In our blog series “Made with Leica” we present Leica photographers and their photo-blogs and portfolios. If you want to present your work and experiences with Leica please send us an email to redaktion@juergensen.net

The forthcoming photo book by photographer Martin Dixon shows Ethiopia in transition – from an agricultural to an industrial country. In our blog series “Made with Leica” Dixon gives us  a little insight into his latest project.

Martin Dixon – “Story Teller” and “Cultural Anthropologist”

Martin Dixon selfportraitCan you tell us something about you and your fascination for photography?

I started my fascination with photography as a hobby in 1980 when my cousin came home from military service in Germany and loaned me an old Minolta manual camera for the week she was home. I fell in love with the idea of captured time and space. I started looking for things that would make good photographs but have since then evolved to photograph ideas that reinforce what we know of life, culture, and aspirations. In 1988 I received a BFA from The Cooper Union and in 1992 I received an MFA from the University of Michigan. Since then I have been a professional photographer for the past 25 years working lately in African countries. I was based off and on in Dakar, Senegal from 2003-2007 and have been working in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia since 2011. I am presently working on a street photography book about city life in Addis. I have attached some of the photographs to this article.

Why did you choose Leica as your favorite tool, why did you choose your current equipment?

What I love about the Leica system is that to the many people I approach and photograph, I don’t look like a professional. This is very valuable to me. I need to remain under the radar to do what I do in Africa. People mistrust photographers. They feel we are publishing their lives and exploiting their poverty. I consider myself a visual story teller. A cultural anthropologist. My first book “Brooklyn Kings: New York City’s Black Bikers” was made with a Leica M4P and  a Mamiya 6x6cm. I do not need auto cameras that do everything for me. I am very comfortable focusing, exposing, framing and making decisions for myself.

A short description about the images we are presenting?

The pictures I am presenting here are from a forth-coming photo book titled “Original Man: Photographs of Addis Ababa” by Martin Dixon. I am still shopping around for a publisher but the book is nearly finished as I complete my text. Original Man is based on the belief that Man’s origins, both skeletal and genetic may have originated from the Ethiopia Rift Valley Region of Afar. If true, it would mean that all life originated here and migrated to populate the world. My photographs look at Ethiopia today as a developing nation evolving from an agricultural past to an industrial / technical future. My photographs are meant to convey just what a difficult sacrifice that transition will be for Ethiopia’s citizens as they try to catch up with the rest of the developed world.

All photographs made with a Leica M8 or M9.

You can find more of Martin Dixons interesting work on his Website.

 

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