Ethiopia - Portraits by Joey L

Ethiopia - Portraits - Portrait of Aberash, a tea collector

About Ethiopia - Portraits by Joey L

Joey L. returns to Quantum with Ethiopia - Portraits: a collection directly linked to his genesis drop during Season 1. For every environmental image from Joey’s first drop, there is a portrait companion.

“For years, we dragged our nomadic studio tent across almost every region of Ethiopia. In our tent, everyone was equal. We captured pure magic. Every kind of person entered and had their portrait taken. The tent was our little fantasy world. It was the Ethiopia that we dreamed of, even when the reality outside of it was sometimes stricken with searing pain. Each portrait was a tribute to a distinct region of the country. Disconnected cultural threads were woven together in a cohesive visual style in order to truly see Ethiopia— which itself is a modern nation state, but is also the sum of all the diverse people who inhabit it.”

Joey’s portraits alternating on red and black backdrops are the visual backbone of my forthcoming book “Ethiopia” (Insight Editions, January 2023), which compiles 13 years of work.

The tent itself is a metal frame modified with diffusion material made out of netela fabric, which is a hand-spun cotton perfected by Dorze craftspeople. Every portrait is created with natural light molded from the tent itself and photographed on location.

Harar Jugol, Harari Region, Ethiopia
December 2020