Girma Berta


By isolating my figures, it becomes just about them without any distraction.

I love contrasting colors. It expresses the contrasting life I see throughout my photography.

 - Girma Berta

A self-taught photographer, Girma Berta (b. Ethiopia, 1990) is renowned for his vibrant and painterly photographs documenting African cities. Drawing inspiration from his background in graphic design and painting, Berta seamlessly synthesizes elements from both mediums into his photographic work. His acclaimed series "Moving Shadows" garnered widespread recognition, earning him the prestigious 2016 Getty Images Instagram Grant.

In his latest series, "Motion," Berta embarks on a mission to encapsulate the vitality of Africa's great cities, offering a unique perspective as an Ethiopian artist. From Addis Ababa to Bamako, passing by Marrakech, Jinja, and Turmi, Girma Berta's lens captures the bubbling energy of these African cities. Through his artistic viewpoint, Berta unveils the intangible: the pulsating soul and energy of each city, materializing their essence with a captivating spun effect.

Berta's approach to photography is unapologetically authentic. He refuses to romanticize his subjects, opting instead to capture them in their raw, natural state, often in moments of transit. Through his lens, the realities of everyday life intertwine, reflecting the complexities of the human experience. With an indelible mark, the sacredness of the African working class—the resilient souls who, paradoxically, must be nomadic to maintain their sedentary livelihoods—moves around on scooters, mopeds, bicycles.

Girma Berta’s use of vibrant colors in his compositional harmonies and use of space, reflects the essence of each photographed city, expressing the contrasting realities of life in Africa. Despite often portraying figures engaged in labor or mundane tasks, the artist showcases their resilience and vitality, presenting life authentically and unapologetically.

Through his minimalist and contemporary imagery, Berta symbolizes the ongoing digital revolution in Africa. As a representative of a younger generation embracing digital art, the photographer, who started with an iPhone camera, offers a fresh perspective on the evolving landscape of contemporary photography.

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