On exhibit at the Shirlington Branch Library, May 1 - 28, 2019.
This series of photographs was taken in the Ethiopian Highlands.
Most of my early work, shooting in black and white film, was documentary, focusing on the people and street scenes in my hometown, New York City. For example, I completed a major project on the homeless who spent their nights in a church on Park Avenue, where, over a period of years, I came to know the nightly inhabitants. I also did a photo series on Coney Island, where locals ranged from old and grizzled chess players to young working-class parents with their kids. In these projects, I tried to capture the timelessness of the places and the warmth of its inhabitants.
After moving to DC, I switched to digital photography, and much of my focus shifted from documentary towards fine art. Fine art photography allows me to capture details of a subject from a more abstract perspective, and reveal a world that usually goes undetected as life rushes by.
Whereas my focus continues to be mostly on more abstract subjects, I recently had the opportunity to travel to several small villages in the Ethiopian Highlands and briefly return to my documentary photographic roots. Although the culture and environment were completely foreign to me, I was once again enthralled with the timelessness of the landscape and the warmth of the inhabitants. I connected with people living as they had for hundreds of years, working in villages that had changed little for generations. For me personally, the parallels between the quintessentially urban New York City environments and the open, rural villages of Ethiopia represent a striking reminder that, despite differences among people and cultures, we are all fundamentally the same.
In this photo essay of the Ethiopian Highlands, I hope the viewer feels the warmth, hope and humanity that I felt among the people, and within an environment, that were totally foreign to me yet unmistakably reminiscent of my New York City childhood home.