The misrepresentation of Africa has become a pressing issue, affecting Africa’s imagery around the globe. Several creatives across the continent continue to hammer for new representations, using art as a medium to clamour for a change.
Hadassah is one of the many creatives on a mission to drive new narratives, most especially that of the African child. For her, representation should be of equal proportion. The bad doesn’t have to outweigh the good as we’ve seen in past records of the media’s portrayal of African children.
“One thing that prompted me to go into photographing children is that most of the representation of the African child on the internet, the news and in the western world is very bad. I understand that there is poverty, but at least let them be shown in their happy state and in a serene environment. I decided to do this to change the narrative. For me, photography is actually a tool for reaching a destination.”
It is also interesting to note Hadassah always loved children and art, a combination that eventually found a base in her story. “I have always been a lover of art, and one of my dreams, when I was young, was to be a paediatric surgeon, but life happened and I found myself in the faculty of engineering. I love art so much and I realised people were using photography to create art and that was fascinating for me. I volunteer a lot for several children’s outreach and orphanage homes and I felt, okay, what can I give back? And I decided photography was perfect.”
In a conversation with The Moveee, Hadassah takes us through what a typical day is like for her as an African child photographer and shares juicy fun facts about herself.
What time do you wake up? What’s your morning routine?
I wake up between 4 am – 5 am, pray and commit my day to God, my Maker (very important). Then I join next-level prayers every weekday. My skincare morning routine is next and I don’t joke with it.
After, I share content on my social media page and update my status with interesting content, learn new things about newborn photography or how to use different photography gear or editing.
Then I check my schedule for when I have a photo session next with the African child.
Once I confirm that, I set up every prop and gadget needed in the car and drive down to my location.
A baby’s photo session takes an average of 3 hours. Capturing the African child is no joke and because I am particular about representing them in the most appealing way, I take my time to get the best image out of every session.
Towards evening, I am mostly exhausted after a day’s session and just drive back home in Lagos traffic.
When I get home, I eat, freshen up, read, then sleep depending on what my body dictates. I cannot kill myself.
How many hours of research do you put into achieving every shoot?
My research takes nothing less than a month, at times it takes more weeks because I want to deeply understand my baby’s parent and what they want and how they want it. Anytime, I rush my research, it is always evident in the outcome of the photo session.
What’s a child photography hack you’ve mastered over the years?
I connect with any and every baby, it might take time but we end up vibing. I mean any age range.
Which photograph is your favourite so far, and why?
A photograph of a beautiful baby girl who was my first model. We’ve grown together over the years. She’ll be 6 soon. She now dictates what she wants and how she wants it.
What are three things you’ll never be caught doing?
Unproductive talks, cheating, partying frequently (how do people even attend parties like it’s daily work? I have never been to a club, I can count how many events I attended this year).
What’s a thing everyone hates but you love?
I eat bread and rice at times. I also sprinkle cold water on my bed before sleeping because it is so cool and refreshing. A lot of people find it awkward.
Wow, you sprinkle water on your bed?
Yes. Sometimes, I use ice cubes and spray my perfume on the bed. Sweet dreams are guaranteed.
What would you do if you were given a lion you can’t give away or sell?
I love animals and cats. I have several dogs. We will roll well, I’m sure. I’ll train her well. I think I’ve some skills in training dogs.
What’s a quote you live by?
It’s another beautiful day to save lives! It serves as a daily reminder for me to always put a smile on at least one person’s face.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
I would have listed a lot I’d want to change if I got this question a few months back but right now, I know it’s all a process and I couldn’t be in a better place. I am also confident in HIM who created everything that better days are indeed very close.
Jollof rice or fried rice?
Who are your Top 10 photographers?
Babies by Bazaal.
Coos and Clicks.
Gaz Madu Studios.
Mr Mof Media.