By CRYSTAL CHUNG @crystalkchung

INCREDIBLE pictures of the lost world of the Omo Valley tribes allow a glimpse into one of the most remote and beautiful parts of the world

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The Mursi Tribe are famous for their traditions including the insertion of plates of clay in the
 lower lip and in the lobes of women

But beneath the surface, growing tourism is having a ‘negative impact' on these relatively untouched tribal communities and the 200,000 people that belong to them.

Rumi said: “In a world that has become increasingly globalised I wanted to travel to this remote area of Africa before modernisation completely changed the life of these ancient tribes"

Over the past few years, traditional tribal life in the Omo Valley, Ethiopia, is claimed to have been threatened by modern developments.

A member of the Karo Tribe sits along the banks of the Omo River in the South of Ethiopia

This breathtaking series of images by photographer Massimo Rumi capture a traditional way of life during a time of change.

The cultural heritage of Ethiopia’s Omo Valley has, until recently, been relatively untouched by globalisation however nowadays dressing up for visitors has become normalised

Italian-born Massimo said: “As any photographer I was drawn to the Omo Valley not by its landscape, but by the people who live in this area, the ochre-skinned Hamer, the lip-plated Mursi, the painted Karo, and the beautifully decorated Daasanach women.

Two children of the Karo Tribe play without any clothes on at the banks of the Omo Valley

“In a world that has become increasingly globalised I wanted to travel to this remote area of Africa before modernisation completely changed the life of these ancient tribes.”

Massimo said: “My biggest disappointment was to learn about the negative impact tourism is having on their behaviour, and considering that Ethiopia was recently nominated tourist destination of the year, this change can only get worse with time"

The cultural heritage of Ethiopia’s Omo Valley has, until recently, been relatively untouched by globalisation however nowadays dressing up for visitors has become normalised.

A member of the Daasanach tribe in their village along the shores of Lake Turkana

Massimo said: “My biggest disappointment was to learn about the negative impact tourism is having on their behaviour, and considering that Ethiopia was recently nominated tourist destination of the year, this change can only get worse with time.

Massimo said: "I had to pay for every single shot and very few were the opportunities for me to capture candid moments in their daily life"

“Every time I was approaching a tribe village I had to negotiate a fee with the chief village for taking pictures or sometimes I had to pay the people that I wanted to photograph directly. I felt as if I was casting for a fashion shoot.

A Hamar Tribesmen comes of age by leaping over a line of cattle

“In the pursuit of photo-money women were piling pots, horns and flowers on their heads. Children were posing like experienced models and were offering body paint and dancing acts. I had to pay for every single shot and very few were the opportunities for me to capture candid moments in their daily life.”

A family pose for Rumi whilst wearing their traditional clothing and accessories
As part of the ceremony the men of the Hamar Tribe prepare by painting each others faces

During Massimo’s time travelling around Ethiopia from October to November 2015, he captured images of Hammer, Daasanach, Karo and Mursi tribes. Other images show the fortunate moment Rumi was able to witness a ceremonial Bull Jumping event.

Massimo said: "Ethiopia is a safe country rich in history and well worth visiting before mass tourism will completely impacts the authenticity of the place”

Massimo said: “When a man of the Hamar Tribe comes of age he has to leap over a line of cattle. This ceremony qualifies him to marry, own cattle and have children. The timing of the ceremony is decided by the man’s parents and usually happens after the harvest.”

Italian-born Rumi said: “As any photographer I was drawn to the Omo Valley not by its landscape, but by the people who live in this area"

“I felt incredibly lucky to come across this authentic ritual. Ethiopia is a safe country rich in history and well worth visiting before mass tourism will completely impact the authenticity of the place.

Professional photographer, Massimo Rumi, poses with a group of children from the Hamar Tribe

“They don’t dress in T-shirts and Nike shoes and get changed as soon as tourist arrive, it is not like that yet. The clothes they wear are authentic and the rituals and way of living is still authentic, but the tourist dollar is quickly becoming their way of life.”