Christina Nwabugo’s is influenced by natural landscapes and pivotal African photographers to birth positive orbits that preach to obscured Black creatives and rouse a voice to instigate change.
I thought we could just start by you telling me a bit about yourself and if you think/how this influences your work?
[I’m] British Nigerian Creator based in London. I am a vibrant green soul who lives for documenting real stories through real people. My work stems from travelling and meeting precious people and making long life memories. My influences are from the amazing natural landscape & African Photographers who visually led the discussion we are having to date. Blackness and what our movement looks like in all realms. My work speaks to the Black creative who feels as though their stories cannot be heard or told. I have grown to understand the power of the physical camera being a tool and decided to take up space in positive ways through my career. With love for creative communities and media I have merged both passions to collectively create art work with positive depiction at the forefront.
Can you introduce us to some of these people you have met and how they have influenced your creativity?
I’ll start from the root. I never met my Great Grandfather Thomas, the large format photographer from Abia state [in] Nigeria, however my creativity trickles down from Big Tom.
I am 1/8 of a creative agency called ‘InBloom’. We started off as innocent black girl magic, now we create strategy & campaigns for clients - growing as ‘IB’ was important for us individually as we could navigate within the creative space with guidance.
I have several key friends & mentors in London who have shaped/influenced me… Life experiences occur when seeking change: living in Morocco & working within a studio helped shape my story telling. [Also] travelling/researching & documenting. My influences stem from meeting creatives and having a reasoning session.
What inspired this fundamental necessity to speak about blackness and experiences as a black creative? Was this something that came from personal experiences or more external factors?
Growing up in the photography industry, I was very naive and unaware of my power. Back then I noticed a movement that was growing which was presented as an ode to celebrating black lives in the digital space! Back then there was no strategy set in place for making this a conversation. So yes, my personal experiences of not seeing familiar faces in growing platforms was what prompted myself to create. However, even now I don’t see my blackness as a token to prompt a feature - I see this as real-life work… I think now we all understand how important it is to use our voice and platform to make a change. Why wait? There are resources all around us
You speak a lot about positivity and using space in a positive way. Of course, positivity is good, but what makes a positive depiction so fundamentally important to you as an individual?
The meaning of space right now is important, where do people go to feel safe?
Whether online or in real life it is important for us all to see that space can be shared equally for celebrating & unapologetically existing.
As I’ve expanded in my career, I take responsibility in growing spaces both digitally and in real life because it is important to teach the community you are passionate about. Carving out space for positive depiction starts with leadership and voicing the pros in collectively building visual narratives. Not only do I take pride in teaching fellow creatives globally about absolute representation, [but also] questioning what really makes them happy as a creative?
I stress the domino effect of positive depiction of self in creative spaces proves others grow confidently knowing what they have to offer is valid. When a community feels valid, they’re able to be world teachers and also break down common stereotypes and increase room for others to join the conversation.
courtesy CHRISTINA NWABUGO
interview KATE BISHOP
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