Women of Vision National Geographic Photographers on Assignment
Vanishing Languages, 2012
Lynn JohnsonLynn Johnson

Vanishing Languages, 2012



Number of speakers 650-1,000

For an article about disappearing indigenous languages, Johnson had to find a way to make the spoken word visible. She looked for cultural or environmental items that would help the reader understand how language is deeply interwoven into a culture and people’s lives. The result was a series of elegant portraits from around the world shot with a square format camera that Johnson describes as a making a “more formal and interpretative frame.”

Here Josué Robles Barnett raises his arms in a traditional Seri greeting. The gesture means “one who strongly greets with joy, peace, and harmony.” In the desert landscape of the Sonora Desert, the Seri used this gesture to indicate no harm intended when approaching a group of people.



Huly 2012 Cover  Read more Vanishing Languages coverage.

Other Photos by Lynn Johnson