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I was born in Ethiopia in 1974 and spent an itinerant childhood between Cyprus, Yemen and England. I started taking photographs in high school, inspired partly by distorted media images of the Ethiopian famine. After studying film at Howard University in Washington DC, I began working as a freelance photographer. I use my photos and films to explore my fascination with how much cultural retention is possible without, necessarily, cultural interaction.
This photo was taken in Ethiopia. I used to have a cab driver to take me to lots of interesting places in the capital, Addis Ababa. On this particular day he took me to a gym that was being used by an organization called the Ethiopian Children’s Circus, and the man who ran it was happy for me to take pictures. This is actually him carrying the little girl on the pole. He had a troupe of young children with him, whom he had trained – some of whom I believe had previously been street kids. He would raise money for them by putting on performances in Ethiopia as well as abroad. I took this picture because when most people think about Ethiopia, they never think that there are other realities outside what we see in the media. There are so many other interesting stories that need to be captured.