Darnell Temenu Q&A
Darnell Temenu talks photography with TheBlkGaze.
The Black gaze means to express, inspire and create from your own unique point of view in the world, without any limitations or boundaries.
How does this relate to your photography practice?
Exploration is a huge part of my photography, I love to travel and document new places, meet new people and understand new cultures.
The generation before us didn’t have the luxury and freedom that we do when it comes to exploring freely and making connections around the world so easily as we do now, I feel it’s a duty we have now to use this to it’s fullest.
What do you want to say or address with your photography?
I want people to look at my images and be inspired in some way, shape or form, creativity is the purest form of energy in the world and I believe everyone should tap into it.
What influences and inspires you? How is this reflected in your work?
The everyday inspires me, maybe a series I’ve watched, an album I’ve listened to, a restaurant I ate at, a theatre show I went to – everything is a source of inspiration.
My images are very spontaneous for the most part, such as life is.
I tend to walk and talk with my models whilst finding spots to shoot.
Who are your favourite Black photographers from the past? Why?
Chi Modu for sure! If you don’t know who he is please google him I’m sure you’ve seen his images before. He’s documented artists such as Tupac, Biggie, Snoop Dogg, Mobb Deep and many others.
And what really drew me to his work is how natural the images were he got a-lot of candids of them in their natural elements which humanised these larger than life characters.
His travel work in Nigeria, Bangladesh, Burma & Syria is also really inspiring and really showed me that your camera can take you to places you’d never imagine and open conversations you may not have been able to do without it.
Please describe the highs and lows of your experience as a Black photographer?
I’d honestly say I’ve experienced a majority of highs as my experience of being a black photographer and the lows are all learning experiences.
Being black British of Nigerian descent it’s allowed me to instantly connect with others within my space opening up various opportunities from people with similar backgrounds to me, I’ve been in Hong Kong and connected with Nigerians out there simply because of where we come from it’s one of the best feelings.
I’d say for lows sometimes I’d say even though being black is one of the biggest parts of my identity I’d like to just be seen as a photographer sometimes and not championed because of the colour of my skin.
What work are you producing and what more would you like to do?
At the moment I’m working on a-lot of fashion and portrait work, I’m trying to work with more magazines and produce more editorial style work.
I’m also putting a huge focus on my YouTube channel at the moment as I think it’s a great space to expand your creativity, document your process and inspire others.
About Darnell Temenu
Darnell Temenu is a freelance fashion and portrait photographer and content creator based in London, England. His growing YouTube channel offers great insights into how he approaches his photography work.
Take part in The Q&A
The Q&A is an ongoing discussion open to Black photographers of all ages, genders and genres.