By Aklile Tsige /ABN/
ABN June 2019 edition brings you a well-known photographer, Solomon Bogale Cherewho was born in 1984 and grew up in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa at the locality known as Sidist Kilo. Solomon has completed his secondary education at Teferi Mekonnen secondary school. Obsessed with his childhood dream-painting, Solomon has made relentless efforts to scale up his potential in photography at early age.
Currently running the famous photography center, Sol Image, he has extraordinarily made his way to be one of the renowned and leading photographers in the metropolis. He has traveled to Las Vegas, Washington DC and other parts of the US to take pictures for a Nigerian film-making group as a celebrity photographer.Aklile Tsigetalks to Solomon on various issues, including his background and vision.
ABN: How did you get into the photography profession, and how long have you been in the profession?
Solomon:I used to love paintings during my childhood. I was highly motivated by cartoons which finally pushed me forward to embark on doing paintings. Actually all begin on a day when I have taken picture at a birthday party at home; it was printed out and all beloved ones applauded and appreciated me for that particular trial. Then after I started to keep going with it and I became so interested. So I have been working as a photographer with passion since 2004.
ABN: What does photography mean to you?
Solomon: Photography for me is moment, showing what eyes need to see. It’s all about capturing things which are hidden somewhere we cannot notice. Photographyis life; Photography exists in all of us; you need photo for your ID, you need to have photo if you want to buy a car. There is nothing where photo doesn’t present. Even man needs to have a photograph after his death. Thus, photograph is life. We mostly don’t recognize this fact.
ABN: Which one of your works is your favorite? Why?
Solomon: I, indeed, love all my works of photography; the one I’ve taken at Bole Medihanealem Church, a photograph showing smoky incense, I like that very much. An old woman at Mount.Entoto carrying bundles of firewood, that’s also a very fascinating one. I also like the photograph I’ve taken at Lalibella Also the picture I’ve taken at Los Angeles Airport. I like them all very much since they remind me of the moments.
ABN: How do you educate yourself to take better photos?
Solomon: I have been taking various photography courses being given in Ethiopia by foreign professionals, and through the assistance provided by some embassies. I also try to upscale my profession by using information communication technologies like the internet, visiting appropriate YouTube channels; there’s no as such photography school to continue at a higher and more advanced one. I strongly hold the belief that photography is advancing every time, so we need to update ourselves as professionals.
ABN: What’s the most difficult part of being a photographer for you?
Solomon:I think the most difficult thing about this profession is the wrong perception people have. Many believe that it’s a profession that doesn’t require little skills and knowledge. Many don’t understand that the profession needs training, passion and creativity. You don’t take good picture simply because you have a camera; the other challenge is that clients don’t come to terms with our proposal for taking pictures; they’re not willing to quickly accept appointment you fix. They hardly know that it requires appropriate and quality settings.
ABN: What’s the most rewarding part of being a photographer?
Solomon:Photography is freedom. If people offer you freedom you do lots of things; if you see a beautiful photo, which means those people are free. They don’t interfere in your business and you can have a good photo. Photography needs a person who can listen the photographer. Therefore, the photographer will throw his eyes to different angles, and be creative to take a good picture of him. But he/she denies you that freedom; you won’t be creative, but simply a camera operator. The other interesting part of photography is that you spend much time taking pictures; pictures of children crying, you observe new and strange things in due course. You can see their tears dropping, their anger, their happiness,etc. It’s an art byitself.
ABN: Who’re the renowned personalities you’ve worked with?
Solomon: Firstly I’ve got into this profession identifying myself as celebrity photographer, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that I don’t take pictures of ordinary people. I have actually worked with different personalities like Ethiopian World-class athlete Haile G/Selassie, famous artists like Serawit Fikre, Seifu Fantahun, Tedros Kassahun (Teddy Afro), politicians like the former and the late PM Meles Zenawi, Bereket Simon. I’ve also taken pictures of many African leaders at the premises of the African Union, and many others.
ABN: What types of lens and photo-editing program do you use?
Solomon: I’m using Photoshop, but I’m more interested to complete my photo on the camera. I’m using cannon Max 3 model camera, 70, 200, 405,470 and other models.
ABN: What’s the most unforgettable experience you have encountered since you started this profession?
Solomon: Once upon a time while I was taking pictures I didn’t notice that I was standing on the edge of a void, I suddenly slipped on the empty hole and break part of my legs. People around were terribly shocked seeing me fallen. I never forget this. I have also fallen from a car while capturing photos; there was also time I was imprisoned for taking pictures around piazza in Addis Ababa.
ABN: What’s your vision regarding your profession?
Solomon: My vision is to see a generation that dreams photography as a profession as nowadays children dream to be pilots and doctors. In order to achieve this I have to teach young people, demonstrate the art of photography, and exerting effort to dispatch various photographs to different places. Establishing training center is one of the missions I want to accomplish. I want also to have my own photography complex-a building that deals only with the art of photography, embracing photography apparels, book stores, entertainment, and museum and so on.