Pictures: Chester Higgins’ Stunning Photos of Ethiopia & His New Project ‘Apparitions’

Retired New York Times photographer Chester Higgins, Jr. (left) took the above photos of the St. George church in Lalibela & the Sof Omar Cave in Bale region (bottom right), two of Ethiopia's iconic religious sites.

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Wednesday, December 17th, 2014

New York (TADIAS) – From the spectacular images of Lalibela to the beautiful portraits of people in the Omo region, from the profile of the late Poet Laureate of Ethiopia Tsegaye Gabre-Medhin to Nelson Mandela, you may have seen some of the timeless photos captured by international photographer Chester Higgins, who retired this year from The New York Times after nearly four decades with the prominent U.S. newspaper.

Higgins is already busy with new photography projects — his latest is entitled Apparitions. “My new imagery comes from a decade of falling in love with dead plant leaves,” Higgins says. “I’ve experimented with different leaves and settled on the Elephant Leaf because it’s bigger and tends to dry down in a much more interesting way than others.” He adds: “Each year, I’ve planted the bulbs, tended them and when they die, harvest them and hang them inside the house to dry out for a few months before I start making photos. I make the photos in a most unique way, without the use of the camera but using the computer scanner. I cut the leaves, position them so and use a software to produce a more abstract look.”

“You see, like the people who believe in nature, I believe in the equality of the complexity of nature. To me, the dried plant leaves represent the remains of a once fuller spirit that possessed the plant. Like all living things, we cannot stay forever, but in our departure the spirit that occupied the vessel is the only thing that has the ability to transit time and space. So, when I make images of this leaf that makes my heart smile, I name them after some ancestor. Right now, I name them after ancient Egyptian mummies.”

You can view images from Apparitions at Below is a slideshow of photos by Higgins previously featured in Tadias Magazine:

A Dance of Rivers – By Chester Higgins (

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