The day I arrived, in the afternoon, I went out for a walk to start discovering the city. Without even taking the camera out of my bag I walked in circles, not to get lost, around the building were my colleagues Ana and David were working. At this point I realised how difficult photography was going to be in Ethiopia.
Street photography, by its nature, involves more difficulties than other styles, as it is all about portraying ordinary people in an extraordinary way. Unlike other practices the spontaneity is one of the keys, so photographs are never prepared nor there is a consent of the subject to be photographed. Therefore, when you walk in Barcelona, Paris or any other European big city, it is very easy to camouflage in the anonymity that the condition of being a tourist gives you, doing as if you were photographing the city.
Soon I realised that in Ethiopia things were going to be different. There, the main attraction weren’t the postmodernist buildings, but a white foreigner to whom all the glances were directed at. So many times this stranger was called from the bars and sidewalks, with a tone between complicity and joke:
In spite of being in this situation, I carried with me something that we could call “will”, or better “pressure”, of doing a good job, of coming back from Ethiopia with a bunch of good pictures. From the second day on the motivation had to overcome fears and I walked, camera in hand, the streets of Mekele and Wukro, in Aksum or through the desert of Danakil, after the best photographs I could get.