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You Are Beautiful
A Photograph by Adetutu Adeniran
The camera does not see as the human eye sees. This fact is so uncomplicated its truth is worth rediscovering, at least in the case of this photograph. I know it is the picture of a face, but I also know it is not a face as it was at the time of being pictured. This is equally an obvious distinction to make. What I mean to say—why it has seemed important for me to restate these two foundational notions—is this: to the camera and photographer, a face is a kind of proposition.
Adetutu Adeniran: “The photograph documented who I had become.”
The photograph was taken in my hostel on the morning of the day I signed out from University. I had just finished my makeup and wanted to document the look as well as the nostalgic feeling I had. It was the beginning of an end.
In the photo, my hair is covered with a scarf to make it slick. I posed myself, turned my face to show the outline of my face and took the photo.
In post-production, I added the emotion I felt to the photograph.
It's a special photograph because it was a conscious effort to document myself in a happy moment. I don't always do that but that day I woke up feeling serendipitous.
The photograph documented who I had become. I gained admission at a young age and after spending seven years in school, I changed. It made me aware of the person I had become. The photo was a culmination of the experiences and transitions up to that morning.
My approach to photography is experimental. I have an idea, create a mental image then set out to recreate it with my phone camera. When shooting, I usually allow myself freedom to try new things because you can never know what you'll find on the other side of imagination.
Photographs are memoirs too. They hold thoughts, feelings and memories the same way a journal does. And in that way, we can always go back and read them.
As a creative, photography is a medium that allows you to fail and fail again till you get it. There are exceptions but most times, you can take 5 to 6 shots in seconds, edit and re-edit till you find the right image.
Two other photographs by Adetutu Adeniran
Last Week — Silvia Rosi
I'm impersonating my young mother before I met her, when she was a school girl and working as a market seller in Lomè. This portrait is a way of creating a memory that doesn't exist—at least not in my head—that comes from someone else's recollection and sharing of that memory.
Read more: Self-Portrait as My Mother in School Uniform
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This is the 29th edition of the newsletter. Every week I feature one photograph and the photographer who took it. You’ll read a short caption from me, and a statement from the photographer. My goal is to set up conversations with the work of early to mid-career African photographers. If you know of any photographer whose work is deserving of attention, please email me with their name(s).