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Debbie Jefkin is a photographer and tour leader who devotes her life to revealing untold
stories of ancient cultures, time-honored traditions and extraordinary people living in the remnants of time.

Uncommon Images is a collection of photographs that
has resulted from her travels through Africa, Asia and South America.

Uncommon Images spins the world’s colors, patterns, faces and lifestyles
and weaves them into an eloquent tapestry of beauty and visual splendor.
But these photographs perform a vital function that extends well beyond the aesthetic.
Each one tells a story about history, beliefs or cultural richness.
Architectural, religious or ceremonial images readily identify a culture.
Ritual body decoration, hairstyle or adornments convey unambiguous messages about
wealth, status, bravery, ethnic origin or clan background.

At first glance, the faces and life ways in the images are captivating
for their exotic and unique appearance. The Dani of Irian Jaya paint their
bodies with clay to mourn the loss of a loved one. Hamer women of Ethiopia
scarify their bodies as an expression of feminine beauty. The Kondh tribe of
India tattoo their faces and hands so they will recognize each other in the spirit world.
But indigenous people throughout the world are remarkable for their similarities
as well as for their differences. What they all have in common is a fierce
determination to maintain their cultural identity. They still live the way
they have for centuries, preserving the past and nurturing the future,
in a perpetual memorial to their ancestors.

It is this paradox -- the stunning differences and the common humanity of
the world’s cultures -- that has inspired Uncommon Images.

Perhaps you are drawn to an image because of personal experience.
Dwelling on a photograph may summon a specific memory, feeling or thought.
It may evoke sunlight reflecting off thousands of golden Burmese Buddhas.
Exploring the haunting passageways in the early morning stillness of Ankgor Wat.
The approach of a salt caravan looming out of the dusty Timbuktu dawn.

But you needn’t know much about the people and places in Uncommon Images
to appreciate this unique perspective on how the world lives.
The images themselves animate a sense of wonder. They invite you to know,
understand and enjoy the people and their lands. These societies have hewn
an existence of cultural solidarity out of the ephemeral world that surrounds them.
As the world charges at blistering speed into the new millennium,
as we barely get used to the old before the new is fully upon us,
their time-honored traditions serve as a poignant reminder that some
good things do last forever.Take a closer look. You are sure to discover
that the world lives in the most astonishing ways.


Text © 2001 Debbie Jefkin