Soul theft

Soul theft

The image proposes an interpretation of ethnicity, spirituality and cultural differences and the way they may affect perception of self identity and rules of social behaviour. It depicts a native woman carrying a basket balanced on top of her head while walking on a country road in Tanzania. An ordinary street scene that captures a fleeting moment, quintessentially Tanzanian in nature, colours and atmosphere. The woman's instinctive gesture of covering the eyes with her hands is seen as a form of self-protection, with the interposition of a physical barrier to conceil herself from the eye of the camera and prevent, to some extent at least, her photo from being taken. This behaviour is not uncommon among some ethnical and religious groups around the world and finds its explanation in the myth or belief according to which photographs can steal a person's soul by virtue of displaying one's body, face and, above all, eyes. Hence a much felt need for censorship and avoiding the perceived harmful effects of photography on someone's soul.

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