Most say Photography is all about capturing the moment, and others get on that and ask, “what about living the moment?” For those same people consider, while Photographers are busy capturing moments, they fail to actually live through them.
At the 4th Addis Foto Fest, we got the answer to that question. Going through all the pictures by 134 photographers from 40 countries, multiple collections and workshops, we were awed at every stop. Frame after frame. The diversity was one thing and the volume another. The partakers had their own stance, impulse, moniker and hue of their own through their works, and of course they all were telling a story. None of the photographs were just portraits taken in a spur of a moment, the onlooker could tell the one behind the lenses had to first be at ease with each acts, observe, move along, and wait before actually capturing that exact moment framed up the walls. Which is to mean, not only we were able to see the end but also the journey each made before their reach. It is obvious it took a lot of patience and persistency throughout the whole process. And so we were bound to say, no, not only did theses photographers capture those moments, but they also lived every act within their works. Partition after partition, realm after realm, the message they were all trying to pass was unblemished, we were able to see the sentimentality through their works without having to speak to them.
Roving about, we were able to speak with Aida Muluneh, The founder of DFA, and she told us some of the participants were new to the show though what they presented was much more experienced. The pieces were poles apart telling on the partakers’ backgrounds and extents they strive to attain.
They all tried to show their cultural marque, bygone protagonists, childhood epochs, the dawned streets, habits, and even feelings. Regardless the different age lines of the participants’ discernments, they all brought their views to some same ground of our realm. Where by the last picture of the last partition, the onlookers would say they saw humanity, life span of regular days, time in motion and frozen, and eras we were passed on to and times we preserve to pass.
The Addis Foto Fest showcase was themed throughout the days, from the opening ceremony at Sheraton Addis, to a Conference at Mariot, “ At Work workshop” at Dinq Gallery, a live performance and exhibition at Fendika where Aron Simeneh’s recent photographic series through the various dances in Ethiopia was exhibited. The series caught allays of each movement of dancers in traditional dress from many different ethnic groups was well as the inaugural Addis Foto Fest Awards ceremony.
Following are the winners and honorees of the award:
1st place: Tshepiso Mazibuko from South Africa
2nd place: Aron Simeneh from Ethiopia
3rd place: Francis Kokoroko from Ghana
1. Kibuuka Mukisa Oscar, Uganda
2.Tarekegn Tesfaye, Ethiopia
3.Nader Adem, Ethiopia
Meet some of the vigorous personalities behind the enthralling images and their headway into becoming the next astounding photographers.
Abduselam Ademnur, currently studies at Mekelle University in the field of Architecture as BSc and Developmental Studies as MSc program. He is an amateur student in photography and painting. However, he understands that it is the story the pictures convey that truly moves the audience. Art has been a source of positivity for Abduselam’s soul. It is not easy for him to see something that is untold and pass by as if he never witnessed it. Reality should be told and discussed. He believes that all of us need a shunt to distract our souls from the turmoil with which we are engaged. For Abduselam, there is nothing that speaks louder than vivid pictures.
Abiy Solomon’s passion for exploring how the world views itself as well as how the physical informs the emotional inspired him to become a photographer. This passion for expression drove him to master other forms of communicating beauty including graphic design, brand identity and visual effects. In 2008, Abiy founded Orangeswitch, a creative agency that has built a depth of experience in branding and communications design across the public and private sectors. His motivation to understand markets comes from the insight he shows as a photographer—that it is only when we understand how we view ourselves and how we are motivated by our emotions that one can build real relationships.
Aron Simeneh is a young photographer based in Addis Ababa who developed his love for photography at an early age. His passion for documenting music concerts and festivals is what initially pushed him to this field. Aron has a great eye for concert photography and has been at the forefront of the biggest music concerts and festivals for the past three years bringing moments to life through his shoots. His other passions are documentary and portrait photography. There are so many untold stories around him, and he believes has the capacity and responsibility to give such stories their much deserved attention by documenting them. Under the mentorship of Aida Muluneh, Aron had the chance to show his work in Brookyln’s Photoville and in the Bamako Biennale.
