No Strangers: Ancient Wisdom in a Modern World
Saturday, November 17th, 2012 to Sunday, February 24th, 2013

The Annenberg Space for Photography is pleased to announce its next exhibit – no strangers: ancient wisdom in a modern world, a group show about the wonder of culture and the plight of indigenous people throughout the world.  The exhibit is guest curated by esteemed anthropologist, author and photographer Wade Davis.  

no strangers explores the ways cultures express a shared humanity and navigate the circle of life.  It poses a fundamental question: What does it mean to be human and alive?  When the people of the world answer this question, they do so in 7,000 unique voices.  Tragically, half of these may be silenced within a generation or two.  At risk is our human legacy, a vast archive of knowledge and expertise. 

© Steve McCurry

Photographers featured in the exhibit are Carol Beckwith & Angela Fisher, Wade Davis, Chris Johns, Lynn Johnson, Steve McCurry, Randy Olson, Chris Rainier and Hamid Sardar.  Also included are Timothy Allen, Caroline Bennett, James P. Blair, Edward Burtynsky, David Hiser, Aaron Huey, Thomas Kelly, Mauricio Lima, William Fernando Martinez, James Stanfield, Brent Stirton, Amy Toensing, Jeroen Toirkens, A Yin and Gordon Wiltsie.

The exhibit will feature an original short documentary produced by Arclight Productions for the Annenberg Space for Photography.  Filmed in many locations, from Washington, DC to British Columbia, Canada to London to Mongolia, the documentary will feature additional photographs, interviews and behind the scenes footage with exhibit photographers, indigenous people and experts.  The film will examine indigenous cultures through photography’s lens and encourage viewers to consider ancient traditions in a new context.

The themes explored in the exhibit include: The Circle of Life, Our Shared Origins, Ancient Wisdom, Sacred Geography, Endangered, Globalization, Ritual & Passages, Beauty, Quest for Spirit and Joy of Culture.

Exhibit images present cultures such as the Tibetan Buddhists of Nepal and their 2,500-year-old traditions; the last rainforest nomads who struggle to survive in Borneo; Ethiopian tribes who participate in bull-jumping as a ritual of tribal membership and manhood; and the Lakota in South Dakota who continue their spiritual ceremonies such as Sun Dances and the use of sweat lodges.  no strangers celebrates our diverse and sometimes unfamiliar world.

The Photography Space's successful IRIS Nights lecture series will continue to offer free presentations featuring photographers and guest artists who document rare and indigenous cultures.

The Annenberg Space for Photography will publish an exhibit catalogue showcasing the work of these 24 photographers and their images of rare and distinctive cultures.  Also offered for purchase will be a seminal book on body painting and adornment by photographers of African culture, Carol Beckwith and Angela Fisher, Painted Bodies: African Body Painting, Tattoos, and Scarification, Rizzoli, September 2012.  The public will also be able to purchase no strangers street banners from a selection of four stunning images by renowned photographers who have travelled the world.  Proceeds from merchandise will be used for the Annenberg Space for Photography, which is free to the community.

This exhibit opens to the public in Los Angeles on November 17, 2012 and runs through February 24, 2013.

Carol Beckwith and Angela Fisher

35 years ago American-born Carol Beckwith and Australian Angela Fisher met in Kenya and began a relationship with the African continent, journeying over 270,000 miles, through 40 countries and recording 150 African cultures.

35 years ago American-born Carol Beckwith and Australian Angela Fisher met in Kenya and began a relationship with the African continent, journeying over 270,000 miles, through 40 countries and recording 150 African cultures.

The two photographers have produced 15 acclaimed books. Their latest book, Painted Bodies: African Body Painting, Tattoos and Scarification, is a pan-African study of the art of body painting and adornment which are used to attract the opposite sex, establish tribal identity, and access the power of the spirit world.

Say Beckwith and Fisher: "We feel privileged to photograph these cultures that possess a wealth of knowledge that should be celebrated, shared, and honored. It is our life passion to document and create a powerful visual record of these vanishing ways of life for future generations."

