'Toward Freedom' exhibit celebrates Ethiopians in L.A. and Israel


Curated by photojournalist Irene Fertik, “Toward Freedom” 40 image collection features Ethiopian communities in Los Angeles and Jewish Ethiopians in Israel. The exhibition will be on view from October 1, 2015 through January 3, 2016 at the California African American Museum (CAAM).

Focusing on Jewish Ethiopians in Israel and the Ethiopian community in Los Angeles, the collection features images dating from 1992 through 2012 that depict the settlement of these groups to unfamiliar new homelands. Known as the Beta Israel, Ethiopian Jewish communities inhabited isolated mountain villages in northern Ethiopia (especially Gondor and Tigray provinces) since around 1400 A.D. Beginning in 1980, however, the Israeli government conducted two large-scale resettlements of the Beta Israel: Operation Moses (1980-84) and Operation Solomon (1991).

With whole communities migrating to their new homeland, Fertik, who first traveled to Israel in 1992, had wondered if, “Israelis would be any more welcoming, as a nation, than any other country in the world, to Africans settling in their midst?”   As part of her research, Fertik began engaging with the growing Ethiopian community in Los Angeles, immersing herself in its culture and traditions, stating, “To know it (Ethiopian culture) is to greatly admire it! Moreover, Fertik was interested in how these two groups were integrating into their respective new societies: technologically, culturally, and socially.

In 2000, the Ethiopian leadership and business community in Los Angeles organized together to designate a four-block area of Fairfax Ave., from Olympic down to Pico Blvd., as Little Ethiopia. The city of Los Angeles officially recognized this area on the Westside as Little Ethiopia in 2002. Historically, Little Ethiopia became the first African country to have an area within a city named after it.

Ethiopians in Los Angeles celebrate the annual “Little Ethiopia Day” as part of their New Year’s celebration, which officially occurs on Sept. 11. The celebration includes live bands, traditional dancing, speakers, children’s rides, vendor booths and much more. This year, the all-day event was held on September 13 and stretched from Olympic Blvd. to Whitworth Dr.

CAAM exhibitions and events are free and open to the public. CAAM is located at 600 State Drive, Exposition Park. Parking is $10 and located at 39th and Figueroa Streets. Take Los Angeles Metro’s Expo Line and exit the Expo Park/USC station. For more information on CAAM visit www.caamuseum.org or call 213.744.7432.

Artist Reception and Exhibition Walkthrough

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Exhibition Walkthrough 12 p.m. – 1 p.m.

Artist Reception 1 p.m. – 3 p.m.

Join photographer Irene Fertik as she walks guests through the Toward Freedom exhibition and discusses her time spent documenting Ethiopians in Los Angeles and Jewish Ethiopians in Israel.



Cuba: Culture, cars and architecture

Cuba is quickly becoming a popular travel destination amongst Americans. Photographer Mike Melendy ventures deep into the Communist country and captures the culture and architecture of this beautiful Caribbean island.

5 simple photography tips to help you shoot like a pro

I’ve been fortunate enough to gain a fair share of recognition for my photography here at rolling out. For that, I’m eternally grateful. And while I have a ways to go before reaching my photographic zenith, I still get asked on the daily to share some tricks of the trade by novice photographers who wish to casually “shoot like I do.”

Now if shared all of my secrets, I’d have to kill them … so instead, here are five simple tips that can have someone shooting like a pro in no time. (And by pro, I mean much better than Deacon Jackson, who sometimes takes pictures at the church.)

Take a moment to think about your shot

Being thoughtful really pays off in photography. Not just with creative ideas, but also with setting up the perfect shot. So take a moment to line up your shot properly to get the exact frame that you want. That small amount of extra time will pay huge dividends.

Break the rules

While photography is nothing more than a book full of rules, it is also a form of creativity where rules are meant to be broken. So think outside the box and try all sorts of weird angles and things that you technically should never do. You never know what may come from a little rule-breaking.

Take in the entire picture

In photography, we often get so wrapped up in shooting close ups that we forget to just take a step back and take in the entire picture. Don’t you make that same mistake.

Notice wildlife

It’s easy to get caught up in people and landscapes, but some of the most interesting moments can be found by photographing the often forgotten inhabitants of this world.

Capture the candid moments

It’s so important to never take for granted the candid moments. Always having your camera around creates the opportunity to find some magical moments that you never knew existed.

National Underground Railroad Freedom Center: 'Women Hold Up Half the Sky'

The "Women Hold Up Half the Sky" exhibition is coming to a close in less than 10 days at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center located at 50 East Freedom Way, Cincinnati, Ohio 45202 (Phone: 513.333.7500 or Toll Free: 877.648.4838).

Closing on March 31, 2013, the exhibition brings to life a story written by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, titled Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity. 

This unique exhibition is comprised of "compelling stories, documentary photographs and visual and audio installations, illuminating how women are leading the way in redressing chronic injustice and abuse."

It is heartwarming diary of stories of women from around the globe who have changed their lives through education, economics, and self-determination.

This writer had the opportunity to come face-to-face with this tribute during a recent visit to Cincinnati, Ohio while celebrating the launch of the 2013 Toyota Avalon.

The facility is a remarkable place, sitting just steps away from the Ohio River, a route on the Underground Railroad where thousands of slaves escaped to freedom.

A colleague on the tour mentioned that Toyota has donated $1 million dollars to the facility and it is one of the first stops on the itinerary when Toyota executives are in town from Japan, or anywhere around the world.

