My Image “A (quiet) Moment” was selected for the Top 100 CQ coffee table book for 2016.
My image “Crossing” was selected as the runner up in the Creative Quarterly 47 issue.
I find this work visually compelling. I love your use of color and light and the painterly quality that you bring to the images. I like that the subjects are shown as full human beings. I love how your lighting makes the subjects appear as if they are perhaps in a studio and that there is this vague sense of performance in the pictures. I think this is really important and counter-acts the usual pictures of African suffering we are used to seeing. I find it so exciting to see work like this. So often I find myself highly critical of the ways in which we from the West tend to view Africans as needing our pity or that the photographer feels that it is his/her job to show people how awful things are which often creates sympathy and a certain kind of awareness at the price of the humanity of the subjects. I found myself recently reading Susie Linfields Cruel Radiance which you may find interesting. As always I do think its important to consider what it means to photograph people who have been victimized in a way that gives them agency. I suggest you pick this book up if you haven’t already, a companion piece with a quite different but I believe complementary perspective is Susan Sontag’s “Regarding the Pain of Others”. I am finding myself wanting to see a lot more of these pictures, I want to enter these pictures and their richness and beauty the way I want to enter a beautifully illustrated book. I
I would however like more information and more pictures, I feel that if these are to be connected to the idea of the micro grants I’d like to know more, perhaps not specifically related to the photos, but I would love a poetic text that could give me some more information about this area and these people and what is happening with them. Perhaps you would consider working with a creative writer? I don’t know its just an idea, your pictures have a poetic aspect to them and it would make sense to have a good poetic writer.
While I can see the editorial use of this work I would encourage you to put your work forth within a fine art context. I would suggest that you do this aware of the complexities of post-colonialism and the western view of the other. I would love to see this work extend to other cultures and people (without ending up as some kind of Disney view of the world). I think there has to be more awareness of what happens in Africa and somehow more connections. I think your work helps. Really the bottom line is that I want to see more and to see you paired up with a poetic (ideally central African) writer.
If you haven’t you should read “The Fisherman” http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/19/books/review/the-fishermen-by-chigozie-obioma.html?_r=0