• Afar-cows-1
  • Afar-boys
  • Afar-man-1
  • Evelina-hot-spring-1
  • Glashog-awash
  • Man-in-holy-town
  • Untitled-3
  • Untitled-9
  • Untitled-21
  • Untitled-26
  • Untitled-35
  • Untitled-38
  • Untitled-51
  • Untitled-54
  • Untitled-57
  • Untitled-61
  • Untitled-65
  • Untitled-70
  • Untitled-75
  • Yared-i-awash-03
Photography

Carl Kleiner: Ethiopia

Posted by Will Hudson,

Swedish photographer Carl Kleiner got everyones attention last month when his work on Ikea’s baking book, “Hembakat är Bäst” (Homemade is Best) was on just about every blog. Having had to postpone a holiday as a result of the job he was keen to get away, Ethiopia being the destination of choice. On his return we caught up with him to find out more…

Hi Carl, last time we saw you it was the Ikea job that was cropping up all over the internet, you’ve just come back from 2 weeks in Ethiopia, tell us more?

My vacation this summer was cut short due to the Ikea project so my girlfriend and I had decided to go somewhere this fall. We were actually looking for a weeend in Amsterdam but as we typed the letter “A” when booking tickets the destination Addis Abeba popped up… Our good friend from NYC is born in Addis and was there visiting his family so we thought Etiopia sounded much more exciting. We did an amazing journey west and one north. The car-ride was actually one of the best parts of the trip. I really fell for this tragically beautiful country: it’s mountains, the wildlife-including its great species of colorful birds, it’s diversity-both in landscape, (from the semi-arid Rift Valley to its cool high plateus of 2,000 to 3,000 meters) to its incredibly diverse cultures, (83 ethnic groups and languages). But what made this journey so much more memorable for me was its people. Hospitable, curious, kind and just beautiful.

Ethiopia was historically isolated because of its crazy mountain ranges, and the country is the only one in Africa to have never expierienced colonization. Because of these facts, the country’s nearly untouched. Furthermore, due to its low-level infrastructure and bad reputation, there isn’t that much tourism. So it’s a nearly forgotten part of the world. Its beauty awaits any outsider’s discovery.

Was there a plan before you headed out there as to what you wanted to shoot?

Yes there was some kind of plan but that didn’t happen, we didn’t have time for the south. Next time. I knew I wanted portraits but not really how. I am actually happy I didn’t plan anything in particular. Our friend Yared says all reason and logic you bring from home has to all be thrown out the window. Just out the window!

The majority of your commercial work is still life where you have total control of the situation, these shots are very different, do you find it easy to shoot in this way or does it take a few days to adapt?

I take shots like these on an daily basic, so the the camera I’m using is an old friend that I know very well. But it took some time to get over being a shy Swede in a foreing country in a culture I never met before.

What’s the plan with the collection of images?

When I shot the material there was no big plan, only fascination and curiosity. I wanted to capture this great experience.

Is this something you want to do on a regular basis? Where’s next?

I love to experience new places and people, and I try to travel as much as I can. My girlfriend Evelina Bratell, (who also happen to be the mastermind-stylist behind the Ikea images, among other) got a scholarship to go to Japan and do research about indigo. After Japan we’re going to the mountains in northern Vietnam.

You shot 33 rolls of film, do you have a favourite image?

That’s a tricky question. I’m really into trees…

Wh-300

Posted by Will Hudson

Will founded It’s Nice That in 2007 and is now director of the company. Once one of the main contributors to the site he has stepped back from writing as the business has expanded. He is a regular guest on the Studio Audience podcast.

Most Recent: Photography View Archive

  1. List

    Voters in Scotland are today deciding whether to swap 300 years of union with England, Wales and Northern Ireland for the nationalist dream of an independent country. The referendum is being held exactly 700 years after the Battle of Bannockburn, where Robert The Bruce defeated the English army of Edward II and every year a re-enactment is held to bring this major historical landmark back to life.

  2. Listlachapelle_landscape_03

    The dazzling lights of David LaChapelle’s hyper-realistic photographs, glinting from neon and metallic and shimmering objects, send a hazy glow into the dark background; a magical aura that conjures up memories of fairground rides and bonfire nights and hot breath misting up the air in front of you. The photographer’s images are no less magical really; they draw you in, bedazzled and bewildered, like a ditzy moth drawn to a lamp, and then surprise you by being even more brilliant than you realised at first.

