14 Minutes in Addis Ababa with Leah Hawker

Leah Hawker recently curated an art/conceptual photographic story from an impromptu shoot that she did, which emerged out of an unexpectedly rich location and situation that presented itself on an international flight stop.

14 Minutes in Addis Ababa’ was shot at dawn on an overnight layover in Ethiopia while flying from Mombasa to Cape Town.

Leah is a professional photographer with a strong focus on investigating women’s issues through the visual medium. While she has covered a wide range of content in her work, which encompasses both commercial and non-commercial photography, her main interest lies in working alongside women and documenting their stories.

Her blog, The Softer Sex is a personal inventory aimed at cataloguing all Leah’s experiences, knowledge and the paraphernalia, articles and conceptual ideas that she has collected over the last few years.

The creative describes the environment they found themselves in during their transit: “The 3-star hotel (with a piece of photocopied paper and tape masking a once-held fourth star in the vague hope that it could one day be recovered) was strangely lush and neglected in equal measures.“

Having missed the connecting bus to the airport, the photographer and her travel companions found themselves with 20 minutes to spare. Between capturing the first and the final image, only 14 minutes elapsed. In these moments, they entered the limbo space of the in-between: the distance between arrivals and departures, wakefulness and dreaming.

The shoot was somewhat unplanned, hasty and fortuitous. A chance occurrence that unfolded in a crease of a bygone era.

Leah’s work centres around births, nudes, documentary features, art-based photographs and editorial projects. The signature style that she has crafted over her 16 years in the industry is one that explores women’s entire identities and the multitude of facets that these can be composed of.

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