By Angela Romeo
One of the most beautiful books to cross my path in years arrived courtesy of Maxson Art. Maxson Art and California photographer, Lynn Doran come together to celebrate Doran’s book OMO.
The beautifully bound book, yes Virginia they still publish books, contains 143 pages of photographs, and descriptions of Doran’s experience in the Omo Valley in Southern Ethiopia. The area is home to ancient tribes that continue to practice some of the same traditions of their ancestors. The area is home to the Dorze, Suri, Konso and other tribes. The area is also home to some of the most exotic animals in the world including kudo, eland (a species of antelope) and hippopotamus.
As the modern world encroaches on these lands, changes are inevitable. The wildlife and fauna struggle to survive as the natural habitat is eroded. The people, while clinging to the past traditions, are forced to adapt to modern world. It is this environment that Doran chose to document.
Lynn Doran, a native Californian, began her life of adventure and creativity in the 1950s, traveling with her parents. After college she started her own company, Natty, which designed and manufactured women’s specialized sports attire.
Yet Doran never lost her love for travel. She travels the world photographing and documenting the wonders she sees. In September 2013, she journeyed to the Omo Valley. When asked why the Omo Valley, Lynn replied, “Since 2000 my quest has been to experience the most ‘intact’ indigenous cultures left on this planet. The tribes of the Omo Valley were some of the few remaining.”
Lynn states, “I had no intention of publishing a book, that is not why I took this trip. However, when I got back from the trip and people saw some of the images they kept telling me ‘you have to do something with these’. Then I heard more and more about the expected devastation of the tribes once the dam was completed. I decide I wanted to, needed to, document the beauty of these people and how they lived before progress changed their lives forever.”
The Maxson Gallery is a gallery and working studio of Artists Greg and Linda Maxson. The Maxson have created a gallery that exudes their passion for art. It is no doubt that the Maxsons were drawn to Doran’s work
As Linda Maxson stated “I was drawn to Lynn’s artwork when I first saw it years ago. Her work shows the influence of the cultures she has visited over the years. Many of her pieces look as if they were created centuries ago, and recently unearthed.”
“When I saw Lynn’s book, my first thought was that the book itself is a work of art, from cover to cover, with contemplative quotes separating section, providing the reader with a pause to reflect on the words before proceeding. The editing is superb, combining Lynn’s photography with maps of the OMO Valley, providing the reader with a visual of where the tribes are located along the valley. ‘OMO’ is a reminder that there are many differences in the cultures around the world and all can be appreciated without judgment.”
The book, priced $79, is available during the exhibition at Maxson Art. Doran is also having a book signing at Just Fabulous in Palm Springs on Saturday, December 9. And of course the book is available on the ubiquitous Amazon site.
Maxson Art will host Doran at the monthly Backstreet Art Walk on December 6 from 5pm – 8pm. For more information on Lynn Doran visit www.lynndoran.com. For more information on Maxson Art visit maxonart.com