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Beauty contest

A young woman from the Wodaabe tribe focuses intently on her task as a judge in Niger’s annual Gerewol beauty celebration, in which young men compete for wives, girlfriends and lovers. Exquisitely and demurely adorned in glass-bead necklaces and a fuchsia veil, she wears protective talismans with cowrie shells around her neck and on her forehead. The tattoos on her cheeks enhance the loveliness of her eyes, while those around her lips are to prevent evil entering through her mouth. This image is part of the ‘Brides’ series, exploring the role of women in courtship and marriage across Africa.

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