Director's Statement

The saying goes that an image can tell a thousand stories, that through an image we can imagine distant lands, learn about a time and space that no longer exists and more importantly share with others our memories. The role of a photographer is beyond just pressing the button but one that comes with creativity and great responsibility to witness a fleeting moment through a balanced perspective. In recent years, there has been an immense and growing interest in photographic content from Africa, and we have seen a global shift in seeking an autentic image. Publishers (not only of photography) are scouting new visions and talents. Their increased interest has created a new discourse concerning future image-makers who are presenting to the world relatable images that go beyond clichés. This is the point of photography; it is not merely an exercise of vanity nor should it perpetuate stereotypes, but rather it should bring us closer to understanding one another and ourselves.

The fourth edition of the Addis Foto Fest (AFF) is a quest on which we embark with the faith and conviction that, as part of the global image community, we can engage in creative exchange through photography. We will share with our audience stories, ideas, and histories from all across the world. Our festival is, in a sense, a visual journey into the unknown beyond our borders in which we encourage our audience to discover the power of photography not only as a documentation of time but also as a tool that explores the spectrum of creativity. Hence, since 2010 our main objective has been to function as a tool to educate our audience, and to be independent in our approach as we forge a new path and navigate our role in Africa’s growing creative sector. As a nation and continent, we slowly shed our naiveté with the clear understanding that in order to move photography forward, in our Africa, we must first educate ourselves on the implications of the messages we choose to convey.

As a festival that prides itself on its grass roots foundation, we were humbled by the number of submissions we received in our first ever open call. It is an honor for us to present so many varying photographic perspectives from Africa, Asia, Middle East, Europe and the Americas. The selection process involved making many difficult decisions. This year’s collection showcases 134 photographers from 40 countries around the world. Our global outreach push since the last AFF has given us the opportunity to also tour within and outside of Ethiopia—to Lalibela, Gondar, Bamako (Bamako Biannual 2015), Dakar (Dakar 2016), Johannesburg (Joburg Art Fair 2016) and London (1:54 Art Fair). Hence, the activities of AFF are not limited to our beloved city of Addis Ababa, our goal is to continue building our global network of bringing together the photography community. Thank you to our photographers, audiences and partners who continue to support us on this journey.

Featured Artist of the day!

The son of a freedom fighter and political leader, Md Shahnewaz Khan is a documentary photographer, freelance photojournalist, human rights activists based in Chittagong, Bangladesh. Having dreamed in his youth of becoming a writer, photography instead managed to become his muse and mode of expression. He says, "I always want to know about people, their life, their culture and their fight to survive. I believe photography is such a great option for telling the truth to change the world."

From 2004 to the present he completed many courses, workshops, and mentorships about art, journalism, documentary photography at the Photoart Institute, CounterFoto and Pathshala. He is now a Professional degree student at the Photoart Institute.

Read More

Desta For Africa Creative Consulting PLC

Room 301, 3rd Floor

International Leadership Institute, 

Sidist Kilo, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Telephone Number: +251.118.681.351

Email: dfaplc@gmail.com