriarchal societies in the world.

Women from the Mosuo tribe do not marry, take as many lovers as they wish and have no word for “father” or “husband”.

The Mosuo people’s ancient history is identified with Lugu Lake and they are famous for their matriarchal traditions and “walking marriages,” where marriage is not sacrosanct as women exercise the right to choose and change their husbands at will. There are around 90,000 Mosuos, mostly concentrated around Lugu Lake. Azu marriage is the way of living of the Mosuo people, and Azu in the local Mosuo language (which does not have its own script) means “intimate sweet heart”. It is a convenient arrangement in which the partners come and go as they like. Three types of Azu marriages have been mentioned namely, the “travelling marriage,” which is marriage without cohabitation; and the second type is the marriage with cohabitation that have developed into deep feelings after living under “travelling marriage” practice; they then live together and raise children as a family.

The third type of marriage, which is linked to the history of Mongolian people occupying Lugu Lake who inculcated the practice of monogamous marriage among the Mosuo people, is called “One on one marriage.” However, in all the three types of marriages, women have the rightful ownership of land, houses and full rights to the children born to them. The children carry their mother’s family name and pay greatest respect to their mothers who in turn enjoy high social status. The male companions are known as “axias” and they work for the women.

Lugu Lake is located in the North West Yunnan plateau in China. The middle of the lake forms the border between the Ninglang County of Yunnan Province and the Yanqing County of Sichuan province. It is an alpine lake at an elevation of 2,685 metres (8,809 ft) and is the highest lake in the Yunnan Province, surrounded by mountains and it has five islands, four peninsulas, fourteen bays and seventeen beaches.

The lake’s shores are inhabited by many minority ethnic groups, such as the Mosuo, Norzu, Yi, Pumi and Tibetan. The most numerous of them all are the Mosuo people, with an ancient family structure considered “a live fossil for researching the marital development history of Human beings” and “the last quaint Realm of Matriarchy.” The matriarchal and matrilineal society of the Mosuos is also termed the “Women’s World.”

(excerpts from Wikipedia)





What does Pride mean to you?

30 08 2010





How to own a leopard

22 08 2010

Why do people take photographs?

I mean it. Do we know why we keep taking photographs? Everywhere we go, whatever the event or circumstance, someone will produce a camera, usually one of those tiny ones the size of a matchbox that shoots immensely high resolution images that can reproduce at hoarding sizes, and start clicking.

There is hardly any place left in the world where photography is inappropriate, except perhaps some far northern states of india where extremely photogenic tribeswomen walk around in brilliantly coloured saris – any photographer’s dream shot, especially those with visions of national geographic wallpaper floating before their eyes. These women however have stern and fixed ideas on the matter of having their picture taken by every passing tourist and you will be roundly cursed in hindi every time you point your camera at one of them.

I like this.

I like the fact that there is still a no go zone or two left in the world where cameras and photographers are not welcome. On a recent visit to a wildlife park I realized that there exists in many an amateur photographer’s mind, a sort of hierarchy of wildlife in which the leopard undoubtedly reigns supreme, closely followed by the elephant, crocodile and bear. All the other animals of the park come a poor third, while the birds hardly register at all, (unless you are one of those peculiar people who actually prefer birds to leopards and walk around with a bird book in hand trying to identify each one.) Birdwatching has its own set of rules and hierarchies, and some birds give you extra points when reported later over dinner, especially the rare or colorful ones.

So the creatures of the wild are now reduced to popular photographs with no value beyond show and tell. Observe the jeeps, vans and buses full of yelling sightseers that career over the dirt tracks of yala in pursuit of some poor animal who is then surrounded and photographed by twenty five people at once, all using high end cameras worth shitloads of money which couldn’t take a bad shot if you tried.

People take photographs to ‘capture’ a moment, a place, a face or action. These are then framed and kept as memories. Most pictures aren’t worth anything unless they are shared. This means that every picture is something we plan to show/share, even before we click. But what really happens is that you start to lose the reality of the moment, the place and the face. Everything is seen through the lens and our desire to possess the picture becomes greater than our pleasure in the subject.

The world around us is astounding. It keeps changing and no one can ever possess the smallest fraction of it. The next time you go to yala, leave your camera behind.





Vihara Maha Devi Park

14 02 2010





Moondance 2

30 01 2010

Photographed in 2006. (Panasonic Lumix, 12x Leica lens).





Moondance 1

29 01 2010

…its a wonderful night for a moondance!

(Photographed tonight around 10pm using a 85mm lens on a Canon 50D)