Beautiful Black Women…
Beautiful Black Women was the beginning of me visionally expressing my own challenges and understandings of the notion of beauty.
After having worked in-house for British Vogue followed by assisting Nick Knight, I walked away overloaded by the world of fashion. With so many unfinished sentences and questions in my head, none made sense.. ‘What just happened?’, ‘What is beauty?’, ‘Why did we just shoot her for the front cover of Vogue?’, ‘What makes her so amazing? Is it a scientific formula? What society wants? What we tell society they want..?’. The questions were endless driven by pure curiosity, yet they were exhausting.
When I started my own career these questions unknowingly guided me to Africa. After a 5-day charity bike ride through Kenya I continued to travel the country, then later to Tanzania where I photographed the Beautiful Black Women. The results are these striking images of women highlighting their inner beauty.
As with most heart-felt stories you read about people traveling through remote villages, mine is not too dissimilar. I too was welcomed in by strangers, given the blankets off of their own beds to use, showered in a hand-built cubicle while pumping cold water from a 44-gallon drum, had a drop-hole for a toilet, sparingly used electricity that was connected to a car battery and even had a chicken killed in ceremony for my welcome dinner that I saw minutes before running freely in the field.
What was different for me; the ability to spend time with a culture to understand it. To be apart of it. To connect to it, get below a surface that was deeper than a puddle. It’s this balanced perspective that enables me to align my understandings and when I create these opportunities something amazing happens to me… It’s called the meaning of life. It will happen to all of us at some point, this is just when it happens to me.
The Beautiful Black Women is the first of many series. You see, image is powerful. And as an artist, I believe my responsibility is to show the less covered stories equally as much as the commercial work I get paid for. It is up to us, as individuals, to decide what beauty is.
For me, beauty is everywhere. Beauty comes from within. If you’re open to seeing it, you’ll see beauty in all differences.
To buy a limited edition print from the series Beautiful Black Women please visit my shop