Yodith | Artist Spotlight

Happy Friday beautiful people!

I hope your week went well despite the freezing subzero temps! Mine was okay- it could have been better, but I will not complain :) I AM happy to share this post with you guys today though! I’m sharing another one of my talented friends with you ^_^

Today’s artist spotlight features fellow photographer- Yodith! She and I actually only recently met in person a few months ago, but because social media makes you feel like you know people, it was like catching up with an old friend. So I asked to shoot her and feature her on my blog and she kindly obliged :) I enjoyed getting to know more about her and her art and I hope you do as well-

Meet Yodith!

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What is your name?
Yodith Dammlash  

Where are you located?
Prince George’s County, MD  

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What do you do?
I am a photographer (more specifically a photo-based artist) and archivist. I am also a part of Mambu Badu, a photography collective for self-identified women of African descent.

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How long have you been a photographer?
Ten years now. Time flies!  

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How did you become interested in photography and when did you know you wanted to make a career out of your passion?
I’ve been interested in photography for as long as I can remember. When I was little I always wanted to use my mother’s little film camera and my uncle’s professional camera. I took classes my junior and senior years in high school and my mentor insisted I apply to a few visual arts colleges along with regular universities. It wasn’t until I saw the exhibit “Ethiopian Passages: Dialogues in the Diaspora” and I saw Aida Muluneh’s work that I really felt like I should also take my art seriously and pursue photography after high school. I subsequently attended Corcoran College of Art + Design where I earned a Bachelors in Fine Art Photography.  

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Who are some of your influences/inspirations?
My family. Visual artists Gordon Parks, Aida Muluneh, Chester Higgins, Carrie Mae Weems, Lorna Simpson, Richard Avedon, Kebedech Tekleab and Margaret Bourke White. Writers like Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Langston Hughes, Edwidge Danticat, Khaled Hosseini, Warsan Shire and Audre Lorde.  So, so many music artists like A Tribe Called Quest, Kendrick Lamar, Donny Hathaway, Robert Glasper Experiment, NaS and Meshell Ndegeocello, to name a few.   

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What has been your favorite project that you’ve worked on so far?
My favorite project is probably Placement, a photo series about my grandmother. I originally started documenting my grandmother for a photojournalism class assignment. I started considering the quiet in her life and how different her life may be if she still lived in Ethiopia, as oppose to my family home for the past 18 years. She is so interesting to me, in just her day to day life. Her movements, her chores in the house, her belongings. The older generation who leave their homelands to join their adult children and families overseas is a part of the African diaspora that you rarely see documented. I wanted to shed light on that usually more stagnant life.  

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What other types of creative work do you do?
I’ve become something like the documentarian/historian of my family. I’ve always been interested in my family lineage and stories my grandmother and parents would tell me about their families. I’ve accumulated and archived over 300 photos, negatives and slides of my parents families and their time in Ethiopia. I’ve been incorporating them in my current project The Names We Bear so I fancy myself a creative archivist. I’m also a closet writer (shhh!).  

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What inspires you? 
All of the aforementioned people as well as my Ethiopian culture. Natural light. Smoke as an aesthetic. The human face. Spike Lee Joints.

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What keeps you motivated?
Surrounding myself with other creatives. Having a community of other artists and photographers to bounce ideas off of and collaborate with helps in moments of self-doubt and exhaustion.  

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Any advice to fellow creatives (in your industry or otherwise)?
They say there is there nothing under the sun that hasn’t already been done. I say it still hasn’t been done by you. Your vision, your narrative, your art can only be done the way you do it. There is space for that; there is space for you.  

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Any other fun tidbits we should know about you?
I am somewhat of a human jukebox. I have an affinity for memorizing song melodies and lyrics after one listen and I’m able to mimic the artist almost exactly. I love coffee but never turn down bubble tea. I enjoy baking almost as much as I enjoy eating. I probably have the most organized and extensive Google Music library you’ll ever find. Most importantly, I know every Living Single, Chappelle’s Show and Boondocks episode by heart.  

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Where can we find you online?
online portfolio: www.YodithD.com
twitter: @yodithnprogress
instagram: @yodithnprogress
tumblr: @yodithnprogress 

I hope you enjoyed her interview! Be sure to follow Yodith social media and keep up with her projects :)

I hope you have a great weekend!

-Danni