Joy

Just six years ago, I had never even stepped foot off of the American continent. Then, out of the blue, my big sister called me and said, "let's go to Ethiopia." I knew absolutely nothing about Ethiopia, but it sounded like a great adventure, so I agreed to go. Little did I know Ethiopia is one of the best places on earth for photography. The landscapes are breathtaking, but the Ethiopian people, in particular, are known as some of the most beautiful people in the world.

At one point in our journey, we stopped on the side of the dirt road we had been traveling on, as our guides and translators worked out directions. We were in the Northern Tigray region of Ethiopia and the landscape was incredible, but extremely rural. As we waited on the side of the road, some local kids started to show up.

I showed them how if they let me take their photograph they then could see themselves on the cameras LCD screen. Next thing I knew I had a line of kids wanting their photo made! It seems like that was the first time they had ever seen themselves in a picture. Then, a beautiful young girl came walking up carrying a giant container of water on her back. We wanted to take her picture, but she thought we were trying to steal her water so she began to run away. One of the translators called to her to let her know it was okay.

She came back, cautiously, and eventually joined the other kids in our photo shoot. The backdrop was a golden field of Teff, the Ethiopian staple grain, the lighting was perfect and I had a bunch of cooperative models! Looking back I realize how random an lucky that moment was. Once in front of the camera the young girl shined. The images of her of some of my favorites to this day. I believe they always will be. I will never forget her.


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