Wade Davis

An Explorer-in-Residence at the National Geographic Society, Wade Davis has been described as “a rare combination of scientist, scholar, poet and passionate defender of all of life’s diversity.”

An Explorer-in-Residence at the National Geographic Society, Wade Davis has been described as “a rare combination of scientist, scholar, poet and passionate defender of all of life’s diversity.”

An ethnographer, writer, photographer and filmmaker, he holds degrees in anthropology and biology and received his Ph.D. in ethnobotany, all from Harvard University. Mostly through the Harvard Botanical Museum, he spent over three years in the Amazon and Andes as a plant explorer, living among 15 indigenous groups in eight Latin American nations while making some 6,000 botanical collections. His work later took him to Haiti to investigate folk preparations implicated in the creation of zombies, an assignment that led to his writing The Serpent and the Rainbow, an international best-seller later released as a film by Universal Pictures.

Davis is the author of 200 scientific and popular articles and 17 books. His many film credits include Light at the Edge of the World, an eight-hour documentary series written and produced for the National Geographic. In 2009 he received the Gold Medal from the Royal Canadian Geographical Society for his contributions to anthropology and conservation, and he is the 2011 recipient of the Explorers Medal, the highest award of the Explorers’ Club, and the 2012 David Fairchild Medal for Plant Exploration, the most prestigious prize for botanical exploration.

Hamid Sardar-Afkhami

Hamid Sardar-Afkhami is a writer, photographer and award-winning filmmaker based in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia and Paris, France. He is a scholar and explorer who earned his Ph.D. degree in Sanskrit & Tibetan Studies at Harvard University. He participated in the National Geographic expedition that discovered the hidden falls of the Tsangpo River in Tibet.

Hamid Sardar-Afkhami is a writer, photographer and award-winning filmmaker based in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia and Paris, France. He is a scholar and explorer who earned his Ph.D. degree in Sanskrit & Tibetan Studies at Harvard University. He participated in the National Geographic expedition that discovered the hidden falls of the Tsangpo River in Tibet. 

Most recently he has dedicated his time to the exploration of Mongolia and has brought awareness to the plight of the country's various nomadic traditions through his award winning photography and films. His images have appeared in prestigious publications such as National Geographic Adventure, Le Figaro and Paris Match. His documentary film The Reindeer People was awarded the prize for the Best Film on Culture at the Banff Mountain Film Festival in Canada. Sardar-Afkhami's recent photographic project takes him to Burma where he aims to document and preserve a record of her tribal peoples.

Chris Johns

As Editor-in-Chief of National Geographic magazine, Chris Johns is currently leading the magazine's transformation into digital publishing, overseeing the both the print edition of the publication and the award-winning digital version with a focus on telling memorable stories in unforgettable ways.

As editor in chief of National Geographic magazine, Chris Johns is leading the magazine's transformation into digital publishing, overseeing both the print edition of the magazine and the award-winning digital version with a focus on telling memorable stories in unforgettable ways.  Under his leadership, the magazine has won numerous accolades, including 15 National Magazine Awards. In 2008, Johns was named Editor of the Year by Advertising Magazine. Before becoming Editor-in-Chief, he was a field photographer for more than 20 years. Johns photographed more than 20 articles for National Geographic and produced books on the Hawaii Islands, Africa's Rift Valley and wildlife issues in southern Africa.

Lynn Johnson

Photojournalist Lynn Johnson is known for her intense and sensitive work photographing the global human condition over the past 35 years.  As a regular contributor to publications such as National Geographic and various foundations, Johnson has documented celebrities and tragedies alike, bringing a subtle perspective to tough issues—the scourge of landmines, the value of threatened languages, the daily challenge of gathering water for women in Africa, rape in the military and the global danger of zoonotic disease.

Photojournalist Lynn Johnson is known for her intense and sensitive work photographing the global human condition over the past 35 years.  As a regular contributor to publications such as National Geographic and various foundations, Johnson has documented celebrities and tragedies alike, bringing a subtle perspective to tough issues—the scourge of landmines, the value of threatened languages, the daily challenge of gathering water for women in Africa, rape in the military and the global danger of zoonotic disease.

