In honor of International Women's Day, THIS IS US and GIDA Journal have teamed up to celebrate African female photographers through a self-portrait series "Through Her Lens,".

The photo series features a curated selection of self-portraits and introspections, each telling a unique story and reflecting on the individuality, strength, and resilience of the woman behind the lens.



How do you define yourself? What elements would you say are part of your identity as a creative person? 

I would say as someone that is very intimate with her internal world, I often feel very close to the life/death/life cycles happening within and have an interesting relationship with transformation. My work often speaks to the many shifts we go through as a collective, and is itself a tool for my own expansion. 


Can you share any experiences or challenges you have faced as an artist (or as a professional) and how you have addressed them?

I often have very grand ideas and have faced obstacles in bringing those grand ideas to life. During my residency at Palm Heights in 2022, I learnt again the value of creating in a way that was simpler and more intuitive. There, I captured the shapes and movements of the natural environment around me, I worked with creatives who happened to align with me at the time, and I didn’t really put much time pressure on myself. It was almost a return to how I created when I first started photography. Today, I’m moving towards executing my grand ideas in a more organic and less pressured way. 


How do you approach the process of conceptualizing and executing your ideas? Can you share any insights into your creative process?

These days my ideas are often based on personal breakthroughs. I often land on a strong feeling or a thought brought about by a series of reflections or journal sessions that I feel called to document and share. I share for the people who may connect with it and also to help me further integrate the breakthroughs into my being. My ideas also come from things I want to learn more about. For example, Ouida was sparked by my fascination with water and wanting to see what I could learn about it from people who spent most of their lives by it. My process for executing at the moment is quite intuitive. I try to bring on people I feel would genuinely connect with the story and add something to it by their presence, and I encourage interesting conversations around the subject matter whilst working on it. It’s really all an opportunity to learn.


Your work often integrates elements of fantasy and surrealism. Can you share how these creative elements enhance your exploration of the human condition through your photography and writing. 

Currently I am particularly fascinated by world mythology. These stories often feature super interesting archetypes that touch on various aspects of our psyche as humans. For example, the old wise woman, the damsel in distress, or the maiden. Moving through these stories and integrating them into my work allows me to connect with certain aspects of myself more deeply. The aim is that through this process I may reconnect the various aspects of myself fragmented by internalised judgment and dismemberment. It's a form of shadow work for me, a route to feeling more whole and embodied. 


What are your dreams for your photography? What stories do you hope to tell? 

My hopes for my photography (and writing as well) is that it touches people in places maybe often neglected. That it helps them feel just a bit more seen, held, and empowered as they move through their own personal journeys.

I was having a conversation with Nasaria Suckoo Chollette - historian and storyteller - recently on a myth I’m building and she commented, ‘I am always spending so much time trying to uncover all that has been hidden from us for so long that I forgot that we can create our own and that what we create now will be the mythology for those that come after us. It’s actually quite freeing’. This really resonated with me and my desire to tell stories that help us free ourselves from the energetic weight of our past and evolve with more ease.



Is there a difference between play and work for you? How do you draw the line and what would you say is the key to your success as an artist?

It really depends. Sometimes there isn’t much of a difference. I take photos quite often. It has turned into a meditative practice for me, in addition to an opportunity to document special moments during my day. I recently started a newsletter where I share some of these photo meditations weekly with some reflections (It’s currently on pause). I’d say client work feels more like work as it requires me paying attention to briefs and doing my best to execute all that is required from me, there is a bit less room for play. I’d say the key to my success is finding more ways everyday to fall in love with my craft and have faith in what I am trying to create. In turn my work ethic grows, I attract more aligned clients, and I get creative opportunities that feel closer to home. 


Wami Aluko is a Nigerian conceptual photographer and creative director fascinated with exploring the human condition in visuals and in writing. By integrating elements of fantasy and surrealism, her work aims to expand the ways in which people and seemingly mundane occurrences and objects are perceived. See more via her website and Instagram.

Wami wears the Uniform wear Collared Long Sleeve Shirt in Full Circle Empty Circle Print