I AM ETHIOPIA: The cross-cultural vision of photographer Mintwab Zemeadim

Born in Ethiopia and raised in Seattle, Mintwab Zemeadim was exposed to two vastly different portrayals of Ethiopia during her upbringing — the way the country was depicted in western media, and the way she heard it described by her family.

She recently returned to Ethiopia for the first time in 15 years, and was inspired to combat the stereotypes of famine and poverty by photographing the beautiful country and people she saw with her own eyes.

Through the creative layering of these photographs of modern Ethiopian people against traditional patterns and East African art, Zemeadim emphasizes the beauty of Ethiopia and the deep history, familial traditions and colorful individuals that she believes get lost in translation via western media.

Zemeadim shares her work through an online gallery at VSCO.com.


“I AM ETHIOPIA” is a three part series that focuses on Ethiopian Americans in Seattle who are subverting misconceptions of Ethiopia and its people, and forming their own colorful and groundbreaking identities.

The series is part of a movement started by YMG (Yonie Media Group) in association with the upcoming film, “An Ethiopian Love.”

Please check out the first video in the “I AM ETHIOPIA” series, about hip-hop artist Gabriel Teodros, and the second video, about fusion chef Mulugeta Abate.