Elsie Kibue-Ngare Q&A
The Black gaze is looking at Black people and their experiences from the Black perspective without the interference of the ever so present White gaze. It matters as it is an opportunity for telling our own stories as our representation of who we are matters and not the idea of who we are from ‘the other’. – Elsie Kibue-Ngare
How does the Black gaze relate to your photography practice?
This relates to my photography practice by trying to be in spaces where I would not imagine myself in. For example, not many Black women photograph sports and I would like to see more of us venturing into sports photography which is a very (White) male-dominated field.
What do you want to say or address with your photography?
I hope my photography addresses the inequality within certain fields be it in front or behind the camera.
What influences and inspires you? How is this reflected in your work?
I am inspired by photography that tell a story or those that make you stop and wonder what the photographer was thinking when they took a particular image. Photography is all about observation and in my work, I like to think of the mundane as part of the process to building my portfolio.
Who are your favourite Black photographers from the past? Why?
Malick Sidibe and Seydou Keita – both photographers had similar styles in photography with their community studio portraits and celebration photography that have stood the test of time. The whole notion of people dressing up and posing in front of the camera, even though shot in black and white, you get a sense of colour and pomp in each photograph.
Please describe the highs and lows of your experience as a Black photographer?
Highs – meeting other photographers who I can relate and engage with, studying photography and graduating with two degrees, being able to navigate spaces I wouldn’t even think of because of my photography.
Lows – lack of a steady income from my photography, being denied access to certain spaces due to ‘lack of experience’, when people what to pay your with exposure, lack of Black mentors to steer you in the right direction.
What work are you producing and what more would you like to do?
Production of work is on hold at the moment due to the pandemic, but I would like to get back to photographing more portraits, sports and work on my skin ailments project.
About Elsie Kibue-Ngare
Elsie Kibue-Ngare is a Kenyan born photographer based in London, UK whose focuses primarily on portraiture, documentary, sports and events. She is the queen of the 30-day photography challenge and a published photographer who recently completed an MA in Documentary Photography and Photojournalism.
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