Timket in Ziway
A Photograph by Fua Bilich
The earth often makes its wonders accessible. An untroubled river, a hilly shore, the faint border of sky across this picture. Then, the men and their gentle arrangements. Each to his own labour. These labours—rowing, holding up, holding still—indicate beauty, yet also consecration. Few ceremonies of reverence occur in public, and so we must attend to those we see with the attentiveness of new devotees.
Fua Bilich: “Photography is a powerful tool to engage with people, to reflect on emotions, to document our times.”
I took this photograph in Ziway in Ethiopia.
Along with many talented photographers, I was asked to take part in a trip to document the traditional/religious Epiphany ceremony at Lake Ziway. We were all on a boat facing the priests carrying the ark of the covenant. This is a ceremony where the priest carries the ark from one island to the next. It is a very peaceful and colourful sight.
I like this photo because it is unique, as opposed to the usual Epiphany celebration photos normally taken during the holiday.
My approach to photography is to enjoy it. I don't stress too much about the techniques. I just shoot and make sure I fully engage with the moment.
Photography is a powerful tool to engage with people, to reflect on emotions, to document our times.
Two more photographs by Fua Bilich
The first photograph is from a series on Fun’s father (who she writes about so movingly here). The second is a portrait of Mesineh Merkineh, as he preaches at a local market in Sodo, a town in southern Ethiopia.
Last Week — Aghogho Otega
My approach to photography comes from both observation and projection. Many times I'm just a medium through which stories are seen and told. My work is documentary-styled.
Photography is a great tool for sharing and storing information. I like how it has been able to change and improve the conditions of life overtime in places with underreported issues and inhumane activities when the visuals are seen.
Read more: The Courtyard
Support Fua Bilich
Thank you for reading and sharing this feature. Follow Fua on Instagram, and see more work on her Adobe portfolio. She is also part of the Centre for Photography in Ethiopia, founded by Maheder Hailesselassie, previously featured on this newsletter.
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This is the 20th edition of the newsletter. Every week I feature one photograph and the photographer who took it. You’ll read a short caption from me, and a statement from the photographer. My goal is to set up conversations with the work of early to mid-career African photographers. You can support the newsletter by asking anyone—or 10 people!—interested in the impact and meanings of photography to subscribe. And, if you know of any photographer whose work is deserving of attention, please email me with their name(s).