AAA congratulates 2012 Photo Contest Winners Pat Foley, Drew Gerkey, Matthew Michel Gervais, Ann Gold, Matt Hale, Amir Hampel, Tracey Heatherington, Andrea Heckman, Jesse Karnes, Barry Kass, Damon Lynch, Julie Maldonado, Mark Moritz, Christopher Morris, Stephen Pavey, Roberto Mesquita Ribeiro, Bonnie Ruder, Amina Tawasil, Matthew Trew and Ming Xue. AAA members voted on their favorite photos in September and Anthropology News is pleased to present the photos here.  We’d like to thank everybody who participated in this year’s photo contest, either by entering photos or by voting. We hope you participate next time!

To view a larger version of one of the photos below, click on the image.


Category: PEOPLE        (Top Selection in Category) Title: Striking a Herder’s Pose. By: Mark Moritz Cameroon. March 2011.


Title: Striking a Herder’s Pose. By: Mark Moritz

Caption: We have been studying pastoral mobility in the Far North Region of Cameroon at different spatiotemporal scales using spatial and ethnographic analyses. We have followed herders on daily herd movements from 6AM to 6PM during which herders are continuously on their feet. They rest their body by striking one of few characteristic herder poses in which they lean their body on their herding stick. The poses are an excellent example of embodied culture; they easily distinguish herders from farmers. Here a FulBe herder demonstrates one of these characteristic poses in his best clothes before leaving for wedding festivities in another camp.

Category: PROCESS(Top Selection in Category) Title: Harvesting Water Chestnuts. By: Ann Gold
Rajasthan, India. October 2010.


Title: Harvesting Water Chestnuts. By: Ann Gold

Caption: Near the town of Jahazpur in Bhilwara district a family from the Kir (traditionally “boatmen”) community, camps by a pond for several weeks during water chestnut season. They have a government contract for the rights to harvest here; when my friend and I arrive to buy these special seasonal fruits, this girl’s parents dispatch her to gather fresh ones.

Category: PRACTICE   (Top Selection in Category) Title: Wish in the Air. By: Ming Xue
Qinghai TAP, China. 2011.


Title: Wish in the Air. By: Ming Xue

Caption: Tibetan villagers were making offerings to their mountain god, ten days to go before they started to gather in the wheat. They burnt flour, sugar, wine, and cypress branches. They threw out feng-ma (a small piece of paper with buddhist script on it) into the sky, hoping the flying paper to carry their wish of harvest to the god. “Will it rain this year?” “Who knows. But the god would protect us if he is pleased.”

Category: PLACE (Top Selection in Category) Title: Uncertain Horizons in Fiji. By: Matthew Michel Gervais
Teci Village, Yasawa Island, Fiji. February 26, 2011.


Title: Uncertain Horizons in Fiji. By: Matthew Michel Gervais

Caption: At the height of hurricane season in the South Pacific, a break between rains leaves the ocean still over tidal sands at Teci Village, blurring the horizon East towards Viti Levu. A village boy plays with a makeshift boat on the water, just months before he departs the village to start secondary school. The lone member of his senior class, he will follow the many Yasawan villagers now living in Fijian towns or cities abroad. His village was once the largest on the island, but a dwindling population has left local institutions paralyzed, amplifying the incentives for exodus. While government plans for development raise talk of brighter futures, political uncertainty dims such optimism.


Category: PEOPLE Title: Face of Change. By: Drew Gerkey Kamchatka Peninsula, Siberia


Title: Face of Change. By: Drew Gerkey

Caption: Babushka Daria Mulingaut was a well known and respected Koryak healer from Vyvenka, a coastal village on the Kamchatka Peninsula in Northeastern Siberia. When this 2011 photo was taken, she was at least 103 years old, though she often said she was much older. Born to a family of nomadic herders whose reindeer were collectivized during the Soviet era, she was fond of telling how her father traded reindeer meat for Winchester rifles with American whalers. After learning Russian in boarding schools, working in Soviet era collective farms, and surviving the chaos of perestroika, she finally passed on to another world in 2012.


Category: PEOPLE Title: Star Wars Cosplayer. By: Matt Hale. DragonCon, Atlanta, Georgia. United States.


 Title: Star Wars Cosplayer. By: Matt Hale

Caption: DragonCon is an annual pop culture convention or Con held in downtown Atlanta. Its September 3rd, 2011, the Cons 25th anniversary. Over 46,000 attendees are present. Minutes before the DragonCon Parade begins, hundreds of costumed individuals move into formation, arranging themselves by genre. Encircled by a group of Stormtroopers, this young lady, dressed a Princess Amidala from Star Wars: Episode I, poses for other Congoers. They stop, complement her costume, and take photos. The ritual concludes, the photos stop, her posture loosens. Another wave of admirers approach, she shifts into her character. The act is repeated until the parade starts, marking a successful intertextual display.


