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- Michael Tsegaye
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- Working girls (1)
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Born in Ethiopia in 1975, Michael Tsegaye lives and works in Addis Ababa. He graduated in Fine Arts and Design from the University of Addis in 2002, he soon had to lay down his brushes because of an allergy to oil paint. He then discovered a passion for photography, which became his favourite means of expression and his profession. The result is a highly poetic intermingling of the documentary and the artistic.
In a world that is constantly changing, Ethiopia has succeeded in preserving its language and its culture. The reason being, in Michael Tsegaye's opinion, the country's deliberately limited contact with the West in the course of its history. Although this may have kept his country in economic instability, he believes this stance has enabled Ethiopia to maintain a voice very much of its own.
Tsegaye sees his country not through the pessimistic prism of the foreign media, but from within. His nuanced images subtly depict people working, using public transport and attending religious ceremonies.
There is also, of course, the marginal world, and the daily lives of the destitutes struggling to make ends meet. In Working Girls he focuses on prostitutes, revealing their privacy in dormitories and their precarious existence. His use of light and shade accentuates an impression of loneliness, even though these women live as a community. In his choice of low lighting and his approach to composition we detect the influence of his initial training as a painter; here he acknowledges a debt to the Dutch masters, Rembrandt and Vermeer in particular.