MOVING ETHIOPIA: THE FIRST ADDIS RUMBLE PHOTO CONTEST
This weekend presented the culmination of the First Addis Rumble Photo Contest that took place in May. The contest was an open call for all Ethiopia-based non-professional photographers to interpret the theme MOVING. Out of 62 submitted photos 30 was selected for display at LimeTree Café, and a top-three nominated by a jury consisting of: Fine art-photographer Leikun Nahusenay, artist and photographer Helen Zeru, photographer Yemane Gebremedhin, co-initiator of the contest Morten Hognesen and founder of Addis Rumble Karen Obling. The contest and exhibition was realized with the generous support of the Heinrich Böll Foundation, Friedrich Ebert Stiftung and the LimeTree café in Bole. On Saturday the MOVING ADDIS exhibition and official winner-announcement was announced at the Lime Tree Café in Bole, and the succesful event was celebrated later af the Rumble in Addis After-party at German Bar. On Sunday we looked back at a great day/evening/night, and we couldn’t be much happier with the turn out of the whole thing! We hope to follow up on the succes soon.
The last 20 years photography has experienced resurgence at a global level. And perhaps more than anywhere else the medium has blossomed on the African continent. The number of photographers, photo-schools and photo-initiatives in Africa has increased tremendously as has the amount of digital cameras and camera mobile phones. In the digital era documenting events, experiences, and people is no longer limited to the few professionals with expensive equipment. Today anyone with even the smallest camera can capture and share experiences and images via social media and other platforms. And people do it all the time. All over the world they use photography to express themselves: to document where they are, how they look, what they see, eat, or the like – and share it online.
Photography is also gaining grounds in Ethiopia. The number of professional photographers is increasing, as is the number of amateur-photographers. Social media platforms blossom with photos shot with smart phones or digital cameras, and even in the most far-away corners of the country you can come across a person taking a photo with his or hers camera mobile phone. However, there is still a lack of recognition of photography as art and as serious tool of self-expression in the country. The number one photographic practice in Ethiopia is wedding-photography, but as a visual storyteller, there are so many other stories the medium of photography can tell. One of the main ideas behind the photo contest has thus been to encourage more people to engage in photography and to tell their (moving) stories through whatever camera they have available.
62 non-professional photographers based in Ethiopia took up the challenge and submitted their best shot. The cameras spanned from low-resolution mobile phone camera to digital SLR and the photos portrayed a variety of rural and urban landscapes, personal and public experiences as well as subtle and artistic interpretations of the theme. The 30 photos on display comprise the photos where the jury saw a strong sense of idea, creativity and originality, and where correspondence between title and photo as well as composition and light had been thought through. Some of the best photos on display exemplify how being a photographer is not only about the right equipment, but also about being at the right place and the right time and keeping the eyes open. Photography is about seeing and looking for stories and to be able to capture decisive moments. In the end three photographers ability to see and capture a moving moment became crucial for the jury’s top three selection:
# 1: FITSUM ABEBE GETAHUN
# 2: SENAY TEGENU
# 3: BIRUK HAILE
The jury said: Fitsum Abebe Getahun’s photo captures a current situation in Addis, how the city is changing and developing constantly. The building is moving, like buildings in Addis are moving, growing and changing all the time. And in this photo the truck is actually moving Addis. Not only is the composition of the image excellent but Fitsum’s timing is just perfect.
CONGRATULATIONS TO THE WINNERS AND ALL PARTICIPANTS!
A special thanks goes out to the contest sponsors, all the participants and to Another Africa for sharing the top ten photos with their followers.
The MOVING ETHIOPIA Exhibition will be on display at the Lime Tree café in Bole from May 26 – July 2.