African Lens is an independent publication that offers a genuine look at Africa through the lens of Africans. Now in its fourth volume, African Lens is putting its focus on contemporary female photographers from around the continent and across the diaspora.
In a press release, the publication laments about the lack of platforms that celebrate the female gaze in photography. “We all need to advocate for female voices to be heard,” they write. “African women are intelligent, resilient, beautiful and have undeniable courage and dedication to the progress of our continent. Therefore, we need to ensure a gender balance in the public voices of our continent. It is only right women get the respect, admiration, celebration and love the have invested in generations.”
It’s in that spirit that African Lens gathered the works of these 11 female photographers in its latest issue: Heather Agyepong, Nancy Musinguzi, Delphine Diallo, Lyra Aoko, Sarah Waiswa, Adama Jalloh, Fundiswa Ntoyi, Hilina Abebe, Amaal Said, Jessica Sarkodie and Zarita Zevallos.
The results are as varied in styles as they are in themes. London-based portrait and documentary photographer Adama Jalloh, for instance, captured striking images of Imams going to an Islamic ritual called Saras in the Sierra Leonean community in her signature monochromatic tones. While Adama turned her lens to the Imams, Muslim women are represented by Danish-born Somali photographer Amaal Said who took their pictures against resplendent backgrounds of fuchsia, rich reds and deep purples.
Like their photographers, the subjects in the photos came from diverse backgrounds. Ghanaian-British photographer Heather Agyepong was inspired by Lady Sarah Forbes Bonetta, the West African adopted goddaughter of Queen Victoria, to create her photo series, while Ethiopian self-taught documentary photographer Hilina Abebe shone a light on a young woman who earns a living as a shoeshiner.
African Lens Volume 4 is available in two covers, “Motherland” and “Diaspora.” To purchase the issue, head to the official website.
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