Yagazie Emezi is a documentary photographer from Aba, Nigeria, but mainly living in Lagos when she can. Emezi started her photography journey in early 2015 and since then it has been a never-ending series of challenges, growth and dare, and enlightenment, she says.
“The majority of my work centers around women - our health, sexuality, education and beauty. However, my curiosities carry me to other topics and issues and open me further to human experiences, challenges and triumphs,” Emezi explains.
We featured a collection of her images on the @worldphotorg feed.
We are in a time of women facing gender-based violence, weak economic capacity, paired with discrimination resulting in unequal and sometimes complete lack of access to education and healthcare, there's early marriages, and on a global level, women of color and darker skin tones not being represented properly across media. It's really a matter of why not.
Why photography? What does the medium mean to you?
At this point, I can't imagine a life without it and it's hard to figure out why it took me so long to know that it was the right path for me. I come from a family of storytellers and great orators. At first I drew, wrote, made videos and when I eventually stumbled across photography it was more of a, "Oh, there you are", moment. I believe that there is always a strong element of indulgence with all artists and for me, photography has allowed me to connect with people I never would have had I been doing something else. And in return, I have connected others through shared human experiences and stories. I think that's the essence of it all - connection.
Not quite. There is little distinction between who I am as an individual and who I am as a photographer. Photography is an art form that is in every bit, very human. It has the power to grant us access into spaces and lives and what we do with it, is a strong responsibility. Holding a camera is not just holding a tool, it's holding emotions and experiences and not just looking at them, but also looking back at yourself. How does this affect a life? How does it affect mine? On a practical level, it's about finding balance between doing work that is simply, true.
What inspires you for each of your projects?
Most times, the work has already begun before I realise that the inspiration and motivation are always surrounding. Interacting with other people and communities is a huge component to my projects and most of it is circumstantial before I realise that there may be a story. Then again, there's always a story. For my personal projects, I am definitely always inspired by own memories and experiences and how I can reshape and share them.
What are you currently working on?
At the moment, I'm trying to shift my focus a bit away from documentary photography and more into studio photography where I can construct the ideas in my head and make the fantastic tangible.