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Author Topic: Your Thoughts of Ethiopian Photo Projects  (Read 4240 times)
larkvi
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« on: October 21, 2008, 07:12:19 AM »
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Hello All,

I am living in Ethiopia all this year (as a U.S. Fulbright Grantee, working on issues of Ethiopic manuscript culture), and I have been thinking about the photographic projects I am going to approach while I am here. While I already have a few in mind (photographing the festivals of Ethiopia, a longer trip to the Simien Mountains for some Landscape/Nature photography), it occurred to me to ask for your input, as I don't really know what arouses other people's curiosity when they think of Ethiopia.

So, tell me what interests you about Ethiopia, and what you would be interested in seeing. What questions about Ethiopia need a photographic answer for you? What parts of the country and its culture fascinate you?

Are there any photo collections of Ethiopia you are familiar with and think are must-see?

If you are interested to see what I have been doing so far (this year and last Autumn), you may see my Ethiopia gallery on flickr: http://flickr.com/photos/larkvi/sets/72157603451036342/

I also post new photos to my photoblog: weblog.larkvi.com .

Thanks,

-Sean
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jecxz
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« Reply #1 on: October 21, 2008, 07:48:51 AM »
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DarkPenguin
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« Reply #2 on: October 21, 2008, 10:29:38 AM »
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See if you can get in on some raids into Somalia.
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mahleu
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« Reply #3 on: October 21, 2008, 11:01:42 AM »
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There are a number of churches in caves although I can't remember exactly where. THey're still in use I think.
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dalethorn
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« Reply #4 on: October 21, 2008, 04:57:44 PM »
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Ethiopia is one of the few areas with modern name same as ancient name as mentioned prominently in Christian, Jewish, Muslim etc. texts. Should be interesting info there. Haile Selassie(sp?) was/is a controversial African icon, so check into that. Ethiopian runners have figured prominently in marathons and other contests around the world. There may be some climate and altitude factors that contribute to that. In Los Angeles near Beverly Hills an entire Ethiopian community with restaurants has developed, and the culinary angle should be interesting.
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dalethorn
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« Reply #5 on: October 21, 2008, 04:58:36 PM »
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duplicate
« Last Edit: October 21, 2008, 05:00:10 PM by dalethorn » Logged
larkvi
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« Reply #6 on: October 23, 2008, 06:01:18 AM »
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Quote from: mahleu
There are a number of churches in caves although I can't remember exactly where. They're still in use I think.

There are cave churches throughout Tigray and Wollo, with Lalibella and the area North of Mek'ele being especially famous for them, yes. Most are still in use, and I will be visiting several of them in the course of my research.

Dark Penguin:

Unfortunately, my grant, while imposing no freedom of speech or expression, nevertheless limits me from going into current conflict zones, so Somalia, Ogaden, and the Eritrean border (the last most annoying to my research) are currently unavailable locations, as they are closed according to the Regional Security Office.
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BFoto
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« Reply #7 on: October 23, 2008, 12:34:18 PM »
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I think that everyone who remembers the famine that took hold of Ethiopia that was one of the main impetus to the Bob Geldof "Feed the World" project, would like to see how far the country has come, or has not come.

Do they know its Xmas yet?
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dalethorn
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« Reply #8 on: October 23, 2008, 03:28:22 PM »
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Quote from: BFoto
.....famine that took hold of Ethiopia was one of the main impetus to the Bob Geldof "Feed the World" project
Geldof did a pretty good reading of Comfortably Numb on a David Gilmour DVD - should be a clip on Youtube.
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rvanr
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« Reply #9 on: October 24, 2008, 08:22:14 AM »
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Quote from: larkvi
So, tell me what interests you about Ethiopia, and what you would be interested in seeing. What questions about Ethiopia need a photographic answer for you? What parts of the country and its culture fascinate you?

-Sean

I have only been to Addis Abeba (and a weekend trip to a nearby nature reserve) and did not have much time for photography. I do remember being taken to some cafes and bars by a colleague. They were the kind of places Ethiopians go to to: very simply formica tables, one lightbulb from the ceiling, but very 'real' there was a good music scene. I remember one performer in particular, a woman from Tigray (northern region of Ethiopia) singing traditional songs from her native area. She blew me away, I did not understand a word of the songs, but the emotion in her voice was very powerful and moving (nearly had me in tears). The whole atmosphere in these places was special, very different to what I was used to, but welcoming.

If photo journalism is your kind of thing this might be a subject to explore.

Ruud
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larkvi
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« Reply #10 on: October 24, 2008, 08:55:43 AM »
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Quote from: BFoto
I think that everyone who remembers the famine that took hold of Ethiopia that was one of the main impetus to the Bob Geldof "Feed the World" project, would like to see how far the country has come, or has not come.