Eyoel Mamo began photography five years ago by studying photography at a local college. Following his enthusiastic passion, Eyoel has assisted, collaborated and undertaken several photography projects in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Eyoel is especially interested in acrobatic, wedding, fashion and portrait photography. His current personal projects address the vast social life in Addis Ababa.
Geremew Tigabu was born in Gonder in 1988 and graduated from Addis Ababa University in Procurement and Supplies Management in 2008. He has been working as a marketing professional for almost five years. Geremew has been interested in photography since childhood. He was always the one to take pictures on holidays, birthdays and special events in the family. In the past three or four years, he has grown even fonder of photography. He loves photography because it allows him to express himself to the fullest. He sees different perspectives of the world through the lens. Most importantly he loves people and there is no better way to tell human stories than through photography.
Luna is a fourth year Architecture student. She loves and is passionate about art and anything to do with creating, helping and inspiring. She enjoys going to church, photography, reading, voluntary work, music and writing/blogging. Luna teaches introduction to photography to kids from ages 6 and above at summer camp. She is a member of two community development groups and two photography related assemblies. She also works in a network marketing company. Luna has a community-based page on Facebook named ‘Spirit of Addis’, that she uses to showcase her work and express herself.
Misak Workeneh is a 28 year-old semi-professional photographer from Ethiopia who discovered photography by coincidence. After completing his undergraduate degree in legal studies, a relative gave him a Canon D5100 camera as a graduation present. The fact that a picture taken at the right time and place can become a work of art fascinated him.
Misak came across street photography online with the works of photographers such as Chris Weeks and Henri Cartier-Bresson. He realized that photography can be done outside of sophisticated studios in a pure and simple manner, full of emotion and meaning. Recognizing this as a calling more suited to his personality he decided to dedicate himself to it.
Born in Saudi Arabia in 1984, Nader Adem, lives and works in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Nader’s first encounter with the world of photography was at a World Press Photo exhibition in 2003. It exposed him to the compelling power that photographs had to reflect the myriad realities of the world around him. Deaf by birth, Adem has used photography as a form of self-expression, using it to present his view on issues that are close to his heart. He seeks opportunities to enhance his knowledge and skills, while challenging himself to think outside of the box. His subject choices vary, although he feels more engaged when working on documentaries, landscapes and portraits, he draws inspiration from everyday life.
Tarekegn Tesfaye was born and raised in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. He stays busy working at Desta For Africa Creative
Consulting PLC and working as an IT Technician at St. Mary University. Tarekegn became fascinated with photography through his years of experience with images as a graphic designer.He enjoys spending his free time doing street photography as well as taking portraits. Tarekegn has been developing his skill in photography for the past three years.
Tedos Teffers is a soulful explorer of life and a junior creative director by profession. Through his photographers he invites others to walk with him.
Since the age of six, Tedos has viewed photography as the pursuit of capturing moments that would otherwise flee away. There are moments that excite him in a beautiful way, inspire him by simply being plain, or moments that cause sadness in a reflective way. For the onlooker, Tedos’ photography is meant to be bottled expressions; they can be opened up in whichever way makes sense, but true value can only be found if the onlooker finds the picture looking back at them.
Samuel Habtab, born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, graduated with a degree in Graphic Design from Image Graphic School. As a founding member of the Ethiopian Photographers Association, Samuel participated in the 2011 Art and Photography Associations exhibition at the National Museum with the Ministry of Culture and Tourism.
Samuel currently works as a freelance photographer; he was formerly a staff photographer at Addis Fortune Newspaper. In 2012 Samuel showed his works at a solo photography exhibition at TOMOCA Gallery. He also received the Excellence in Journalism award by the Foreign Correspondent. In 2012 and 2014 Samuel’s work was exhibited at the Addis Foto Fest.
Yafet Daniel is an aspiring 25-year-old photographer and a degree student of media education. He started photography as a passion with his smart phone but the talent inside of him grew which led him to start capturing the vibrant city life of Addis Ababa. Yafet believes that photography has the power to communicate and transmit the moments of his generation.