Behind the Lens with Amarachi Nwosu
Meet Amarachi Nwosu, Nigerian-American filmmaker and photographer known for her captivating editorials and raw street photography. In this interview, we caught up with Amarachi to learn more about the woman behind the camera lens…
Tell us a bit about yourself?
Hmm, where do I start? I am a visual storyteller and writer that is passionate about telling stories that allow people to see the value in themselves. I want people to be able to see my work and recognize the power they have in themselves to manifest their greatest potential no matter their background. I chose this passion because I knew that there are many ways of expressing this whether through, film, photo, written or speech.
How did your love for photography come about?
My love for photography started from wanting to immortalize moments in my life. Pictures were a great way to reference my travels and allowed me to share with my friends. At a young age I became very enthusiastic about travelling but I realized that this was a privilege not everyone was able to experience, so I wanted to bring the experience to others through imagery.
Does your culture and identity as an African in America or even Japan, affect the way you take images?
I think that as an artist, our perspectives always affect the way we capture any kind of imagery or tell a story. I’m Nigerian-American so I have always been in this place where I was never “Nigerian” enough or “American” enough so I recognized early in life that I was a complex identity that could not be defined by a single category. This same complexity has also shaped my images because I want my images to create dialogue and allow people to question social constructs whether it be on race, gender, sexuality etc.
What was your experience like living in Tokyo?
My experience living in Tokyo was amazing. Being in a space where a lot of things were foreign to me, allowed me to really get to know myself and reflect on whom I wanted to be. The whole city is so inspiring from the architecture, art, food and fashion, so I was constantly shooting and capturing moments. I also met some very amazing people who helped me grow into the person I am today.
Of all the places you’ve visited, where is home and what does your city mean to you?
I’m at this weird point in my life where I can’t really call anywhere home because I have made a home out of myself. I haven’t lived in a city stably for over 4 years now so I’ve been forced to adapt and be out of my comfort zone.
However, I would call Washington D.C home because that is where my family is and where I was raised.
What do you love most about Lagos or Nigeria?
[bctt tweet=”I love Lagos because it inspires me to focus on solutions rather than problems.” username=”helloirinajo”]
There are so many people in this city who make something out of very little so it motivates me to be my best self and use my resources and platform to also uplift others.
Where are your favourite places to explore and photograph around Lagos?
I really love going to beaches in Lagos because I always run into kids who get really excited for me to photograph them. I also love how care-free they are because it reminds me to be grateful for the little things in life that God has given us.
Of all the photos you’ve taken in Lagos which would you say is your favourite and why?
I love the photo that I took on the beach with the two models who’s hands were separated, but were inline
I love this image because I feel like it blurs the notions of what makes a male and female in African society. For me, it expresses how connected we are, but also how divided we are by social constructs. I believe it also represent black beauty and love in many ways. There are a lot of layers to this image so it can be interpreted from very different perspectives.
Here at irin we’re all about sharing stories and enlightening our readers about African culture and travel, if you could go to any African country – where would you go and why?
I would really love to go to Ethiopia because I know the culture and customs in East Africa are very different from West Africa. I want to be able to see those differences first hand, connect with artist there and capture what makes Ethiopia unique compared to the rest of the world.
What advice can you give to aspiring photographers?
Do not be afraid to capture your truth and grow at your own pace.
You don’t evolve by comparing yourself to others or trying fit in, you evolve by taking risks and exploring and elevating yourself.
What is next for you?
I’m planning on releasing a documentary this year, Showing my work physically and speaking at panels. Overall, I want to continue travelling, capturing moments and finding unique ways to connect with my audience.