This weeks Friday Five featured photographer is Erika Lafrennie from Traveling Gal Photography.
When/Why did you start taking photos?
For me, taking photos was more about finding a way to capture all of the amazing things I discovered while traveling. Gradually, I began to realize that I enjoyed taking those photos almost as much as I enjoyed the adventures themselves. I’ve been taking pictures since 1995, but in 2011, I started taking photos in earnest for the sake of photography. My style varies between fine art photography and social documentary photography.
What inspires you?
What would be your dream job as a photographer?
National Geographic! I would also love to work for an NGO documenting social causes in desperate need of global attention. Right now, I would most like to return to the Omo River Valley of Ethiopia to photograph the disappearing tribes who live there. The Ethiopian government is developing industrial sugarcane plantations and completing construction on the Gibe III Dam. The tribes of this area rely on the Omo River below the dam site for their survival, either through flood recession agriculture or to provide food and water for livestock. Once complete, the dam will interrupt seasonal flows of the Omo River, effectively threatening the only two options for survival in the region.Government troops are also forcibly removing people from their land, and human rights groups are reporting numerousbeatings, systematic rape, and unjustified arrests throughout the region, as well as a rapidly increasing number of deaths from starvation. Along with the normal everyday advancement of technology into the region, the way of life in this part of the country will be forever changed. Likely, entire ethnically unique tribal groups will vanish from a region that was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1980 specifically for its colorful genetically and linguistically diverse peoples. I would revere the opportunity to return, spend more time with these incredible peoples, and document what’s going on there.
(Photos from my series, “Disappearing Tribes”)
Why do you love photography?
What is your favorite camera?