Broken Spears by Elizabeth L. Gilbert
A Maasai Journey

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Synopsis

'A skilled, intimate, and remarkable portrayal of an enigmatic culture that goes well beyond the usual stereotypical treatment of the Maasai. Gilbert's work is a valuable contribution to the honorable photographic tradition of tribal studies.' Peter Matthiessen When photojournalist Elizabeth Gilbert first came into contact with the Maasai over ten years ago, their images were everywhere in Africa. Pictures of warriors were printed on postcards, T-shirts, safari advertisements, and hotel logos, but in reality their traditional life was disappearing. So Gilbert set out on a four-year journey to photograph what was left of traditional Maasailand.Broken Spears is the stunning result of that remarkable journey. Over 120 images capture the rituals, secret ceremonies, and landscapes of the Maasai, documenting the life of this extraordinary tribe in the most comprehensive collection of photographs ever assembled. Gilbert's intimate relationship with the Maasai allowed her to photograph centuries-old Maasai ceremonies, including male and female circumcisions, weddings, and perhaps the most dangerous of all Maasai rituals, a lion hunt. Broken Spears is a haunting testament to a rapidly disappearing way of life.
 

About Elizabeth L. Gilbert

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Elizabeth L. Gilbert moved to Africa in 1991 to work as a photojournalist. Her images of conflicts and cultural issues in Somalia, Rwanda, and other East African countries have appeared in "Time, Newsweek, Life", and "The New York Times", as well as numerous major European publications. She is the author of "Broken Spears: A Maasai Journey".
 
Published August 28, 2003 by Atlantic Monthly Press. 192 pages
Genres: History, Political & Social Sciences, Arts & Photography. Non-fiction

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In the text, Gilbert yearns after "something purely African," and her treatment of the Maasai is a mixed bag of nostalgia, understanding, incomprehension, glorification and attempts at cultural relativism that are sorely strained by the "female circumcision" (ritual removal of the clitoris) that ...

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