Taesirat Yusuf Q&A
The Black gaze to me means directing the focus of the world on to the Black creatives and showcasing the talents and versatility of Black creatives.
It is important because there’s not enough representation of Black creatives and we need to start pushing out ourselves to the world.
How does this relate to your photography practice?
The Black gaze matters to me as a Black female photographer because it spotlights me as a creative Black woman and through this, I feel seen by the world and my craft gets acknowledged too.
What do you want to say or address with your photography?
I am a fluid photographer in the sense that I do a little but of everything and don’t identify in a particular genre but regardless of that, I want to tell stories through my subjects, smash gender roles that society has forced everyone into conforming to, tell and showcase the beauty of Nigerian culture, the beauty of it’s people and the diversity.
What influences and inspires you? How is this reflected in your work?
Colours, lights and nature. I am intrigued by the way little changes in the lighting of a particular set can change the mood of an image and the use of colours. I am a fan of hard light and most of pictures show this. Also, I tend to bring out the colours in my pictures making them vibrant.
Who are your favourite Black photographers from the past? Why?
Carrie Mae Weems, Prince Gyasi and Adrienne Raquel.
Carrie Mae’s works inspire me because of the way she uses her light and shadows, the representation of Black history in her work and also the emotions behind her work.
Though Prince Gyasi and Adrienne aren’t black photographers from the past, I mention them because their works really inspire me. I love the way they play with colours and the way they evoke emotions with these colours using their subjects.
Please describe the highs and lows of your experience as a Black photographer?
My highs as a Black photographer are mostly the feeling of representing the Black community all over the work in a positive light, and the joy that comes from shooting and getting recognised as a Black female photographer.
My lows as a Black female photographer, a Nigerian photographer to be specific, is the lack of proper recognition of me and my works even though I push projects out consistently. It’s discouraging as an artist when your work doesn’t receive the reception you expect.
What work are you producing and what more would you like to do?
I am currently working on two projects, the first, FÁÀRÍ is already underway and I have two parts of it that have already been published on my social media platforms.
I would love to work more on projects that deals with me showcasing the African culture and struggles of Black people.
About Taesirat Yusuf
Taesirat Yusuf is a multidisciplinary photographer located in Lagos,Nigeria. She is known for her love of colour, melanin and the representation of Black beauty beyond the confines of the Western gaze.
Taesirat was one of the Black Women Photographers who documented the recent End SARS demonstrations in Nigeria.
Connect with Taesirat
The Photographer’s Q&A is an ongoing discussion that is open to Black photographers of all ages, genders and genres. To take part, start here.