Photography within certain communities can be so challenging sometimes...

April 01, 2017

Photography within the Asian, African, Caribbean and  Muslim community can be so challenging sometimes, that is why It is good to talk, otherwise, how will you ever learn or know the answer to your questions, in 2017 ignorance is no excuse.

That is why asking a respectable question about a certain community and its cultures when it comes to business opportunities or in my case Photography, can help to open and keep doors open.

Some communities continue to remain very strict, that may not be said of the younger generation who are very receptive to a balance Asian, African, Caribbean, and Muslim fashion culture, along with what they feed on via the daily media and music culture, within certain boundaries of their faith or community traditions unlike some of the older generation.

I can remember doing a family shoot of a mother and her two daughters, she was so happy with her images, until she showed her grandmother the proof of her images.

Her order of a canvas framed enlargement and some folios of images for her family was lost after her grandmother question, "why spend so much money on photographs",  her grand daughters who was a mother of two and a community Care Manager, and yet she upset me by cancelling her order and just took a couple of reprints instead.

Some communities are very well served by members of their own communities, by professional Wedding Photographers, and sometimes, outsiders are not always welcomed to capture images outside traditional needs, such as for a Wedding Event. 

For example, many Muslims may not even consider having a family professional portrait done, according to their belief, especially by outsiders.

However, if you do not ask you will never know, since not all Asians, Africans, Caribbeans and Muslim view photography and family portraits the same.

That is why I have always had different nationalities and women Photographers in my network, like The Image Makers Network, who I can call upon for advice, since it could be the reason why a potential business door of opportunity is open to me, even If I have recommended another  photographer outside my normal comfort zone to cover or do a job in their own name.  

Once images are taken, it would not be recommended for them to appear on public view, like a website or social media, unless you have permission to do so in a typical photographers business  contract, again it is about respecting their religious boundaries of their faith and their feelings, especially a Muslim family or Muslim women, this would be most advisable, trust me.

However, if a person wants to have professional images of their family growing up or their partner, even as a couple, such images will probably be kept private by them, however, I am not sure about the younger generation interpretation of the word "private".

As I have  respectfully said, many communities are becoming receptive to Professional Photography Images for all types of reasons, and if we do not ask the question, we will never know the answer to their photography needs.

Times are changing, and many communities have open the door to outsiders, and such doors of opportunities in certain communities are also becoming a potential lucrative opportunity for creative business of Image Makers, especially if you are good at what you do.

As per one well known African-Caribbean Photographer, he  took the initiative as an outsider to the Asian wedding market, by putting a package together and demonstrating by educating them, that there was a need for his services and skills in their community.

As Image Makers, we keep saying, if you do not ask, as well as show a potential client  something they can buy into, how will you know the answer to your questions, how true is that.

It may not be for you, but it will definitely be there for the next generation of Images Makers coming up, because they will not be afraid to ask a question, respectfully about any business opportunities.

Because sadly, even in 2017, some communities are more comfortable in working with their own from their own ethnic communities, even tribes or villages or regions, and if that is the case, I guess we have to accept that.

As a person of colour, I just wish some people who look the same, would not make a federal case out of it, because the best person for the job may be outside your normal comfort zone, a different part of the Africa, Asia, even the Caribbean, religion or culture. 

As a young photographer in the days of film, I know what it is like like working for a Photography company and they have to be mindful, which part of the country they send me, since their business came first, as well as having two mothers refusing me access to taking photographs of their kids because of the colour of my skin.

The one complicated objection was based on good old fashion  racism, and the other was based on  again, good old fashion ignorance and stupidness of people who look the same, unless  they are both the same.

The link below may not be the most acceptable comments of authority regarding Muslims and photography, but if you don’t ask you will never know.






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