Dawit N.M.’s Photography Shows The Brutal Truth Of Life


Modestly describing himself as “a kid from Ethiopia”, Brooklyn-based photographer Dawit N.M. is a photographer and director. His body of work is raw and emotionally charged; shedding light on the powerful stories of the subjects in front of his lens.

Dawit N.M. moved from Ethiopia with his family as a young child, and grew up in multiple states on the east coast of North America. Having moved countries at the age of seven, Dawit N.M. was old enough to remember life in his birth country, an experience that shaped his perspective and would in adult life, move him to develop an interest in photographing the stories of others. Speaking of his photographic intentions in an interview with the Heavy Collective, Dawit N.M. explained: “I want to show the brutal truth, whether that be in a physical state or a mental state”. His work examines community, family, and day-to-day life in both countries. In the series ‘Tesifa’, Dawit N.M. documents his father’s moving medical story, showing the emotional reality of post-surgery recovery. His father, Mulat, suffered a stroke as a result of complications during surgery, and the black and white series shows his process of rehabilitation in Ethiopia with tenderness. In ‘The Hidden Branch’, the images tell a story of life in Southside Gardens, a neighborhood in Portsmouth, Virginia. The captivating series sheds light on the close-knit community that resides next to Norfolk Naval Shipyard: an industrial facility that according to Dawit N.M., “produces and houses weapons of mass destruction.” Collectively, Dawit N.M.’s work—a selection of which is below, aims to change the how the world views the lives of those who have experienced hardship.

All images © Dawit N.M.

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