Category: PEOPLE Title: Steampunk Cosplayer. By: Matt Hale DragonCon, Atlanta, Georgia


Title: Steampunk Cosplayer. By: Matt Hale

Caption: Steampunk is a generic complex reified in various expressive forms: Costume, gesture, literature, art, craft, digital media, etc. The term unites two words, the first indexing the aesthetics and technology of the 19th century, the later, the punk movement of the late 1970s. Steampunks look backwards in time to re-imagine history as it never was and what it might look like. On Sept. 3, 2011, members of the Atlanta steampunk community gathered to participate within the annual DragonCon parade. Moments before the precession began, I met Jeni Hellum and photographed her costume which comprised of a leather corset, medical mask, cylindrical brass backpack, and a mechanical armband.

Category: PEOPLE Title: Afghan Farmers. By: Jesse Karnes Near Route 601, Lashkar Gah district, Helmand, Afghanistan. December 2011.


 Title: Afghan Farmers. By: Jesse Karnes

Caption: Farmers in Helmand struggle to make a living and often turn to narcotic poppy growth to suppliment their income. Poppy cultivation is destructive to the fragile eco system. I asked this man what he thinks will happen for his children when the land is no longer productive and he fell into thought before answering: We just don’t know what will happen.




Category: PEOPLE Title: A Boy Who Goes to Hospital is Never a Man. By: Christopher Morris Eastern Cape, South Africa


Title: A Boy Who Goes to Hospital is Never a Man. By: Christopher Morris

Caption: Two Xhosa boys in the process of becoming men in the Victoria East District of the Eastern Cape, South Africa. Despite its risks, ritual circumcision in the bush is strongly preferred to a hospital procedure in many areas of the Eastern Cape. These two boys were ritually circumcised by a local initiator (or “cutter”) and now reside in a makeshift shelter. As their bodies heal over many weeks, the boys will be educated in the ways of Xhosa manhood.


Category: PEOPLE Title: Undocumented & Unafraid. By: Stephen Pavey Portland, Oregon. May 1, 2012

Title: Undocumented & Unafraid. By: Stephen Pavey

Caption: One of four undocumented youth arrested for this civil disobedience in Portland, Oregon for protesting the DHS Secure Communities policy that is separated families through record numbers of detentions and deportations. One of the undocumented youth arrested explains why she is doing this, “I cannot allow fear to control my life. I am tired of just sitting around and waiting for change. I have decided to become that change and take action. I cannot sit around and watch as the full implementation of Secure Communities in my state continues to criminalize and tear families apart.


Category: PEOPLE Title: Birthing Haiti. By: Bonnie Ruder Jacmel, Haiti. June 2010.

Title: Birthing Haiti. By: Bonnie Ruder

Caption: A seventy-year-old matwon (traditional midwife) holds a baby outside her birth clinic in the mountains surrounding Jacmel, Haiti. She is accompanied by her apprentice and granddaughter, who is also holding a baby delivered at their birth center.


Category: PLACE Title: Returning to Urzulei. By: Tracey Heatherington Sardinian Supramonte. April 2012.

Title: Returning to Urzulei. By: Tracey Heatherington

Caption: Barbara grew up in the town of Urzulei, Sardinia, and often went to the communal territory where her uncle, a herder, kept his animals. She later married a man from the nearby town of Baunei, and has lived there for much of her adult life. Her memories of youth surged to the surface when she accompanied her daughter and son-in-law back to the Urzulei countryside in spring 2012, after 14 years of absence. Delighted by the perfume of rosemary and wild pear blossoms on a cool April day, she immediately set out to explore the landscape she said her feet remembered well, and began collecting firewood for her kitchen stove.


Category: PLACE Title: Mercat de la Boqueria. By: Barry Kass Barcelona, Spain


Title: Mercat de la Boqueria. By: Barry Kass

Caption: The Boqueria market in Barcelona, Spain is an excellent expression of the globalization of human food, with delightful treats from every region of the world artistically displayed for the shoppers.


Category: PLACE Title: Holding On. By: Julie Maldonado Isle de Jean Charles, Louisiana. April 2012.


Title: Holding On. By: Julie Maldonado

Caption: While this native community works to save their land and culture, their homeland is being washed out to sea, taking with it their land, livelihoods, and way of life.



