Our first Prints For Prints project was quite the ride! Having only worked with the printers a few times before we left, we were a bit nervous about how we would perform in the field under extreme conditions. And we also did not know how we would work as a group, in Africa.
Soon after we arrived, we met up with my transportation and translator team in Ethiopia and they surprised us by taking us to see a football match between Ethiopia and Nigeria projected on a big screen which was set up in a beautiful park. It was the perfect place for both groups to get to know each other in a spirited setting.
The next morning, we got up early, grabbed our gear, and set out to go to Sheno, Ethiopia, the childhood home of our guide, Dani. His family let us set up the printers in their home so we could make photos and give prints to his extended family and to villagers around the area. It did not take long to get the process up and running, and within a few minutes we cranked out our first print.
It was a beauty!
I also brought prints that I had made before I left from images captured a year before and gave them to the family. It was an honor to spend time in this village and to see how much our prints were appreciated.
Once our process was humming along, we then branched out and made prints in various locations around Addis Ababa and in smaller villages outside of the city, some as far away as Lalibela and Arba Minch.
One other commitment of the Prints For Prints project is to train local students on various aspects of photography, in one-on-one sessions. We were fortunate to be able to coordinate this training with DESTA for Africa and the Nike Foundation’s Girl Hub projects.
It was especially gratifying to watch local students in the workshop take over the printing, and make and donate prints to others that they met on the streets and in compounds.
We printed from any spot we could find, and even sometimes while on the go!
We also loved giving our cameras to the subjects and letting them photograph us. Such fun!
We made prints in places we never imagined, such as on top floors of high rise construction sites, and also in hospitals in remote areas of the Afar region.
I also brought a print for each market worker I had photographed a year ago. We laid the prints out on the ground, and people searched for those they saw in the prints. My Ethiopian friend Habtamu and I gave each worker who arrived a print of themselves and they were really happy to receive it.
Here are two of my finished portraits, created in two scenarios. The first image is Fatuma and her daughter Semed, right outside of their kitchen where they prepare food for a hospital in the Afar region. The second image shows Raya in his place of employment, a construction site in the Bole region of Ethiopia.
There is much to process about this first trip, and I look forward to making a few changes to the process so that we can have an even better experience during the next offering of this service.
Thank you to the community of photographers and other supporters who generously donated their prints, time and ideas to make this project fly!
Joni Kabana, Portland, Oregon, USA
We will soon embark upon our Ethiopia 2013 Prints For Prints project. Today we gathered to do a test run on our printers, and all systems are GO!
Here are the members of the team with links to their websites:
L-R: Heather Binns, Bill Purcell, Constance Spurling, Joni Kabana, Steve Bloch
(Photo by Ben Opsahl)
One thing that has become apparent while traveling anywhere is how precious a photograph print is to a family, especially in the rural areas of Ethiopia. Most families have no record or image of their loved ones, and when we are able to give prints to villagers, it is appreciated beyond measure.
So this November, I will be traveling to Ethiopia with a small team of photographers and we will set up a small portable studio in several villages. We will capture portraits and donate the prints to the families we photograph. In addition, each US photographer will be paired with an Ethiopian photographer so there is an exchange of talents: technical skills, cultural awareness, and love for humanity.
We are planning a fundraiser to help with the costs for this project. The concept is simple: we are calling the fundraiser “Prints For Prints”, and we will auction matted prints from photo-loving friends (both amateur and professional photographers). The prints will be sold at a very reasonable “affordable art” cost ($50-100 sliding scale) during a fun and relaxed party, followed by music by Portland’s very own Ethiopian funk band: The Tezeta Band!
This event will be held on August 8, 2013 starting at 7pm at the Secret Society Ballroom and we hope you will be able to attend.
All ages welcome until 8:30pm, then it is 21+.
Follow me at @jkabana on Instagram during November to see this project in action.
Facebook page: www.facebook.com/PrintsForPrints
See our Website to view all of the prints and the fabulous photographers!