MARTA, PHOTOGRAPHER, ANGOLAN.
I am very lucky to be friends with phenomenal African women and I constantly come in contact with many.
I have always been intrigued by what makes people who they are and what decisions lead them to where they currently are and how their identity - in this case, as African women contributed to that. In this series, I explore this.
This week I am in conversation with Marta. Photography is my favourite means of experiencing art and I appreciate the multidimensionality it allows art to have. We have all seen beautiful things but the things that really move us are those which have depth and expression that not only draw us in but hold our attention, Marta's work is the epitome of that and when I first saw it, I knew I had to speak to her.
For those who don’t know you could you please introduce yourself
My name's Marta Camarada and I would describe myself as a documentary and travel photographer, space enthusiast and ocean lover.
What does it mean to you to have the opportunity to represent young women like yourself?
There definitely isn’t enough representation of young black women, any black women period. I think platforms like this one are crucial in giving us a voice, and I’m definitely passionate about representing women like me in my photography. I look to shoot personalities that I find interesting and different, I think telling those stories are important because we’re so varied and I want other young people to be inspired.
What do you hope young women see when they see your photography?
Themselves or what they could become. I want my work to spark something in you, whether it’s to make you book a trip or take up a new hobby, it’s important to see people that look like you doing things you don’t necessarily think they would.
What inspires you creatively?
Many things inspire me, mainly people. ~But inspiration is very difficult to track down, I’d say I’m inspired by a lot of things, spirituality, travel, family, movies, whatever- somehow it always comes back to people though.
Have you had any difficulties creatively? - finding your style/ voice and outlet? If so how did you overcome them?
Definitely. I still don’t know what my voice is, I’m figuring myself out. I don’t think you ever really overcome creative difficulties and I think it’s important we accept that.
How I try to 'overcome' it is by leaving it alone, never force it, just go do something else- that’s my advice. Also, try your best not to seek perfection in everything you do, trial and error is important.
What advice would you give any young girl who has the same interest as you?
Try to meet people like yourself, if you’re introverted (like me) use the internet that’s your best friend. 75% of my portrait shoots happened by reaching out to people via Instagram DM’s if you see someone that looks interesting just go for it. If you’re into documentary/street photography go out and shoot, grab a friend if you feel awkward at times and just shoot what you see, also helps if that friend's a photographer but this is not necessary.
Lastly, try to save money and take a course in whatever you’re interested in, I took a weekend photography course once and it was the best thing I could have done for myself.
Do you think having African roots has shaped you as a young woman? If so how.
I was born in Angola, then I moved to the UK, Lesotho, then Kenya, and now back to the UK. Whilst my roots are in Angola, I’ve travelled so much around Africa that I feel like a true product of the continent.
What do you think is the best thing about being a young African woman in 2018?
Seeing so many young African women doing amazing things, especially in the internet age where we have so much exposure to each other, I love that I can follow and connect with these awesome women all over the world. It’s so inspiring.
Could you share a beauty secret with us?
Okay, I couldn’t decide between two so I’ll share both.
1. My homemade body butter that smells like coconut-chocolate heaven. Grab shea butter, cocoa butter, coconut oil, almond oil, jojoba oil (or any other oil of your choice) and vanilla essential oil (or any scent of your choice, coconut is amazing too!) . You put all contents in a bowl and melt it over hot water until it’s completely liquified, then put it in the fridge until it’s solid, once ready the last step is to whip it and voila! Softest skin you will ever have.
2. My mom gave me this key recently, use saline solution as a skin toner. It’s antiseptic, gentle, and affordable. Make sure you buy it from a pharmacy though.
What is the best advice you have received?
Aim never to work for someone else, from my dad.
What does growth mean to you at this stage in your life and why is it important?
Growth is crucial to the human experience, whilst most of us strive for happiness, I think it's growth we should seek most. More often than not, growth is painful and uncomfortable and I can definitely say I have experienced this and grew exponentially in the past year more than ever before. It isn't always clear to us why something unpleasant happens in our lives, but I've gotten to a place where I passionately trust that these things happen for our growth. Like any other living being we're always evolving, I think a lot of us try to over-control our circumstances, but I think there's a point where the universe steps in and forces you to grow in the capacity that you need to. To summarise, growth is absolutely necessary and I welcome opportunities for growth with an open heart.
There's nothing to fear and it's important to remember you're never alone.
All images were taken by Marta (you can see more of her work here)
As told by Jasmine O.