Category: PLACE Title: A Hani Farmer Admires the Rice Terraces of Zuofu. By: Roberto Mesquita Ribeiro Yunnan, China. February 2, 2011.


Title: A Hani Farmer Admires the Rice Terraces of Zuofu. By: Roberto Mesquita Ribeiro

Caption: The Village of Zuofu is affiliated with the Jiayin Township of Honghe County, an area shared between the Hani and the Yi peoples. The Ailao Mountain where the village is situated has an elevation of 1830 meters, with a sub-tropical humid climate that favors the culture or rice using the centennial rice paddies that embellish the mountains. The paddies are also used to raise fish and grow palm trees. One of the major threats to the circa 1,500 villagers is the internal migration fueled by the poverty of these remote areas. Every year, about 600 villagers, generally male, seek temporary work in the surrounding provinces. The Hani people have an average annual income of around 1,500 RMB


Category: PLACE Title: 33 Bridges, Standing, Still, on a Fluid of Emotions. By: Amina Tawasil Esfahan, Iran. November 11, 2010.


Title: 33 Bridges, Standing, Still, on a Fluid of Emotions. By: Amina Tawasil

Caption: Si-o seh pol (33 bridges) has been standing in Esfahan, Iran since 1602. It has recently been deprived of water which used to flow under its arches. Yet, in the evenings, it remains as a site of human interaction, creating and recreating emotions of bonding, meetings between selves which turn a blind eye to what remains as secrets of the heart. 33 bridges stands above a dried-out river but never void of flowing emotions between human beings.



Category: PRACTICE Title: Ethiopia Fieldwork 2. By: Pat Foley 2010


Title: Ethiopia Fieldwork 2.

Caption: A quiet moment after analyzing the seasonality of food sources, income sources, and hazards for disaster contingency planning.

Category: PRACTICE Title: Learning to be a Dancer at Pentecoste Festival. By: Andrea Heckman Ollantaytambo, Peru. 2011.


Title: Learning to be a Dancer at Pentecoste Festival. By: Andrea Heckman

Caption: The festival cycle in Ollantaytambo, Peru is kept alive by the training of new dancers each year and the sponsorship of dance groups called comparsas. The comparsa is sponsored by a carguyoq who helps dancers with costumes, collects food, obtains cooks, and takes full responsibility for the dedication of the dancers to the event. Young dancers like this boy are taught by their mothers and fathers and in doing so, become inducted into the ritual processes. Costumes require care and attention throughout the year, with each sequin and small detail contributing to the mythological story being told.


Category: PRACTICE Title: Tajik man reciting from the Qur’an in Dushanbe. By: Damon Lynch August 4, 2011.


Title: Tajik man reciting from the Qur’an in Dushanbe.

Caption: A Tajik man recites from the Qur’an in Dushanbe’s Central Mosque on August 4, 2011. The Tajik government has a complex and often difficult relationship with Islam. A Tajik for whom Islam is an important dimension of their life might believe that while all governments eventually come and go, Islam will remain. As a centuries-old practice, Qur’an recitation is one way among others for Muslims to embody and become conscious of a long sense of time.


Category: PRACTICE Title: No Future in Sight. By: Matthew Trew Madison, Wisconsin. February 2011.


Title: No Future in Sight. By: Matthew Trew

Caption: In February 2011, over 150,000 protesters surrounded the Wisconsin State Capitol to protest Governor Scott Walker’s controversial Budget Repair Bill, which eliminated public sector workers right to collectively bargain. To demonstrate that Governor Walker was blind to Wisconsins future, protesters ritualistically tied a blindfold around Lady Forward, a statue representing Wisconsins motto  Forward.  In this photo, a blindfolded Lady Forward seems to turn her back on her sister atop the Capitol building, symbolically hinting at the rupture between the state and the protesting masses.

Category: PROCESS
Title: Ethiopia Fieldwork 1.
By: Pat Foley
Borana. 2011.


Title: Ethiopia Fieldwork 1. By: Pat Foley

Caption: Returning the chair to the shop after community leaders discuss drought impact on herds and markets.


Category: PROCESS Title: Starting a New Life. By: Amir Hampel Xiamen, China. August 2010.


Title: Starting a New Life. By: Amir Hampel

Caption: This couple was posing for wedding photographs on romantic Gulangyu Island in Xiamen, whose colonial architecture is visible at the top of this image. They made sure to get some shots in front of this branch of Kentucky Fried Chicken. The chain is extremely popular in cities throughout China. Was this couple attempting to link themselves and their shared future to the new economy through these pictures? Did the photos make it to their album?

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