Margaret Street Gallery

Margaret Street Gallery ( is pleased to announce the launch of Costume and Conflict , a photographic exhibition by Jim Naughten, on 5 March 2013.

Costume and Conflict features Jim Naughten’s extraordinary colour portraits of the Herero tribe in Namibia. Photographed in the blazing Namibian desert, the Herero tribe members are adorned in Victorian era dresses and paramilitary costumes that hark back to the region’s German colonization.

At the end of the 1800s, German missionaries sought to convert the Herero tribe, clothing them in the current European fashions. The Hereros adopted this dress, and over time it became a proud tribal tradition. Regional variations of the costume emerged, with some women adopting “cow horn” headdresses, reflecting the importance of their cattle.

In 1904, war broke out in Namibia between the German colonizers and the local tribes. The Herero people were nearly decimated, having lost approximately eighty percent of its population. The Herero men took great pride in wearing the uniforms of German soldiers they had killed in battle. Paradoxically, to this day, the Herero people continue to wear the German uniforms and Victorian dresses to honour their warrior ancestors.

Costume and Conflict is comprised of twelve of Naughten’s stunning portraits and two of his large processional panoramics. The subjects have been photographed against the stark, searing Namibian landscape, highlighting the Herero’s colourful costumes and their intense expressions.

Jim Naughten has had eight solo exhibitions across the US, UK, Switzerland, and Italy, including a solo show at the Imperial War Museum. His work was also included in the Royal Academy’s Summer Show in 2012. Naughten has received several photographic awards including numerous AOP awards, a D&AD; Yellow Pencil, and he received a commendation from The National Portrait Gallery’s Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize.

Naughten’s book of this work, Costume and Conflict: The Herero Tribe of Namibia, was published on 18 February by Merrell Publishers.

Costume and Conflict will be showing at the Margaret Street Gallery until the 13th of April. Margaret Street Gallery is an independent gallery founded in April 2012. In the heart of Fitzrovia, central London, the gallery specialises in the photographic and moving image. Dedicated to all forms of the medium, Margaret Street Gallery aims to offers thought-provoking and diverse exhibitions.