  3. List

    Imagine for a moment that the shoebox under your bed was filled not with photos of your Great Aunt June snoozing on the sofa last Christmas, but with photographs taken in space by astronauts on Apollo 14. For a lucky few at NASA this is (almost) true, and fortunately they’re more than happy to share their treasures with us proles in the form of a new exhibition at London’s BREESE Little Gallery.

  4. Main

    I think we can all agree that in the past few years food photography has pretty much reigned the internet as far as image-porn blogging is concerned. And yes, photographing tangerines on bright blue backgrounds does always look nice, we get it. But among the thousands of people documenting food in order to gain online notoriety there are some photographers who are known in the industry as the ones who can really, really shoot food.

  5. List

    The debate over so-called “ruin porn” has raged for several years now, exploring the cultural and ethical ramifications of turning the decrepit and dilapidated into art. But if anyone could breathe new life into this kind of project, it’s Nadav Kander. The photographer’s new show Dust opens in London today, and takes as its epigraph the T.S Eliot line: “I will show you fear in a handful of dust.”

  6. Listalextennapel1

    The best portrait photography is truly mesmerising; a compliment which can surely be paid to Alex Ten Napel’s series of Alzheimer’s patients. In a somewhat ironic manner, the Dutch photographer has created enrapturing, memorable images of elderly and enigmatic faces. They’re both heartbreaking and joyful, delightful and despairing, as Alex has caught “that specific moment portrait photographers wait for: the moment in which posture and facial expression come together in a meaningful manner.”

  7. List

    There’s not an amateur photographer alive who hasn’t got a roll of film back from the developing booth of their local supermarket to find that almost every picture is clouded over by a giant fleshy finger. Usually it obstructs most if not all of the image and sends the photograph itself catapulting straight into the nearest bin in a fit of frustration.

  8. List

    A year on since we first covered George Osodi’s work on the site he continues to astound us. The Lagos-based photographer produces some of the most incredible photojournalism I’ve ever seen; this series Nigeria Monarchs: The Custodians of Peace and Cultural Heritage documents the figures across Nigeria who, in spite of having no constitutional rule since the monarchy was officially abolished in 1963, remain key personalities in the country’s political landscape. The travelling exhibition had a stint in London last year and is about to open in Budapest, Hungary, serving as further proof (if any was needed) of the curiosity which exists worldwide about these majestic and exotic figures. What’s more George hopes to photograph 100 of the monarchs, so the collection is not due to stop growing any time soon.

  9. List

    September is always a time for nostalgia; it’s that back-to-school, turning-of-the-seasons vibe that goes hand-in-hand with a certain sense of self-reflection. Few moments stick in our minds and come to define our personal stories more than our first kiss; that giddy mixture of nerves, anticipation and a feeling of the moment’s huge significance that rarely tallies with the physical reality! For its latest brief, MOPHOTO are working with Cornetto and asking young photographers to create an image of a first kiss that captures that dizzying array of emotions in a single visual.

  10. List

    I’m loth to comment on summer’s swift disappearance or the vague possibility that it might get warm again in the coming weeks, but how can I miss the opportunity which this series by Anaïs Boileau has so generously handed me? This brilliant photo-series examines the women who live for a tan, happily sunning themselves with foil trays pressed to their chins and eye-protectors plastered to their sockets. There’s something gently teasing and kind of funny but also really well-constructed about her images – the props make for a natural frame so you’re confronted with a very immediate manifestation of our society’s obsession with bronzed skin, which seems more ridiculous the longer you think about it.

  11. List

    Family life can be strange, unsettling and oppressive as well as happy, funny and ridiculous, and it’s this sometimes-sinister underside of the domestic sphere photographer Joanna Piotrowska seeks to elevate with her series FROWST. Her black and white images capture ambivalence and double meaning in the family home; brothers and sisters lie awkwardly across one another and pull at each other’s bodies in strangely stagnant compositions, while oddly familiar environments are imbued with a quiet strangeness that’s not entirely new.

  12. Wrecking-yardtop

    Riley wanted to be like Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn when he grew up; he wanted to hunt for treasure and go on adventures. Riley’s never forgotten the magical lure of finding hidden pennies and bottle tops, silver and scraps, and when scavenging he finds himself transformed into a mythical adventurer like a character in a tale by Mark Twain.

  13. Main

    Where do dreams come true? “Disneyland!” squeal the indoctrinated masses. Sadly, the dream’s over for the exhibits of Yesterland, which is a photo archive of rides, restaurants and rodeos which are no more. Or, as Yesterland likes to style itself, “a theme park on the web.”