We are excited to announce a S2,500 grant in partnership with Black Women Photographers, empowering individuals from both communities to advance their artistic journey. Read more about that here and enjoy this interview with BWP and Flickr member Ask.
1. Please introduce yourself. Who are you? What do you do? How long have you been into photography?
My name is Ask, and I am a multi-talented photographer with a focus on telling creative, authentic stories. Through storytelling and visuals, I celebrate people and communities. I have been practicing photography for six years.
2. In one sentence, please describe what you captured in this shot.
Sunlight illuminates through a scarf.
3. Why did you select this photo to share?
I believe this photo encapsulates the theme of this interview, “Light in Motion,” quite effectively, as the light passing through the scarves creates a sense of motion.
4. What style of photography would you describe this as, and do you typically take photographs in this style?
I would describe this photograph as a creative portrait. Yes, I typically create images in this style, often using the sun in innovative ways to illuminate my subjects.
5. When and where was this photo taken?
This photo was captured earlier this year in 2023, in my neighborhood in Accra, Ghana. It was during a different planned photoshoot but this particular picture was not planned. I noticed how the light was interacting with the infrastructure behind the model, and I wanted to utilize it creatively instead of simply illuminating her face. The photo was taken in my neighborhood. To achieve the desired effect, I turned the model’s face away from the direct sunlight, allowing viewers to see the light’s impact as I did in real life. I quickly retrieved some scarves that allowed the light to pass through easily and experimented until I achieved the desired lighting. Fortunately, the wind cooperated, blowing the scarf in the direction of the sun.
6. Was anyone with you when you took this photo?
Yes, the majority of the neighborhood children were present, as they often are during my photo shoots. I’m known in my community as the camera woman (although some refer to me as a cameraman), and my neighbors frequently invite me to their events for free photography.
7. What equipment did you use?
I used a Canon R camera paired with an 85mm lens and Lightroom for this shot.
8. What drew you to take this photo?
The way the light interacted with the roofing behind the model was indescribable. It occurred during the ideal lighting conditions at 3 pm when the sun wasn’t directly overhead, casting shadows precisely where I wanted them.
9. How many attempts did it take to get this shot? How long did it take you to get one that you were satisfied with?
Before retrieving the scarves, I conducted some test shots to determine the best positioning for the model. Once I had the scarves and returned to the scene, it took about 10 minutes to capture this particular image. I took a total of 8 pictures, with the 8th one being the one I’m sharing with you.
10. Did you edit this photo?
Yes, I edited this picture in Lightroom. I don’t premeditate the style of edit I want; instead, I put my pictures into Lightroom or Photoshop and let my creativity flow. I enjoy experimenting with colors, including adjustments to HSL, temperature, tint, and color grading. I firmly believe that experimenting and trying new things are fundamental to my creative process. If I’m not satisfied with an edit, I know I can always use the reset button in Lightroom.
11. What encouraged you to share this photo online and with others?
The title of this interview, “Light in Motion,” motivated me to share this photo. If you’re viewing this image, consider it an honor because I retrieved this picture from my archives without any initial intentions of sharing it.
12. Did you learn anything in the process of taking, editing, or sharing this photo?
I learned that the universe isn’t working against me; it’s working in my favor. Even a five-minute delay can result in a change in weather conditions, so the fact that the sun remained exactly as I needed it to during my absence reinforced my belief that the universe was on my side.
13. Do you remember what you had for breakfast (or lunch or dinner) the day you took this photo?
I do not remember, but it was likely a local Ghanaian meal so probably banku or red red.
14. What would you like people to take away from this photo?
Don’t miss your “wow” moments in life, and don’t force them either. When they are ready to happen, be prepared, be patient with yourself, and embrace your creative process.
15. Is there any feedback that you’d like to get on this shot?
I captured this picture not seeking feedback or validation. The instant excitement I felt when I finally got the shot was enough feedback for me at that moment.
16. How can anyone reading this support your work?
You can buy a print here. I would appreciate it if you could also share my work, recommend me for opportunities, and not only support me but also show support for other female African photographers. Here are a few you can start with: Adaezeokaro, Toniamarieparker, Curatedbyxandra, Angnm__, stnlens, and many more.