Cameras! Books! Supplies! For A Good Cause

I just returned from spending some amazing time with two groups of photography students in Ethiopia and I could not be more excited!

Each student had a different skill set level, but each and every one of them had an incredible eagerness to learn and their love for the craft was so very apparent. Passion abounds in Ethiopia for learning photography!

However, some students did not have access to a camera and had to borrow ours for the day.  I would love to find cameras, lenses, photography books, and other supplies to donate to the new photography school that is being developed by the amazing Aida Muluneh through her DESTA For Africa organization.

Any donations can be sent or dropped off to me and I will ensure that they go directly to the school.

Many thanks for your consideration!


Prints For Prints participant Bill Purcell gives a quick lesson to a student in Bahir Dar, Ethiopia:

Prints For Prints Students


A student gives a print to a shoe shine woman and her baby:

Prints For Prints Students


Aida Muluneh and I, on the first day we met each other:

Aida Muluneh and Joni


Ethiopia: Education & Health Care Support

In rural Ethiopia, a young girl marries early, often by the time she is ten years old.  She often becomes pregnant before having her first period, yet her pelvis is not large enough to give birth.  Many severe maternal health conditions occur in rural Ethiopia; some can be devastating and ostracizing such as fistula. And too often, young girls die during childbirth.

A rural Ethiopian girl’s common purpose is to become pregnant and raise her family.  Over the years, her body will bear the brunt of extreme water and wood gathering pressures as well as childbirth injuries, and she rarely is offered the choice to not have more children. However, it is a great honor to bear a child and nurture it with vigorous focus and determination.

To witness a young woman struggling hard to stay well enough to feed her children here is very disheartening.  A human life is precious, and when I look into each child’s face I encounter – whether found wandering on the streets, or in the arms of a loving mother, or working hard to shepherd a herd of cows – I feel a sense of awe in that they are able to survive at all despite so many obstacles.  And yet, they continuously find reasons to express an easy smile.

According to Partners In Health, nearly 1600 women and more than 10,000 newborns globally die every day from complications of pregnancy or childbirth.  And it is well known by now that statistics indicate that poor education aligns with fertility issues.

As I contemplate the needs of Ethiopia in particular, I think of several priorities right away: educating young girls, establishing reproductive and health awareness, getting more doctors and midwives to be willing to train and work in rural areas, building more rural hospitals, obtaining sources for clean water, and developing better transportation options for those who are ill.

It can be overwhelming to see so many problems intertwined and having a domino effect upon each other. People frequently ask me why I become involved with such difficult and seemingly dire conditions.  When I take the time to think about this, the thought of new spring growth comes into my mind. Is the crocus intimidated by the cold, hard, winter packed earth?  No, the fragile flower transforms into new life by slowly pushing a tiny bit of dirt away at a time in order to make its way to its fullest expression.  How does that flower break through the heavy earth?

Perhaps this is how we can all work together to help a young girl in Ethiopia: one small gesture at a time. Ethiopians teach this lesson every day as they move forward navigating one obstacle after another, one small step at a time, consistently focusing on solutions rather than the issue they face.

Please join us during our time in Ethiopia by reading about the forthcoming stories we will encounter during our extended stay.  We will be visiting schools, hospitals and programs where devoted support has been established for many young girls and women in rural Ethiopia.

We welcome your comments and ideas.  Together, one small gesture at a time, we can work toward effective solutions.

Speed Graphic Rocks My World!

I am hyperventilating here.  Just got the scans from the images I took with my 4X5 really old Speed Graphic camera while at the Burnside Skatepark.  The camera works!  The camera ROCKS!

Stay tuned for an upcoming workshop, using vintage cameras on the streets.





(Photo of Quinton Gordon and I taken on the day these images were shot is by the fab photographer Michael Schoenholtz)

Skateboarders With A Hasselblad in Paris

While in Paris last week, I wanted to photograph something different than the usual fare. I found a group of skateboarders doing tricks outside on the plaza in front of a museum.  I had full intentions of simply photographing them, then an idea struck me to give them the Hasselblad and let them create images with it.

I loved their enthusiasm for the film camera! After racing past me and defiantly jumping stairs, doing flips, flirting with danger at high speeds, they stopped and were in awe of the slow shutter feel of a film camera. In this video, Mikael takes his time to align the frame, and even worry a bit about his movement while releasing the shutter.

In our day of rapid digital capture and competing distractions, the seduction of a slow film camera still exists. I plan to teach a workshop using vintage cameras in the near future.  I see a thirst in young minds for this type of camera.

Phantom Of The Opera

I love using the Canon G11 to film things that I see along life’s interesting road.  Here is the lovely Poison Waters in Phantom of the Opera, filmed at Darcelle’s in Portland, Oregon.

Video is here. (Quality is not as good as the video I shot of Jack White in Dead Weather…not sure what happened on the upload to YouTube.)

Still image:

Goodbye Camera

I just received a beautiful photo from a far away land, sent by the person who bought one of my Canon 5Ds. It is like I gave it up for adoption, and now it gets to see things I will never see. I’m very happy about it all…but then, I feel a tiny tug of heart since it was my constant companion for many years.

I wish it the best, and I am thrilled to see what it can do when cherished in the arms of another. I never pointed it toward a landscape, and could not capture something such as this.

My shiny new camera sits near me, all awkward like a new lover.

maui sunset by

The above photo was taken by Drew Burdick.  He sent this poem to me, along with the photo:

aloha, rhythm:
the heartbeat
of an ocean.
headlights on the breeze,
found beneath
this single tree:
mahalo, love.

Copyright 2018 Joni Kabana. All rights reserved. Site by TD