ETHIOPIA

Getaway (South Africa) - - NEWS - WORDS & PHO­TO­GRAPHS BY ROGER & PAT DE LA HARPE

Pho­tog­ra­phers Roger and Pat de la Harpe cap­ture bib­li­cal scenes in Lal­i­bela

THE HOLY CITY OF LAL­I­BELA IS FA­MOUS FOR ITS ROCK-HEWN CHURCHES, BUILT DUR­ING THE 12TH AND 13TH CEN­TURIES. PILGRIMAGES BY MEM­BERS OF THE ETHIOPIAN ORTHO­DOX TEWAHEDO CHURCH BRING THESE ME­DIEVAL PLACES TO COLOUR­FUL LIFE

ABOUT THE PHO­TOG­RA­PHERS

For more than 25 years, Roger and Pat de la Harpe have spe­cialised in travel, wildlife, con­ser­va­tion and lodge pho­tog­ra­phy. They work mainly in Africa, although pho­tog­ra­phy has taken them around the world and re­sulted in 27 cof­fee-table books and plenty of mag­a­zine fea­tures in lo­cal and for­eign publi­ca­tions. The pair vis­ited Ethiopia while work­ing on the book African Icons (with writer David Bris­tow), de­tail­ing 21 must-see places on the con­ti­nent.

HOW THEY GOT THE SHOTS

‘The var­i­ous shoots we did for the book were fairly short – about eight or nine days each – and very in­tense,’ says Roger. ‘We’d fly in to one of the 22 des­ti­na­tions we cov­ered a year, usu­ally on a red-eye flight, and go straight to work. It was ex­haust­ing but we got to see ex­tra­or­di­nary things, like the Chris­tian cer­e­monies at Lal­i­bela (named for King Ge­bre Mesqel Lal­i­bela) in Ethiopia.’ These im­ages were shot with a Nikon D800 and D7100, us­ing a com­bi­na­tion of 16-35mm and 70-200mm lenses.

PRE­VI­OUS PAGE Away from the quiet dig­nity of the cave, it was all colour and sound. Pil­grims sang, chanted and swayed, the mood be­ing one of cel­e­bra­tion. Close up, their colour­ful robes were exquisitely made; their um­brel­las rep­re­sent­ing the heav­ens.

ABOVE The most fa­mous of all Lal­i­bela’s churches is Bete Giy­or­gis, or the Church of Saint Ge­orge. It is a truly as­tound­ing con­struc­tion, hav­ing been carved from the top down, with the rock re­moved to cre­ate var­i­ous cham­bers.LEFT Fe­male pil­grims danced and clapped, their dance in­volv­ing a sort of rolling of the shoul­ders. We won­dered if it didn’t al­lude to the flap­ping of an­gels’ wings?

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