Diapositive by Haile Selassie

Colors diapositive from Haile selassie, the Emperor of Ethiopia, created by Hugo Wilmar in Addis Ababa in 1950.

We discovered this color photo in 2021 in Mary Wilmar's estate. Haile Selassie's slide is part of some 50 large-screen color slides. A special and colorful find! The photos show Haile Selassie, the Emperor of Ethiopia, taken by Hugo Wilmar. The Emperor of Ethiopia poses in front of a wall of Bougainvillea in the palace garden at Addis Ababa.

In the period 1949 to 1950 Hugo Wilmar traveled through Egypt and Ethiopia with Spaarnestad journalist Wolf Kielich. The reports in word and image were published in the Dutch magazines. Wolf Kielich, himself a photographer, also took pictures of Hugo Wilmar during the trip. These “behind the scenes” provide insight into the working method.

the Kodak Ectachrome box, in which the color slides were found, is also very interesting. Thanks to these finds, we know more about the material Hugo Wilmar worked with. The exposed large screen films were sent to Publisher “de Spaarnestad”, where they were developed.

It is not known how this box of slides came into the possession of Hugo Wilmar.

Diapositive of Haile Selassie, the Emperor of Ethiopia, made by Hugo Wilmar in 1950
Color slide of Haile Selassie, the Emperor of Ethiopia, made by Hugo Wilmar in 1950

Composition in color

Haile Selassie with his dog in the palace gardens in Addis Ababa.
A photo from the same series, scanned from a black and white print.

The composition was clearly chosen for the color contrast between the blossom and Haile Selassie's uniform. The fact that this color contrast was deliberately used when making this photo is quite special. You wouldn't do this black and white film so quickly. There the contrast between dark and light is more important.

A large number of photographs of Wilmar and Kielich's visit to Haile Selassie have survived. Most of these photos can be found at the Spaarnestad Archive. The family archive also contains a number of photographs by Hugo Wilmar, who photographs Haile Selassie. These photos were taken by Wolf Kilich.

Color Film and Black & White Printing

All known photos from this series are black and white photos. The photo below is from the same series. However, only the black and white print of this photo has survived. It is possible that the photos stored in the archives are all black and white prints of the original slides.

However, it was known that Wilmar often worked with color film. As far as we have been able to ascertain, most of the original slides have disappeared. Only a few color slides have survived from his trip to Spain and Portugal. These color slides are in the possession of Louis Zweers. Of all other color photos, only the black and white prints are known. Up to now!

The photo on the right was taken by Wolf Kielich. Hugo Wilmar is sitting on the floor in Jaquet, photographing Emperor Haile Selassie. The back of the photo reads:

Hugh Wilmar, taking pictures of the Emperor of Ethiopia, Haile Selassie, “The Lion of Juda” at his palace gardens in Addes Ababa, in 1950. Compulsory outfit: Tails. Compulsory Position: Low (The Emperor was a very small man)

The slides will be digitized soon. They will then be published on this site. This digitization costs a lot of time, effort and money. We desperately need your contribution for this. Therefore, consider to become a friend of the Hugo Wilmar Foundation.

Hugo Wilmar photographs Haile Selassi. The photo was taken by travel companion and journalist Wolf Kielich
Hugo Wilmar photographs Haile Selassi. The photo was taken by travel companion and journalist Wolf Kielich

Other masterpieces:

Three birds on a roof

Three birds

The photo of a Rook, Raven and Hooded Crow, with which Hugo Wilmar won a photo competition…
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Rescue of the Beaver


In September 1952 Hugo wilmar published an article in “Outdoor Life Magazine, entitled…
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