Carol Beckwith

Thirty-five years ago American-born Carol Beckwith and Australian Angela Fisher met in Kenya and began a relationship with the African continent, journeying over 270,000 miles, through 40 countries and recording 150 African cultures.The two photographers produced 14 acclaimed books including Maasai (1980), Nomads of the Niger (1983), Africa Adorned (1984), African Ark (1990), African Ceremonies (1999), Passages (2000), Faces of Africa (2004), Lamu: Kenya’s Enchanted Island (2009), and Dinka: Legendary Cattle Keepers of Sudan (2010). Their defining body of work, the double volume African Ceremonies (1999), is a pan-African study of rituals and rites of passage from birth to death, covering 93 ceremonies from 26 countries. This publication won the United Nations Award for Excellence for its “vision and understanding of the role of cultural traditions in the pursuit of world peace.” Angela and Carol have been honoured twice with the Annisfield-Wolf Book Award in race relations for “outstanding contributions to the understanding of cultural diversity and prejudice”, and won the Royal Geographical Society of London’s Cherry Kearton Medal for their “contribution to the photographic recording of African ethnography and ritual”. Their latest book, Painted Bodies (Rizzoli, 2012) is a pan-African study of the art of body painting focusing on the oldest art form of decorating the body, used to attract the opposite sex, establish tribal identity and access the power of the spirit world.


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