Trips: The Collective Bringing Film back to Ethiopia Stories

By Corey Hart

Analog Ethiopia is all about bringing film/analog photography back to Ethiopia. That being said, our workshop participants are always drawn to the Intrepid 4x5 MKIII. Every workshop so far has ended with a portrait session on the Intrepid, giving each participant the experience of composing an image under the dark-cloth, upside down and backwards on the ground glass.

Melik, by Nader (@naderphoto)

Ethiopia is experiencing a boom in photography as an art, especially in regard to street photography (shout out to @streetsofaddis). While most of these photographers create stunning images using just their phones or compact digital cameras, an interest in analog photography continues to grow. 

Ethiopia was as much a part of the digital revolution as any other place, which unfortunately resulted in the closure of film labs and darkrooms. Although the interest is there, without any place to develop their film, these photographers are prevented from being able to shoot analog.

This is where Analog Ethiopia enters the story. Through providing teaching and hands on experience to an already established network of talented photographers here in Addis Ababa, our goal is to build an analog community with access to necessary resources, materials, and a fully functioning darkroom.

Our initial workshops have consisted of a “Film Basics” teaching, hands on introduction to 35mm, 120, and large format cameras, then some free time to apply the teaching and take photos with the different cameras available, ending with a large format portrait session. What is great about the Intrepid 4x5 MKIII, is how light weight and simple to use it is. In no time, we can have the camera set up and the participants interacting directly with it while they are introduced to the different functions and applications.

To keep it even more simple and straightforward, we set up the Intrepid outside and have the participants take turns being on each side of the camera, in front of the lens as subjects and behind the ground glass as photographers. I assist them with the practical use of the camera, guiding them through the typical large format checklist, by letting them compose their own image and go through the process of setting focus, closing the lens, inserting film holder, and firing the shutter. In the end, each participant comes away with a valuable, hands-on experience and two unique portraits, one of themselves, and the other of their own creation. 

Abdi, by Melik (@from_melikawi)

Eyerusalem, by Corey (@coreyhartphoto)

We mostly work with black and white film, since that is the easiest (and most affordable) option in regard to exposure latitude and self-development. This way we can process the film ourselves and offer this as an additional workshop. Since we are still a young and growing community, we are using my personal film supply, which is mostly made up Ilford HP5+ 400 and FP4+ 125. In these workshops, the Intrepid MKIII is set up with a Fujinon 210mm f5.6 lens, the combination of which produces beautiful results. 

Tsion by Abdi (@abdi.bekele)

Since we began holding workshops a month ago, we have been contacted by a number of photographers interested in learning about analog photography. We plan to offer a variety of workshops at different skill and experience levels, so that we can include as many people as possible. Due to the limited resource availability in Ethiopia and in an effort to make these workshops as accessible as we can, we also hope to have a number of film stocks and cameras available for our participants to use.

We are always delighted to have new partners that are willing to donate or contribute film, chemicals, cameras, or other darkroom equipment to keep these workshops running. Anyone interested in becoming a partner can reach out to us on our social media or directly through email or on Instagram and Facebook.

Corey at the Analog Ethiopia headquarters

The End.