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Where Masks Still Dance: New Guinea

Chris Rainier with essays by Meg Tahylor

9 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0821222619 / ISBN 13: 9780821222614
Published by Bulfinch, 1996
Condition: fine/fine Hardcover
From Midway Book Store (ABAA) (St. Paul, MN, U.S.A.)

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About this Item

Quarto. 132pp. 107 duotone illustrations, map. A fine copy in an equally nice dust jacket. In a mylar protective wrapper. Bookseller Inventory # 42586

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Where Masks Still Dance: New Guinea

Publisher: Bulfinch

Publication Date: 1996

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:fine/fine

Dust Jacket Condition: Dust Jacket Included

Edition: First edition.

About this title


New Guinea is home to more than one thousand aboriginal tribes - each with its own unique language, customs, and folklore that have changed very little in forty thousand years. In eight trips over the last ten years, photographer Chris Rainier has traveled to the island - to both Papua New Guinea and Irian Jaya - to document the lives and rituals of these fascinating peoples in what is the most complete visual study ever made.
The result is Where Masks Still Dance - a stunning photographic expedition that captures the distinctive cultures of these indigenous peoples in page after page of hauntingly beautiful black-and-white images. In short essays throughout the book, Rainier recounts the adventures behind the photographs - from trekking through leech-infested jungles to witnessing a ritualistic tribal war "rehearsal" - and notes the often disastrous influence of modern technology and values on the way of life of these simple, natural peoples.

From Booklist:

There is ethnographic documentation and then there is ethnographic documentation. Rainier is a photographer as artful as any ever born. His photos of the tribal peoples of New Guinea, especially in their ceremonial garb, are as consciously and deliberately beautiful as the photographs of poor Americans by Ben Shahn and Helen Leavitt that they often resemble in composition. Unlike the work of those artists of the Depression era and its aftermath, Rainier's photos are intensely still rather than kinetic, as if consciously posed rather than caught on the fly. Rainier's obsession with detail is as fine lined as any Pre-Raphaelite painter's and as dramatically lit (the range of grays in his monochrome images is richly broad), in those aspects recalling fellow photographer Joel Peter Witkin's pictures of gruesome medical pathology phenomena. Sometimes the masks and body piercings and paintings of his subjects are as disquieting as Witkin's imagery, but only momentarily, for Rainier visibly loves and cherishes the New Guineans and their cultures. Once seen, many of these images may haunt you forever, returning in dreams, welcomely. Ray Olson

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