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“Lock up your libraries if you like; but there is no gate, no lock, no bolt that you can set upon the freedom of my mind.”

FOUR: WOC Fashion Photographers

WHITNEY MITCHELL

“As a late bloomer, finding myself as a creative in my older 20s, I wanted to start creating moments that would make me feel good about my liver splotched back, dark forehead and being a black woman in the south.” - W. M. (courtesy of Blativity)

I am on instagram 24/7 and because of that, I spend a lot of time scrolling through the same calculated photos usually posted to the blogosphere. Perfectly placed food, and outfits assorted immaculately are something that I find appealing, but at this point it is repetitive. What is interesting about Whitney Mitchell, or @twomacks, is her genuine use of space and juxtaposed color. When looking at her instagram, you can tell she is not following a popular formula. I’m reluctant to classify her as a fashion photographer (because she seems like so much more than that), but she does have some influence on my personal style. Mitchell is a New Orleans based photographer that exudes freshness and creativity in the saturated world of instagram influencers.

Margaret Zhang 

“Leibovitz, Dali, Penn and Wilde would all agree: a sitting goes one of two ways. You either receive a constructed projection of how your subject would like for you and the universe at large to perceive them, or the photographer or artist in control projects their interpretation of the person onto the image.” - M. Z. 

If anyone is going to make it to the ranks of Annie Leibovitz and Patrick Demarchelier is Margaret fucking Zhang. To be quite frank, she might already be able to compete with them. The work that Zhang is capable of producing is absolutely amazing. On top of being an amazing creative director, stylist, and photographer, she is also in the midst of completing a Bachelor's degree of Commerce AND a Bachelors degree of Laws at The University of Sydney. She has worked with some of the top fashion publications such as L’Officiel, Harper’s BAZAAR, NYLON, Marie Claire, Buro24/7, and ELLE. She’s also only 23.

Nadine Ijewere

“The flower is a raw and beautiful element and one that cannot be created by man alone.” N.I.

I'm going to go out on a limb and state that Nadine Ijewere should be considered one of the most relevant fashion photographers in the world. Ijewere is a London based artist that focuses her work on showcasing the beauty of culture, diversity, and of all women–not just the ones we constantly see plastered across magazines. If there is something that I appreciate most in a photographer, it's their commitment to their style. It's something a lot of photographers struggle with, but Ijewere has it sorted. In one of her recent projects, "Misrepresentation of Representation", she challenges the stereotypes depicted in editorial fashion. Her consciousness paired with her attention to complementary color and texture, makes her one of my favorite artists of the moment. 

Read more about Nadine in an interview written by  i-D Magazine. 

Yagazi Emezi 

“Lagos is a city that can quench and build on the thirst of the most extreme explorer.”  - Y.E.

Yagazi Emezi is a Nigerian photographer who is popular for her documentary, fashion, and travel photography. While traveling around the African continent, Emezi is able to capture the most beautifully raw moments she experiences. In that, Emezi is interested in changing the way people think about Africa. She describes her work as a "dedication to the cultural preservation of the African aesthetic" which makes her, in my mind, one of the best examples of a visual story teller.  In addition to her incredible interdisciplinary work, she studied Cultural Anthropology and African Studies in the United States. 

Emezi also has an awesome youtube channel everyone should check out.