Embassy hosts London Book Launch of Vintage Addis Ababa

31 May 2019

The London launch of the acclaimed photography book, Vintage Addis Ababa, took place at the Ethiopian Embassy in London on 30th May, in the presence of Ethiopian Ambassador to the United Kingdom, His Excellency Mr Fesseha Shawel Gebre, one of the book’s editors, Philip Schütz, and more than a hundred guests. The launch also included a pop-up exhibition.

The photography book was officially launched in Addis Ababa on 17th November 2018 at the Alliance Ethio-Française and has already sold more than 700 copies worldwide.

Philip Schütz presents Ambassador Fesseha a copy of the book

Speaking at the event, Ambassador Fesseha Shawel Gebre, welcomed guests to the launch, applauding the editors for the exemplary work they have done documenting Addis Ababa’s history. The book is especially important for the younger generation as it exposes many shared memories, including my self’s, as well as the country, he added.

Launched in July 2017, Vintage Addis Ababa, is a documentary and fine art project that crowdsourced old photographs from the public – from wedding photographs to studio portraits and family photos – to tell the stories of everyday people in Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa between the 1940s and 1980s.

The concept is the brainchild of Addis Ababa-based photographers, Philip Schütz, Wongel Abebe and Nafkot Gebeyeh, and aims to recount history from a more intimate and personal perspective. Through the digitisation and preservation of old photographs, the project has garnered fresh interest in the story of the Ethiopian capital, allowing Ethiopians today, to revisit the story of the city through new eyes and foreigners to get to know the everyday Ethiopia of yesterday.

The period in which many of the photos were taken was a fascinating time in Ethiopian history. Addis Ababa, the nation’s capital, was the location of important political events – from the first conference for the Organization of African Unity in 1963, to the 1974 coup which overthrew the monarchy. But at the same time, people still lived the everyday experience – a fashion show at the Hilton, a moment in a photo studio at Merkato, a concert at Yared School of Music, house parties, a wedding at Kidest Selassie, a graduation photo outside Addis Ababa University, street scenes at Piazza, private and intimate moments at home.

For further information and to purchase the book, visit the Vintage Addis Ababa website at www.vintageaddis.com.

Vintage Addis Ababa London Book Launch

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