Recently my friend Sammy and I have been taking pictures of new buildings coming up in town. The pictures are for the architects and owners of the buildings. The pictures document the construction process to date. It’s also a great opportunity to see Addis from a new angle.
I’ll be honest in saying that it’s not my favorite style of photography but I thought it would be a good learning experience and challenge. What types of subjects can you really find on a construction site? Beams, concrete, pipes, wires, etc… The challenge is there for sure, but I decided that out of all the pictures that I will shoot I am bound to get a few cool shots that I like and might keep.
At the very end of the day taking pictures at the new Dashen Bank HQ, we decided that we would have a wander to the back of the construction site. If you don’t know, this whole area of the city is being cleared for redevelopment. Many houses, legitimately and illegitimately built are making way for Addis’s new financial center.
In my previous article on how Addis is changing I had questioned whether or not change is for the better. My statements created a small debate over on Facebook but in the end, we settled on the fact that it’s inevitable and that the important thing is to try to maintain as much history as possible.
For the kids in this picture, change is at their front door. These kids used to live in what is now a barren part of the land in the city waiting redevelopment. As they saw us with our cameras their curiosity simply got the best of them. The kids were asking for their photograph while they ran towards us.
Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed one of the few walls left standing. Knowing I needed a backdrop, I suggested they move over there for me to take their picture. As always with kids, I am amazed at their ability to laugh and smile through what must be a difficult situation for them. The city they are growing up in is tearing down their homes. Furthermore, their families don’t really have anywhere else to go so they remain squatting in makeshift shelters.
And yet, they manage to laugh, smile and have fun given the chance. If there is one thing I wish for myself is to remain a child at heart for as long as I can. Finding the time to simply play, laugh and be in the moment is very important.2