I have a tendency to fall too deep into whatever it is I am doing at the moment. It is somewhat of a paradoxical cross between tunnel vision and attention deficit disorder, in that I am wandering around, I see something, and I jump headlong into it for a bit before crawling back out, only to then fall into another rabbit hole. And that explains the erratic display of my photographic works. I could be going on for weeks on social media discussing the latest wedding I documented and rambling about about how the bride holding a fencing saber looks like a porcelain doll, only to then show something completely different such as a busy street scene at a pride parade where the center subject is inflating a condom balloon. No wonder why I have so fecking few followers on Instagram . . . .
But it is my roving about, coming across so many different things, that keeps me sane so to speak. And that is why I love living in such a diverse city as Chicago, as there is ALWAYS something going on somewhere. There is always some adventure for me to go on, something to explore and experience anew. While I am bringing these photographs out finally quite late 11 months after the fact—yes, that is how distracted I can get with other projects—my roving through an invitation from a friend brought me to an Ethiopian New Year festival in the northwest of the city in Ravenswood.
While my main intention was just to check it out, experience the customs and festivities of a culture I was not so familiar with, and support my friend and her young Ethiopian professionals group (officially, the Ethiopian Community Association of Chicago, Auxiliary Board), I had a camera with me. Of course, I had a camera with me, because let’s face it, that is just what I do. And so, as one of maybe two or three Asians there, I probably stuck out even more so for being a hipsterish Celtiphilic Viet wandering around and sticking a rangefinder camera in everyone’s face as though I was some Japanese tourist.
But recalling the aforementioned, this is Chicago after all, and I am who I am, so none of that in the context of this grand diverse city should be anything out of the ordinary. Indeed, I felt quite welcome by everyone during the festivities. My only regret really is that I did not get the chance to try any of the coffee from the coffee ceremony. Next time, perhaps? The beer was decent, though, and that is quite a lot for me to say given that I am not into lagers.
© K. Dao Photography