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Jul 22nd, 2016

HabeshaLA presents: NYC photographer Martha Tesema

by in Interviews
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Name: Martha Tesema
Age: 23

Hometown: Portland, OR (currently based in Brooklyn, NY)


  1. Describe your hustle/brand.

This is something that’s always constantly evolving for me as I grow and learn new skills every day. Currently, I’d describe myself as multimedia journalist—which I understand can mean so many different things. To me, that just means I fluctuate between telling stories visually with my photography or through writing. I’m so passionate about both and would never be able to pick just one! I also am somewhat of a videographer, and illustrator, and have had experience as social media strategist. Essentially, I’m all over the map and have strengths in different buckets which I think is incredibly important in any media position these days. These have all developed from a variety of jobs I’ve been blessed with over my short career so far—from promotional assistant to editorial contributor to communications specialist positions.


  1.  Who are some of your influences?

Like my interests, my influences are all over the map. In terms of photography, I’m very much drawn to work by photographers like Chi Modu. Lately I have been seeking out work by black photographers and that’s led me to really amazing work by people like Awol Erizku and Meron Menghistab. I don’t necessarily shoot in that same style, but it’s definitely a source of inspiration as of late. I’ve been pouring over the “Vision & Justice” issue of Aperture and there are incredible folks featured there whose work gives me the chills.  There’s so influences when it comes to just this realm—too many to list that it would be ridiculous to try! In terms of writing, I’m always constantly amazed by the work of women in the industry particularly when it comes to culture critic. Hannah Giorgis, Rawiya Kameir, Doreen St. Félix, Jessica Hopper, etc….I stop always when I see their names and devour everything they say.


  1. What can we expect from you in the near future?

I’m working on putting together a book of photographs from my trip to Ethiopia, and possibly going out there again to shoot more in the city where my parents are from and start a project there regarding their childhood. Until then, I just moved to New York and am writing as much as I can and looking for dope creatives to build a community with here!


  1.  Where can we reach you? (website, social media handles. etc).

You can find my work at www.martesema.com and follow me on Instagram and Twitter at @martesema.  Feel free to hit me up if you’re ever interested in a collaboration, prints, or just chatting!


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