Why it started

Ethiopian kids, if you ask them what they want to become when they grow up, they will usually say a doctor, a pilot, an engineer or a painter. Never once we heard a kid say they want to become a photographer because obviously, they don’t know photography exists.

Maheder, although she never really wanted to become those things, she was one of those kids who also didn’t know that photography exists beyond the studio space.

For her, it took months of depressions, a blackberry phone and a lot of traveling to finally understand herself and her passion for photography as a form of expression.

But the problem was, for many Ethiopians including her, even after realizing their passion, there were very few opportunities in the country to pursue their dreams.

And that’s the main reason why CPE, Center for Photography in Ethiopia was formed.

How it started

Although the need for training and critical discussions was a key point of discussion in different meetings of Ethiopian photographers including the 2016 Goethe-Insititut Portfolio Review Program, the dream of forming a proper photography platform was realized later through the Creative Futures Program in the country.

Creative Futures is a two year programme to support the creative industries in Ethiopia, jointly organized by British Council, Goethe-Institut and iceaddis, funded by the European Commission, aimed to support the creative industries in Ethiopia.

After various discussions with different photographers and partners which included a 10 days Professional Networking Program with Photo: in Johannesburg, the need for photography training was found to be the most important.

Accordingly, CPE (Center for Photography in Ethiopia) was realized in March 2017 by a funding from the European Union through the Goethe-Insititut.


Providing training platforms for Ethiopian photographers that can be a center for visual literacy and critical discussions. 


Becoming a leading photography center in Ethiopia.

About the Founder

Maheder is a photographer based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Originally a self-taught photographer, she has since participated in numerous training workshops that involved many renowned photographers and curators from around the world.
Maheder’s work mainly focuses on telling stories and documenting changes in her community.
She has participated in exhibitions such as “Photojournalists in Conflict”, WPFD Celebration (Helsinki, May 2016), “In Quest for” Goethe-Institut (Ethiopia, Sep 2016), “Intangible Cultural Heritages”, UN ECA Hall (Ethiopia Nov 2016), Addis Foto Fest (Ethiopia, Dec 2016) and Tales on Ethiopia Project (Italy, Dec 2016).
Maheder is also among 12 photographers that participated in the World Press Photo Masterclass East Africa which was held Nairobi, Kenya, Nov 2016 and is also nominated for the 2017 annual Joop Swart Masterclass.
She is the creator of @everydayethiopia and a contributor for @everydayhornofafrica on instagram and her works has been featured on various online platforms including The Guardian.

About her Mentors


John Fleetwood is the director of Photo: a platform that curates and commissions photography projects, especially working with emerging photographers.

From 2002 to 2015, he was the head of the Market Photo Workshop, a school, gallery and project space.Fleetwood recently co-curated Against Time, an exhibition of emerging photographers (Bamako Encounters, 2015). He co-commissioned A Return to Elsewhere, a collaborative photography project on communities and dis/connect, between Kalpesh Lathigra (UK) and Thabiso Sekgala (SA) for the Brighton Photo Biennial 2014 and the Joburg Photo Umbrella 2014. He is the curator of Photoquai 2013: Africa (Paris, 2013) and co-curator for Transition, a collaboration between South African and French photographers about South African land and the role that photography continues to play in the representation and re-imagining of this land (Johannesburg, 2012 & Rencontres d’Arles, 2013). He is based in Johannesburg, South Africa.

team 03

Katrin is a curator and researcher at Makerere Art Gallery/Institute for Heritage Conservation and Restoration, Makerere University, Kampala. She co-curated the local section of the exhibition project ‘Visionary Africa – Art at Work’ in Kampala in 2012 and co-initiated the first Contemporary Art Festival in Kampala, KLA ART 012 in the same year. Other activities include collaboration with History In Progress Uganda (HIPUganda) photography project, serving as a jury member for the annual Uganda Press Photo Award (UPPA) and being on the curatorial team of the Portfolio Meetings, a master class for photographers in sub-Sahara Africa. Currently, Peters-Klaphake is working in a longer term research project on “African Art History and the Formation of a Modern Aesthetic. African Modernism in institutional art collections related to German collecting activities”, a collaboration of Makerere University with the Museum of World Cultures, Frankfurt, and the Iwalewa Haus, Bayreuth, Germany.