Photographer and Director
Founder of Nii Journal and Nii Agency
City of residence, LONDON, UK
COL: What are the main reasons you are joining us for the festival this year?
CA: The main reasons for joining the festival is to reach a wider audience with my work and to
be part of the collective of photographers you are/have exhibited such as Charlie Engman and
COL: What is the most important drive for you to create and why?
CA: The thing that drives me the most when creating is the need to document & express life I as see it. I like telling my stories through imagery and I think it’s about time that people, especially black people, began controlling our stories.
COL: Who or what do you value as a great inspiration for you creatively?
CA: Life and people around me. I am an avid people watcher, I get inspired by day to day life and its happenings. I value time and the ability to live in the present - those two things combined make for a great recipe for creativity.
COL: Can you elaborate on an important moment in your life where you experienced a big change, chose to make one or another event which altered your way of thinking or your approach to creativity ?
CA: When my mother had a miscarriage in 2015, it was a very spiritual and emotional period in my life. I had taken a break from life to visit her in Ghana and during this period I began shooting for pure pleasure alone. I hadn’t felt such release and enjoyment in photography for a while and shooting like that, without a cause - just to capture beauty, was very therapeutic. I ended up making a book of images for my brother who passed away, a book showcasing the beauty of our motherland that he sadly never got to see.
COL: How does digital and social media affect or inspire your life and creations?
CA: Social media and the sheer pace of it all makes me think of new ways of not succumbing to the need for content. I try to not be so heavily dependant or focused on social media when creating - however it’s an excellent tool to promote and find collaborators.
COL: How do you define art?
CA: Pure creation is Art to me.
COL: What is your definition of artistic freedom?
CA: Being able to create whatever you want, whenever you want, however you want and viewers accepting that.
COL: Is there a difference for you between art and commercial/commissioned work?
CA: It depends on what context, but most of the time yes because usually the client / commissioned work have restrictions or specific points that need to be hit, whereas I believe art should be free of all that.
COL: Do you struggle to find artistic freedom in the span between commissioned work and your personal needs to express yourself?
CA: Yes, I do sometimes but then I remember I am lucky to have Niijournal, a place where I can always express and create without restrictions.
COL: What do you aspire to? In the near future? In life in general?
CA: I aspire to keep being inspired and to keep creating. In the near future I’d love to direct a short film. Life in general, I aspire to be happy and healthy.
COL: How do you feel art and fashion intervene?
CA: I believe fashion can be an art form and art can be fashion. It’s all relative.
COL: What is a great example of a fashion art collaboration in your view?
CA: Raf Simons and Sterling Ruby / Dior is a collaboration that springs to mind instantly.
Alexander McQueen SS 1999 - Mcqueen inspired by artist Rebecca Horn High Moon installation, which in turn inspired him to have Shalom Harlow spinning and sprayed by industrial machines.
COL: Where do you think art and fashion is heading in our digital age?
CA: The digital age brought forth the fast paced necessity for images, work and fashion, hopefully we cycle back and slow down.