4: Landscape Identities

Michael Tsegaye Rough Notes

Michael Tsegaye, Ethiopia,  portfolio website

Born in 1975, Michael Tsegaye lives and works in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. He received his diploma in painting from Addis Ababa University’s School of Fine Arts and Design in 2002, but soon gave up painting after he developed an allergy to oil paint. He subsequently found his real passion in photography and has made of it not only a profession, but a way of expressing a very particular voice.

“As a photographer I try as much as possible to escape being pigeonholed. I place myself among my peers (photographers and painters) across the world. While the spirit of my culture — its traditions in music, poetry and literature — informs my photography, my goal is that of any artist: to understand my life and standpoint in the 21st century, and express these through art.”

Future memories chronicles the urbanization of various neighborhoods in Addis Ababa.

Chasms of the soul  images are of gravestones in Ethiopia. When a person dies, his or her relatives place a photograph onto the tombstone and also inscribe a short history of the deceased. Thinking about the family’s photographs, and the idea of memorials and loss, I am struck by the personal sense of damage that these images—and the air that falls about them—evoke. As a result of time, those buried continue to experience a second death: the gradual deterioration of their entombed identity.

Ethiopia at work 10 years ago it was said that it took a full day for the average farmer to walk to the closest road. This prevented farmers from communicating with neighbours or engaging in independent small-scale market activity with each other. But in the Wollo region of Ethiopia, I came across a new market that was created by the building of a road that was still under construction. (2008)

Working Girls ll Commercial sex workers who live in Sebategna, a busy neighborhood in Addis Abeba close to the central bus station and Merkato (the largest open-air market in Africa). (2009) Black and White chiaroscuro.

North Road  Impressions of northern Ethiopia along the road that leads from Addis Abeba to Wello, Tigrai, Gonder, and Gojjam. (2008) Full saturated colour.

Ankober (2007) Misty atmospheric Black and White

Arenguade (2011) Semi-abstract patchwork images of Ethiopian fields taken from a plane. Colour.

Afar (2011) Erta Ale active volcano in Eastern Ethiopia Danakil depression. Black and white textures and rock formations.