From Belgium To Brit School: Meet Photographer Imaani Iris

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We virtually sat down with Croydon-based photographer Imaani Iris to find out more about her work and what inspires her. She had some interesting things to discuss along with some useful advice for young creatives today.

The young photographer born in a town called Liege In Belgium moved to Croydon to live with her grandparents. Inspired by London life, the many strong women she was surrounded by, as well as exploring her Belgian- Congolese culture Imaani started her photography journey.

Despite COVID-19 creating challenges in the way we work, many people are using this time to sharpen their skills and learn how to adapt to new circumstances. Keep reading to gain some insight and inspiration from Imaani Iris.

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What is the source of inspiration for your photography?

I appreciate a lot of creatives In the industry that are inspired by African cultures such as Flo Ngala and Karis Beaeumont. They’ve opened my eyes and made me realise the importance of creative direction in my photography.

What lessons have you learned that have helped you throughout your creative journey?

The main thing for me is patience, I have to remind myself that building my creative skills takes time. I'm learning not to rush putting my work out but prioritise maintaining a consistent style. I know I will eventually get to where I need to be.

How has your time studying at the brit school helped you?

I’ll be honest, I think it was really difficult for me being at school, it didn’t matter that I was at a performing arts school, I would often doubt my skills and techniques because I thought I wasn’t as good as my fellow classmates.  Finding my passion in photography has put me at ease. We had access to a lot of resources at the Brit school but I shied away from trying new things and didn’t make the most of all the resources available. However, from that experience, I have learnt to put myself out there, be more independent as well as collaborate with other creatives.

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What would you like people to know about Croydon?

Croydon holds a small community and everyone basically knows each other. I love the fact that Croydon brought me different cultures and friends. I have so much respect for the place I grew up in. There are so many young black creatives out there that are just waiting to showcase their talent that aren’t being heard.

How does your background and life experiences play a part in your work?

As a kid, I think experiencing certain traumas has allowed me to gain a different perspective on the world and how the world sees me. Growing up in a household full of resilient black women has taught me so much and prepared me to go into the world and showcase my best self with the confidence and resilience to tackle obstacles that may come my way.

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What are your thoughts on the future of the fashion industry?

I believe the fashion industry still has a long way to go in terms of how we use the world’s resources. Sustainability is the way forward for the fashion industry and I hope to see more action towards that.

We always like to leave our readers with a takeaway piece of advice, what would be yours?

Get to know yourself and be kind to what you create. Never neglect your trials and errors because that’s what brings opportunities and positive changes.