Her Master’s thesis as a Knight Fellow at Ohio University, Hate Kills, illuminates the impact of hate crimes on American society. She is also a frequent educator with National Geographic’s Photo Camps, using photography to help at-risk youth around the world to develop their own voices.

Steve McCurry

For over 30 years, Steve McCurry has been a one of the most iconic voices in contemporary photography, with scores of magazine & book covers, over a dozen books and numerous exhibitions around the world to his name. Born in a suburb of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, McCurry studied film at Pennsylvania State University before working for a local newspaper.

For over 30 years, Steve McCurry has been a one of the most iconic voices in contemporary photography, with scores of magazine & book covers, over a dozen books and numerous exhibitions around the world to his name. Born in a suburb of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, McCurry studied film at Pennsylvania State University before working for a local newspaper.

McCurry has created stunning images on over six continents and countless countries. His work spans conflicts, vanishing cultures, ancient traditions and contemporary culture alike, yet always retains the human element that made his celebrated image of the Afghan Girl such a powerful image. He has been recognized with some of the most prestigious awards in the industry, including the Robert Capa Gold Medal, National Press Photographers Award and an unprecedented four first prize awards from the World Press Photo contest.

McCurry has published books including The Imperial Way, Monsoon, Portraits, South Southeast, Sanctuary, The Path to Buddha: A Tibetan Pilgrimage, Steve McCurry, Looking East, In the Shadow of Mountains, The Unguarded Moment, and The Iconic Photographs.

Randy Olson

Photojournalist Randy Olson often works with his wife, Melissa Farlow. Together their work has taken them to 50 countries over the past 20 years. Their images have been  published in Life, Geo, Smithsonian and other magazines though they have primarily worked on projects for the National Geographic Society.

Photojournalist Randy Olson often works with his wife, Melissa Farlow. Together their work has taken them to 50 countries over the past 20 years. Their images have been  published in Life, Geo, Smithsonian and other magazines though they have primarily worked on projects for the National Geographic Society.

They normally work individually, but have co-produced National Geographic magazine stories on northern California, American national parks, and the Alps. They photographed the southern United States for a book by Collins Publishing and have collaborated on over 70 books by various publishers. Randy’s 29 National Geographic magazine projects have taken him to almost every continent. Olson was the 2003 Magazine Photographer of the Year in the Pictures of the Year International (POYi) competition and was also awarded POYi’s 1992 Newspaper Photographer of the Year—one of only two photographers to win in both media in the largest photojournalism contest operating continuously since World War II.

 As the economics of print dwindles they support their documentary addiction by doing advertising campaigns and corporate work.  Randy photographed the 2008 Toyota Land Cruiser campaign in the Yukon and Australia.  They have done ad work for Becton Dickinson, HSBC Bank, Audi, Northrup Grumman and others so they can continue personal projects. They live in Pennsylvania and Oregon.

Chris Rainier

Chris Rainier is a National Geographic Society Fellow who has spent his career passionately documenting endangered cultures and traditional language loss. Born into a South African family he lived in Canada, Australia, Europe, the United States and Africa.

Chris Rainier is a National Geographic Society Fellow who has spent his career passionately documenting endangered cultures and traditional language loss. Born into a South African family he lived in Canada, Australia, Europe, the United States and Africa.

Rainier's career began when he was asked to be Ansel Adams last photographic assistant in the early 1980s soon after graduating from photography school in California. He began a with a mission to use his photography to document, preserve and empower traditional cultures around the globe which are under threat.

As apart of his passion to document culture and all of their complex issues of survival - he worked as a Time Magazine War photographer in the 1990’s covering: Somalia, Sudan, the siege of Sarajevo/Bosnia, Rwanda, Cambodia, September 11th, and the South East Asian Tsunami in 2004.

He has won numerous awards for his documentation of traditional cultures (including the Lowell Thomas Award given by the Explorers Club for his efforts on cultural preservation) and recently has been elected a Fellow of the Royal Geographic Society of Great Britain. His books and photographs have been added to numerous permanent collections of Museums around the world.