I have been thinking a lot about doing this--before I began studying the country, I knew 'Prester John' and 'famine' about Ethiopia. Is there any body of work that is particularly associated with the famine, providing a 'before' to the 'after'?

Dale:

I will look for that when I have a little more leisure on a fast connection. (Nice thing about the government grant is the pass to use the fast connection at the Embassy.)

Ruud:

I think this might work nicely as a part of a general concept that I had to just present daily life in Addis. As part of this, I will have to ask one of my Ethiopian friends if they can refer me to such a place (I have mainly seen Ethiopop in performance.)

Thanks for the feedback.
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jjj
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« Reply #11 on: October 24, 2008, 10:40:55 PM »
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Quote from: dalethorn
Ethiopian runners have figured prominently in marathons and other contests around the world. There may be some climate and altitude factors that contribute to that.
There was some reasearch done into sports ability and genetic make up a while back. As people do vary throughout the world, due to climate for instance, so does their specific sporting ability it seems [talking high competiton levels here] and Ethiopians and Kenyans were singled out as being good for marathon runners, Northern Europeans would be better at middle distances, West Africa is better for finding Heavy weight boxers.....
Now as this is an area where people start to see racism, where there isn't actually any, this sort of thing tends to get attacked before people even look at the facts.
Anyway a bit OT.

But I may be doing some photography work in Uganda soon, so may be facing some similar considerations.
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dalethorn
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« Reply #12 on: October 25, 2008, 07:42:05 AM »
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Quote from: jjj
There was some reasearch done into sports ability and genetic make up a while back.....
.....Now as this is an area where people start to see racism.....
Yep - we lost some major personalities in sports broadcasting due to sloppy remarks. My guess is those older folks came from a different era and hadn't gotten acclimated to the new sensitivity. Oops - I may have done the same to age that they did to race....... Then again, those Russian high jumpers in the 1960s could really jump. But seriously, just ignore the factors in the persons - this is about Ethiopia, which is a land, not a race. Runner's World has discussed the virtues of high altitude training for years, and more than one East African locale has been spotlighted for hosting some very successful runners. I'm guessing that some of those would be excellent photographic locales.
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Martin Kristiansen
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« Reply #13 on: October 27, 2008, 09:05:33 AM »
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I think that there is a wealth of material in Ethiopia. What is annoying is all people seem to think of is the famine and deserts. The Ethiopian highlands are both wet and fertile.

What I found fascinating was the faces. The Ethiopians have features quite distinct from the rest of Africa, well that is true for the entire horn. I would love to see some portraits. When in the far north I took a tumble off my bicycle and a very old wrinkled lady dashed over and with concern and gentle hands carefully removed gravel and thorns from my right knee. She had a stunning face with a cross etched deep into her forehead.  There was just the 2 of us in this massive landscape and no shared language. I will never forget it.

Some serious food photography of the very distinctive food would also be great. I sure grew to hate injera.
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larkvi
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« Reply #14 on: October 27, 2008, 11:53:29 AM »
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Quote from: Martin Kristiansen
I think that there is a wealth of material in Ethiopia. What is annoying is all people seem to think of is the famine and deserts. The Ethiopian highlands are both wet and fertile.

What I found fascinating was the faces. The Ethiopians have features quite distinct from the rest of Africa, well that is true for the entire horn. I would love to see some portraits. When in the far north I took a tumble off my bicycle and a very old wrinkled lady dashed over and with concern and gentle hands carefully removed gravel and thorns from my right knee. She had a stunning face with a cross etched deep into her forehead.  There was just the 2 of us in this massive landscape and no shared language. I will never forget it.

Some serious food photography of the very distinctive food would also be great. I sure grew to hate injera.

I totally agree with the first part--I see all these photo sets that make Ethiopia look like it is just the tribal lowlands, when what is really distinctive about the country is the Christian Highlands.

I had noticed that about the faces, but not thought of it as the basis for a set. Originally, having seen several sets of portraits (including the one about a year ago in Lenswork), I was thinking of shying away from them, thinking they might be overdone, but I shall have to go back to it.

I completely sympathize about injeera. The lack of any real flair to lumps of food on a brown bread might make Ethiopian food photography an interesting challenge--I need to take my camera to lunch, apparently.

On the running points above, I was really hung over, and decided not to take my camera on a walk around Addis, when I ran into the parade, carriages, and motorcade of the wedding of the two Olympians (which I had been aware of, but not following the news well enough to know there would be a public part of). Would have made a beautiful photo--the celebrityh wedding of the decade here, it seems. Will inspire me to carry my camera more!

Thanks, as always, for the thoughts and feedback.
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