Doctors Without Borders (MSF)
Nikon D3X, 105mm f/1.4
“Prejudice is a burden that confuses the past, threatens the future, and renders the present inaccessible” Maya Angelou My series with Ayo Akinwolere seeks to describe visually some of the restrictions he has felt being a Nigerian born black man living and working in Britain. Following the death of George Floyd, the BLM voice was amplified and the role of white privilege in unconscious bias and its far-reaching consequences exposed. This gave Ayo the confidence to speak out about his own experiences. The narrative of the series was designed around his voice: people’s distorted views of him, bound by the trauma of history, thwarted by misguided phraseologies of white people, the struggles of being made to fit within certain spaces in media… But then also undercurrents of hope looking towards the future, breaking free from these shackles of racism and inauthenticity through education and shifting attitudes. This portrait from the series contemplates the different ways Ayo is seen, how views of him are distorted and the feeling of being held back or imprisoned by these presumptions or prejudices (the vertical pattern in the glass lending itself to bars). Mottled glass was used to shoot through to light the background with a watery feel as a nod to the history of black slaves who travelled by boat.
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