For over three decades, Tommy Hafalla documented the life and rituals of the ethnolinguistic groups that occupy the Philippine Cordillera. Originally trained as an airplane mechanic, Hafalla volunteered on medical missions to the most isolated areas, where he was introduced to the people and their rituals. The scarcity of film and processing chemicals in the mountains made the photographer resourceful in his alchemy, using x-ray developers sourced from hospitals as well as home concocted formularies for his developer, stop and fix.
Hafalla’s photographs document the indigenous responding to modernity. Recognising that tradition is alive, creative, adaptive, and constantly shifting, his practice is to go back to the ili time and again to photograph the same ritual unfolding in its many iterations. Many of the rituals documented are not open to the public.
Published by MAPA Books.
‘Nothing escaped Victoria’s eye for detail. She has a natural feel for book design through her extensive experience.’
The design for ILI was based around the form of the letters. The grid lines from the typography build the book’s internal grid.
The gold illustration on the back of the book is from an indigenously crafted necklace given to the publisher by TommyHafalla, and which she wore throughout the project.