Anselm Ebulue Q&A
Anselm Ebulue talks photography with TheBlkGaze.
I see the Black gaze as an alternate or oppositional perspective and viewpoint on account of my/our own experiences and reality.
But it also requires work. It requires a certain vigilance and an understanding that the dominant way of perceiving anything is often at the cost of Black people.
How does this relate to your photography practice?
If I take this into account then it requires me to ask questions of myself and my motives, to question who the work is for, whose reception of the work is most important and to look at the ways I represent anything in the frame, whether they are people or even just themes or symbols.
What do you want to say or address with your photography?
At present, due to the project I’m currently working on I’m interested in how I apply introspection to what I communicate through my work. It’s an ongoing headache.
What influences and inspires you? How is this reflected in your work?
I like to read when I can. I read a lot of non-fiction, I’m interested in history and philosophy. I’ve started to read more poetry too, which I think shares some parallels with photography in how you can communicate more than what is physically in the frame or the ink on the page in such a way that feels profound and striking.
Those parallels are things I think about when I’m walking around and thinking about why I want to put my camera in a particular spot.
Who are your favourite Black photographers from the past? Why?
To be honest, the majority of my favourite Black photographers are still working today, but I like the work of Gordon Parks, Roy DeCarava and Rotimi Fani-Kayode.
I consider myself mostly ignorant to a lot of the work out there by Black image makers and that’s in a large part due to the nature of Western education. So I’m always keen to discover Black artists I’m not aware of.
Please describe the highs and lows of your experience as a Black photographer?
Ironically I wouldn’t have been able to progress as far as I have as a photographer if I hadn’t been made redundant a couple of years ago. Essentially the lows stem from constant self-doubt as well as the understanding that it’s extremely difficult to make a living as a photographer and that it probably isn’t sustainable for me.
I’ve had some really wholesome moments over the last couple of years, but really the highs stem from whenever I’m working, whether on assignment or on personal work and recently in connecting with more photographers over the past year through social media and feeling part of a larger network.
What work are you producing and what more would you like to do?
I’m currently working on a project about my personal relationship with the the area I grew up in.
My hope is to study a Master’s degree later this year.
About Anselm Ebulue
London-based Anselm Ebulue is a portrait and documentary photographer. He was a winner in the 2018 Portrait of Britain award and was featured in the accompanying book published by Hoxton Mini Press.
He is a regular contributor for The Guardian and was awarded the 2019 scholarship for the Magnum Intensive Documentary short course. He was recently selected as a winner in the 2020 Portrait of Britain award.
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The Q&A is an ongoing discussion open to Black photographers of all ages, genders and genres.