Gordon Parks in L.A. (Lower Alabama)

A new generation of film aficionado was introduced to the character of Shaft when Sam Jackson starred in the 2003 re-make. While it was a fresh attempt at modern storytelling, the film didn’t quite have the same intensity or ‘storytelling without words’ feel that the original had. What was missing? The touch of famed photographer Gordon Parks.

Had Parks’ not been acclaimed as a photographer, acquiring the sometimes burdensome ‘first’ title of anything may have been daunting. Not so for Parks, the first African American to direct a major Hollywood movie, The Learning Tree. Parks also wrote the score and screenplay.  His next film, Shaft, was a major box office hit and was one of the highest grossing films in 1971. Starring the testosterone laden Richard Roundtree in the title role of detective John Shaft, Isacc Hayes’s theme song for the film won an Oscar.

A native of Fort Scott, Kansas, Gordon Roger Alexander Buchanan Parks was born November 30, 1912. After the death of his mother, Sarah, Parks left his father, Jackson, to tend their vegetable farm and began a journey of a lifetime to explore the world. He was 14 years old.

While still in his mid-20’s, Joe Louis’ wife, Marva, admired Parks’ fashion photography. Relocating to Chicago, Parks worked intermittently for several government agencies documenting by camera migrant workers and veterans. This was interspersed with work for Vogue and Life magazines. He had a distinct eye for the subject, forcing the viewer to see its very element or the beauty of the matter. Parks would seek that beauty in the ugliest of situations as if he was determined to show the world that there is grace in nearly all creation. Such was the case when he spent time traveling the deep South in the mid-1950’s. Parks’ work assigned humanity and dignity to those subjected to segregation and Jim Crow.

At segregated water fountain. Mobile, 1956.

Untitled. Mobile, 1956.

Outside looking in. Mobile, 1956.

Untitled. Shady Grove, 1956.

Black schoolroom. Shady Grove, 1956.

Atlanta air terminal. 1956.

Recommended Reading

A Choice of Weapons by Gordon Parks & forward by Wing Young Huie (Minnesota Historical Society Press, 2010)

Half-Past Autumn by Gordon Parks (Bulfinch, 1998)

Field of Vision: The Photographs of Gordon Parks (Library of Congress, 2011)

Beyoncé sparkles on 'Vogue' cover

Beyoncé has become quite the style icon. The wife and mother is fresh off a post-Inauguration "Star Spangled Banner" lip-sync scandal and is still wiping off the dust left after a storm of scathing comments about Super Bowl 2013 performance photos that she never wanted anyone to see. In Queen B style, she more than makes up for all of the scowls and grimaces that were captured by paparazzi. Bey tells Vogue magazine in a March 2013 cover story interview, "I feel a lot more like a woman. More feminine, more sensual. And no shame."

French fashion photographer Patrick Demarchelier outdid himself.

Beyoncé is wearing a Rochas flower-print silk-satin opera coat, sculpted bra, and high-waisted shorts.
Beyoncé looks stunning in this Oscar de la Renta carnation-red organza-and-taffeta dress with ruflle embroidery.
Beyoncé stands in the spotlight wearing an Alexander McQueen red organza dress with 3-D flower embroidery.

Beauty and Success Through Lens

Cynthia Bailey is a world renowned model, amazing mother, and business savvy entrepreneur. rolling out photographer DeWanye Rodgers explains how amazing it was to see Bailey shed her reality show cover,

And there it was … that was the moment I had been anticipating. That was the instant when I realized why Bailey always felt so out of place when viewed through a ”Housewives”-colored lens. It was because she owned who she was, and she wasn’t pretending at all for anyone.

"Following my heart and my instincts has served me pretty well so far, and I don’t plan on changing my strategy now."

I think that I look good to be this age, and I hope that I can encourage other women to own their age as well.

I’m so thankful to be where I am today — especially after experiencing so many highs and lows along the way.

Beauty and Success Through Lens

Laura Govan has graced the cover of rolling out magazine October edition. We have only seen Laura's reality star side, but photographer DeWayne Rodgers sees a whole other side of the Hollywood scarlet. He says,

As the photographer on the shoot, the real story to me was the inner beauty that Govan is now working to both accept and emote more consistently. When the public constantly holds you under a microscope and critiques every imperfection, I can see how one would lose themselves, and begin to doubt whether or not they are in fact beautiful. My time with Laura revealed just that … it revealed a woman who was still coming into her own — one who was still working to reclaim the self confidence that so many women lose after child birth."

"Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it." ― Confucius

"Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it."--Maya Angelou

You only have to believe that you can succeed, that you can be whatever your heart desires, be willing to work for it, and you can have it. --Oprah Winfrey

Pharrell: Places and Spaces I’ve Been

Pharrell Williams is releasing a coffee table style book which will feature conversations between himself and friends such as Anna Wintour, Nigo, Jay-Z, Kanye West, Hans Zimmer and Chad & Shae.

The book can be pre-ordered at Rizzoli with the release set for October 16. Regular editions of the book will cost $55, but there will also be a limited edition run that will cost about $250. We’re not sure what this version will include yet.

Wilda Gerideau Squires

Wilda Gerideau-Squires is an award-winning fine art photographer who has received international recognition for her abstract images. As the jurors for the ARTROM Gallery of Rome, Italy said of her abstract works in awarding her “Second-Place” for overall excellence in their 2007 exhibition “ABSTRACTIONS”: "Wilda’s photographic images isolate details of common forms and exalt them, allowing us to look deeper into them, extracting their nuances, folds, shadows and highlights, making them appear bigger than life". Most recently, Wilda was the recipient of Honorable Mention awards in the Prix De La Photographie Paris and selected as a Finalist in the 2007 Photography Masters Cup. Her work is held in private collections in the United States and Canada.