Adaeze Okaro’s photography aims to thrash stereotypes and showcase the beauty of Black men and women

Adaeze Okaro’s photography aims to thrash stereotypes and showcase the beauty of Black men and women

In terms of what Adaeze has achieved through the Artist Development Fund commission, the photographer has produced a series exploring three of the creative briefs presented by Adobe Stock: Celebration of Self, Joyful Rhythm, and Beliefs and Rituals. The other briefs include Identity and Gender; Circles of Activism; Veterans Return; Taste of Heritage; and Family Life – each of the selected artists will centre their work on these topics.

With these creative briefs in mind, Adaeze’s series photographs her subjects in their own personal spaces and homes. “I took a long look at myself and the people around me, where I come from, the people who have grown with me and the people I’ve created amazing work with,” she says. “When I had this moment, I just knew I wanted people to see more and feel more from what I was going to create with my diverse range of beautiful photography subjects.”

Not only is the series inspirational, but it also pinpoints the type of work that’s really needed to create a more diverse and inclusive stock imagery landscape. A true joy to behold, the series sees Adaeze’s models in mid-laugh, happily tossing their arms into the air and giggling towards the lens. Speaking about one of her models, named Alexander Ubochi, Adaeze says that she was “such a diva”. She adds: “She made my experience with her so smooth, playful and very colourful.” Adaeze wanted to capture her in different motions and locations, “so every day was like an entirely different series of radiance and style.”

Adaeze is an advocate for the Artist Development Fund due to its commitment to inclusivity and diversity. She says: “I love how everyone is welcome and everyone has a stage to be represented and shown for everything that they are.” As the series becomes available for Adobe Stock users worldwide, she hopes that people will feel represented and appreciated by looking at (and using) her work. “I hope it stays with them; they don’t have to be anything else but themselves.”

We’re sure you’ll be inspired by Adaeze’s impactful work, and perhaps you’ve also been encouraged to pick up a camera and start documenting your own vision or community. If this sounds like you, then submit your visuals to the Adobe Stock collection and help change the media landscape for the better. But before getting stuck into it, Adaeze suggests that you begin shooting with your friends, your community and your favourite people. “Let them inspire you and vice versa,” she says. “You don’t have to break the bank for outfits or costumes; your props for your first best-selling photo can be right in your wardrobe or garbage.” Otherwise, Adaeze points out that research and communication are key. “Work more with people who love your work, and see the good work you’re trying to do and achieve through them. It makes everything go smoothly.”

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