Africans. This word for me evokes images of the world’s most beautiful people, shades of brown similar to a box of chocolates given to a lover on Valentine’s Day. In the blackness, I find my ideal standard of beauty, a natural beauty revered by all, the residual genetics of which can be found strewn about the globe. Sun kissed skin wrapped tightly around muscles formed naturally by working the land as there are less means to encourage laziness. When I think of Africans I think of the wisdom of the elders, the smiles on the faces of children playing with simple toys. I think of the community and how they come together for weddings and funerals alike. They come together to raise the children because it takes a village. Africans are perfection.I captured this picture of my aunt in my mom’s village of Mbale, Uganda. A small village outside of Masaka, closer to Nyendo if you are familiar with the area. This is picture is one in a series called I AM_______.
The idea of the photo project is to change the ideas that the world has of Africans. So many of the stories that I see about Africans point to poverty, famine, hunger, lacking education, unemployment, barbarism, AIDs, HIV, malaria, corruption, civil war, need I go on??
May 2013, while in the north of Uganda, in Gulu, I started the project. I headed to a local stationary shop and bought chalk and a blackboard. I went around Gulu and other parts of Uganda explaining the mission of my project and asked people to write on the chalkboard filling in whatever word or words they wanted to after, I AM. I must say it took a bit of convincing to get people on board with the idea and when there was a language barrier I had friends help me translate my project concept. Some words the were written included, “educated”, “happy”, “bright like the sun” and “employed”.
I had a lot of fun doing this project and I hope to capture many more images as I continue my travels. You can find more of these images by clicking on the Photography tab and scrolling through. Let me know how you like the project.