Delphine Fawundu on Beauty | 30 Days Unchained: Day 27 Tuesday 05 February, 2013

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30 Days Unchained/#30Unchained | Day 27 2/5/13 | Inspiration: Delphine Fawundu-Buford Skillful and honest, Delphine Fawundu-Buford is a photographer whose work attempts to capture truth. Delphine’s documentary-style uses raw imagery to explore various themes including gender, identity and community. A well-known name in photography, Delphine has photographed artists like Nneka, Erykah Badu and Busta Rhymes. She […]

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30 Days Unchained/#30Unchained | Day 27 2/5/13 | Inspiration: Delphine Fawundu-Buford

Delphine Fawundu-Buford by Ngozi

Skillful and honest, Delphine Fawundu-Buford is a photographer whose work attempts to capture truth. Delphine’s documentary-style uses raw imagery to explore various themes including gender, identity and community. A well-known name in photography, Delphine has photographed artists like Nneka, Erykah Badu and Busta Rhymes. She has also traveled extensively across Africa to document and research hip hop culture. Her art has been featured in several exhibitions, including Only Skin Deep at the International Center of Photography.

In one of her photography series, titled ‘Real Women’, Delphine captures a variety of women, from different backgrounds. This collection questions notions of “standard” in beauty. Delphine says: “Real Women explores the idea of ‘beauty’ in our society.  Who is beautiful? What makes a woman beautiful and by who’s standards? The project celebrates a myriad of women who reflect beauty in their own way.” This collection, that seeks to capture real women in all their variety, is the inspiration for today’s challenge…

Challenge (Find, Create, or Remix an image that answers the question): What is beauty?

Share your image(s) on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest and be sure to tag @liveunchained and use the hashtag #30unchained so we can shout you out! Be sure to follow us on FacebookPinterest and Twitter to keep up with the latest #30unchained news. 

Live Unchained: On your website you highlight a collection of photos called “Real Women.” Can you tell us about that project?

Photographs from “Real Women” by Delphine Fawundu-Buford

Delphine Fawundu-Buford: Real Women explores the idea of “beauty” in our society.  Who is beautiful? What makes a woman beautiful and by who’s standards? The project celebrates a myriad of women who reflect beauty in their own way.

I chose women from all walks of life. Some, I knew, others I met in passing.  The cool thing is that for some of the women, I had no idea what they looked like prior to shooting them.

As people look at this collection, I would like them to think about the “standards” that society creates which sometimes limits our perception of what is valid and not. Even beyond the societal standards of beauty — we live in a society that promotes a “normality” that tends to exclude and even demonize anything outside of that “normality (i.e religion, language, and other cultural values).”   This presents many conflicts in our society when dealing with people who reflect well established cultures that existed centuries before the development of Western  civilization. It is amazing how something as simple as beauty could have so many social and political ramifications.

LU: When creating photos, in general, do you always or often have a message in mind that you hope your viewers will grasp from your pieces?

DFB: The beauty of art is that it is often viewed from so many perspectives.  Whenever I create a project, I have an idea that I would like to get across.  It is great when people see the point that I am making with this art. However, I love it when people see even more than I intended.  When this happens, I have the opportunity to examine my own art through a new lens, this is a beautiful thing.

My Name is Aunt Sara from “Nina’s Four Women: An interpretation” by Delphine Fawundu-Buford

LU: What are some of the responsibilities or considerations that a photographer takes on when photographing people, in general, and people of other cultures?

DFB: This is a very touchy situation because there is a fine line between exploitation and true representation.  I am totally against exploitation in a deep and passionate way.  Photographs are very subjective.   Hopefully, my love for humankind is reflected in any photo that I take whether within or outside of my culture.

Nneka by Delphine

LU: What does living unchained mean to you?

DFB: Living unchained is living unrestricted, open-minded and free.

This interview is excerpted from a full feature with the artist. View the original article here.

30 Days Unchained/#30unchained is an interactive creative countdown to the Live Unchained Anniversary Celebration . Everyday for 30 days, we’ll share some of our most popular interviews with Live Unchained featured artists. They include women creatives of various disciplines from across the African diaspora. Her creative journey will be the inspiration for your challenge. To participate simply respond to the challenge question with images (not words). Share it on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest and be sure to tag @liveunchained so we can shout you out – it’s that simple. Learn more about 30 Days Unchained, including rules and prizes hereGet your daily challenge from Thursday, January 10th through the day of the big bash on Friday, February 8th at www.liveunchained.com.

Written by Kathryn Buford, Miriam Moore and Nesrien Hamid 

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