- -Sneakers, big jeans trousers and shirts… a typical photographer’s dress code; accessible. It makes the ‘run’ easier. With an accessory, his big professional camera, which he never leaves behind, Musie is always on the run to capture the moment. Through the eyes of the young professional photographer every moment is worth a snap on his camera. He ceaselessly speaks photography, and his photos speak millions of words. Words that when put together are pixels of nature, society, culture and events where Mussie will always be present to capture.
- Commonly known by his nick name Mussie Photo Asmara, Q&A presents to you today, Mussie Tedros.
- -Would you please introduce yourself to our readers?
My name is Mussie Tedros, born in 1986 and grew up in Asmara. Currently, I am a member of the Central Region Athletics Club. I joined the club back in 2007 and was an active participant until 2013. I love athletics so much but due to my health problems I wasn’t able to participate anymore although I am a member. Besides, I am also a photographer. I love taking photographs and I badly want to put myself in it professionally.
- -The reason behind your interest in photography?
To be honest, I didn’t have that much interest in the early days. Nonetheless I think it is because I was too young to understand it. Apparently, I started working at a family photo studio, Photo Asmara in 2001. That was the time when I fell in love with a camera. Since then, I have been taking various photos understanding all about photography and how deep it is. Through time my love for photography got deeper. And this was when no delete option was applicable, when all the cameras were analogue.
- -The difference of the cameras…
It was very hard to switch from analog to digital photography. A photographer or anyone taking pictures needs to know several features about a digital camera since the operations are much simpler with analogue cameras. But when it comes to digital, there are a lot of numbers to study. The numbers on your camera are put for a reason. It is a lot harder if you don’t know it. It might be simple to press the shutter and take pictures but that is not what makes the camera digital or professional. Relatively, from my experience, when comparing qualities, the analogue was better. At the beginning, it was 20% better quality than digitally taken photos. However, it takes a lot of time and effort in the processing, from taking the picture to finally printing it. Digital photography made it easy and simple but simultaneously it is harder if not studied.
- -What kind of photography do you work on Mr. Mussie?
Back in the days I mostly was working in the studio. To add to my skills I started working on outdoor photography in 2016. Know-how on itself isn’t enough, practice is important. Persistency in taking the good shot makes a photographer perfect. Eritrea has beautiful landscapes and weather as well as diverse culture, making it ideal for taking photos. I recommend that people should take advantage of the striking available natural beauty. I feel that as photographers we haven’t fully discovered the beauties so far. My wish is to show these beauties to people and make them appreciate it. I really don’t like it when people have those overseas photos in their phones or laptops. We have much more photo-worth places here in this country. I want people to have photos of their culture and country, taken by their people.
- -How do you keep up your knowledge?
I never took any special course yet, though I look forward to it. I do a lot of research on the internet, read photography notes and watch a lot of tutorial videos, have immense effects on my advancement. By the way, I think that there isn’t much of photography course or educational institute here, but I would like to point out that it is essential. There are a lot of potential artists who can be great photographers if provided with the knowledge. It is an art that is worth developing in Eritrea. When I saw wonderful pictures, I always thought it was a work of Photoshop. No, but it was taken by the exact calculation of the numbers, lighting and timing. That is what makes a great photo. For instance, there is a bird I shot flying at a wedding at St. Mariam church. That very moment I took the picture with a fast shutter speed, freezing the bird’s wings in the air. Moreover, same goes with water splash. What got me so focused with the numbers is that the importance of knowing them is crucial in taking the needed photos in addition to the lighting and timing of the area.
Reading and studying may not be enough. I would say practice is the most significant matter in photography. It takes great amount of time to have the exact picture. After I finish reading a page or a topic, I intend to try it and do a lot of philosophy to represent my ideas. Most of the time I take my photos in Asmara. Sometimes I go out for hours walking with my camera. I would like to say that Asmara is one of the most amazing places. It is a delight for me to spend time with the remarkable architecture and people. I want to reflect my people’s beauty and cultural diversity. I take pictures in almost every national celebration and religious event.
- -Wedding photography….
It is obvious that weddings are the ‘happy days’ for everyone; families, the couples and friends. I have worked on it for quite some time now. It is a huge responsibility for cameramen in weddings. You have to capture every emotion and you are the first to document the happy day for the couple. I want to give the best photos. Especially, these days, the couples prefer wedding photos in particular places they choose. Selecting the places in advance is good for the photographers as they see the place and compile their ideas of how they want to take the shots. It is tiring but there is always all kinds of emotions to express in the pictures.
- -Printing process…
Well, there could be some challenges, accessory wise, but nothing that can’t be fixed. It is true that good accessories are needed to produce perfect photos. It starts with the paper and ink but most of all printing machine. Most importantly the person who prints the photos needs to fully understand the kind of photo you are aiming to get. As such, I also have some knowledge repairing machines that I got through reading. Even though I have the potential to repair those machines, there should be the constant maintenance and enhancement of the materials. But what is inevitable is the connection between the camera and your printing machine is close.
- -Anything you might want to add?
I want to remind all the artists, especially Eritrean photographers, to be attentive in whatever occasions, it matters because every moment counts. We have the natural beauty, the cultural diversity… beautiful. Just beautiful. We are surrounded by tons of milieus that look more stunning when captured. Let’s express our beauty and show it to the world, I am sure many would be interested to experience the things our eyes notice every day. And also we should be able to document; it might be of massive use for the future, let’s save what we have, our tradition and peace for the coming generations. I am glad and proud to see great photos taken by Eritrean photographers. I rejoice in the fact that I am, one of them.
- -Thank you for your time.
My pleasure, thanks for having me. I also want to tell you that I love this page and keep up the good work. Best regards to the amazing young female journalists of this column: you, Asmait Futsumbrhan and Billion Temesghen. I admire how you two venture to bring inspirational youth to the public and the rest of the world. Your efforts are motivational and highly regarded by the rest of us. Thank you and good luck.
- -Oh, Thanks Mussie, good luck to you too.