To celebrate his role as Guest Editor for our final edition of ‘A Family Affair’, Ib Kamara has created a series of portraits of his friends and contributors. With the limitations of the pandemic in play, the production could be nothing more than the absolute basics. Stripped back to a conversation between Ib, his camera and his subject, what resulted was a series of images that act as a call to action to the fashion industry. Authentic, powerful and filled with integrity, Ib’s photographs share the artist’s singular vision: a portrait of the future as it should be. Below, Ib recounts his memories of the shoot.
There was a lot of laughing and catching up as I shot everyone for this project. In the midst of a pandemic, connection with everyone I used to freely dance and eat with felt like the most precious moment. It was a beautiful sight for everyone involved - like catching up with family from far away and hearing all the wonderful stories and the things they’d been up to and the challenges they had overcome. Only this time it was a pandemic, and it felt beautiful to hear how we all went through it.
For every contributor I shot, I wanted them to feel their most beautiful; their most comfortable and most importantly, to let them speak to the camera. After all, with all that we have collectively gone through, there are so many questions I can ask.
I do a couple of editorials a year and most of the time there is so much research and production involved. But this time it was very much me, my camera and my friends in front of it. Browns sent us designer samples for the story which led to a lot of dressing up before the shoot. Everyone had to do their own makeup which was brilliant. It did not feel forced, instead it was: “do what you can and let’s create what we can.” I really love that community spirit of people just doing the best they can and letting go.
As we shot the stories everyone brought out another side of themselves. It seemed very celebratory but yet personal. That’s the feeling I get looking back at the images we created collectively as a community. Everyone was able to feel part of the process and I really wanted them to be able to choose the photo they felt most comfortable with. It’s important that my friends share with the world images in which they feel empowered.
Shooting all the designers we had for the story was also beautiful - to see the joy that putting on a suit or a dress brings to the camera is just perfect. Just the thought of wearing something new can sometimes bring a completely new character out of you.
This project felt like a community of people coming together to have a celebration, to reconnect and to find a middle ground for love and acceptance. To re-tie the beautiful bond we all have and share.
Photographer: Ib Kamara
Stylist: Ib Kamara
Hair Direction: Virginie Moreira
Models: Awut Atak, Yannick Konan, Omo Naij, Ottawa Kwami, King Owusu, Marc Biakath
Fashion Assistants: Sally Bottomley, Felix Paradza and Jon-Eric Hegemann
Set Design: Studio Augmenta
Photography Assistant: Cameron Ugbodu
Words: Ib Kamara