Kester Onyemaechi Q&A
Kester Onyemaechi talks photography with TheBlkGaze.
The Black gaze to me simply means being different. Everyday I see photographers and I go, “What goes on in the head of these guys?” I want that for me someday, I want people to wonder and crave how I think.
How does this relate to your photography practice?
I’ve always wanted to see things differently, and that’s what I try to do with my photography. Everyday I’m trying to create uniqueness, and I hope I succeed.
What do you want to say or address with your photography?
I shoot documentary, portraits, events and sometimes streets. With my documentaries, I want to address societal issues and create awareness towards them. With the street, I want to show changes and everyday movement in the street and with portraits and events, I just want to make money.
What influences and inspires you? How is this reflected in your work?
I want to tell stories with my photography, and that’s why I shoot the way I shoot. That’s why I shoot what I shoot. I find myself shooting in batches even in events, because I want people to move from one image to another with interpretations.
I just want to document pivotal points in the Black experience
Who are your favourite Black photographers from the past? Why?
I love works from Andrew Esiebo. How he tells stories with every image is quite captivating.
Please describe the highs and lows of your experience as a Black photographer?
Well, as a Black photographer I think we struggle twice as hard to get the gears and all that, especially for some of us that are not from wealthy backgrounds. We have to bite the dust just to get what we want.
The struggles have been real. I go online and see people from other races say they have so so so amount of cameras, and only a few people can say that here, and they can’t even say it out because they might come out as insensitive. It’s tough out here, but we’ve been making things work.
What work are you producing and what more would you like to do?
I’m currently going to start all over again on my works on the albino Community after my hard drive crashed with the images in it. I’m working on an inclusive story for people living with albinism. Hopefully they’re reciprocal enough to help me document them more and it comes out how I want it.
About Kester Onyemaechi
Lagos-based Kester Onyemaechi is a portrait photographer whose photography will change the world.
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The Q&A is an ongoing discussion open to Black photographers of all ages, genders and genres.