- War and beauty photographed in parallel
Legendary cultural photographer and conservationist Art Wolfe reveals the elusive moment he captured the story of the hill tribe people that inhabit one of the world’s most primitive environments. See how Art works on photographing the power and emotion of the Huli warriors in Tales by Light season one.
One of the primary reasons I love being a photographer is that the visual image can connect with people. It’s a connection to the past and the present and I love that.
The Huli clan are among the most distinctive of the hill tribes that live in the southern mountains of Papua New Guinea. They are most distinctive in their hairstyles – they make hats out of their own hair in the fashion that they historically wore during wartime. The bigger the hat, the more fearsome the warrior.
They use the bills of a horn bill – one of the most striking birds to fly through the region – plus pig tusks, leaves and parrot feathers. Then they collect the feathers from birds of paradise to completes this very elaborate costuming.
I’m essentially looking into history here and want that feeling to be conveyed to viewers of my photos
I want my subjects, the Huli warriors, to look straight into the camera and into the eyes of my audience so that there is power and emotion connecting the moment. These are the fiercest of the warriors here in the highlands. I love that contradiction of beautiful men but fierce warriors.
It's also really important for my subjects to be involved with me so that they see there’s a reason for putting them through all of this. The digital medium allows me to do that instantly.