Instagram is officially my favourite method of discovering incredibly awesome women. It was through Instagram that I found Anna, (creator of Anna S. Lipstick), and most recently, how I found Damola: Photographer and Content Creator. As I scrolled through my news feed, I found that her images didn’t jump out at me, but rather that they sucked me in. Regardless of if she was photographing a person or an object, there was something intimate and almost private in how her scenes were set up. It was as though if I listened closer, or looked deeper, the subjects would let me in on a secret.
I reached out to Damola asking for an interview, and was thrilled when she said yes. So here we are! I am glad to be able to give the world the opportunity to get to know her a little better:
“My name is Damola Akintunde, a college senior from North Carolina. I consider myself a Creative, since I’ve been performing and creating content for most of my life. My passions include photography and dancing.”
How did you get started?
“I’ve always been very interested in visuals and the construction of art because I went to an art school for seven years. I was able to invest in my love of photography in 2016 when I purchased my first legit camera, so it’s basically been a year since I’ve formally started. It really has been a whirlwind of a year. I managed to gain experience by having friends, and friends of friends reach out to me to shoot them and I’m still continuously growing and perfecting my craft.”
“I feel drawn to telling stories of those who feel like they have no voice…”
This quote is visible on your website, what inspired it?
“I consider myself a very introverted person, and growing up I had to navigate how to interact in the world knowing I sometimes felt very overwhelmed and small in certain spaces. Because of that, I felt silenced during parts of my life, and it was not until recently that I was able to overcome that silence…
Now that I am in a position where I can utilize my photography to present who I am in the world, I feel a desire to do the same for others. Visuals are powerful and the saying “A picture is worth a thousand words” is a 100 percent true. I’ve had many experiences where people come to me wanting photos that capture a certain quality about themselves. So ultimately, my main goal is to help people present themselves to the world as a way of presenting their voice.”
You have some stunning self-portraits of you wearing your Natural Hair. Tell us about chopping off your hair…
“I big chopped in 2013, which was my senior year of high school, and it was a dramatic experience. I did not warn my mom when I did it, and the first thing she said out of shock was that I looked like a boy. Like many others, I cried and immediately hated it. In retrospect, I wish I tried to embrace the shorter cut I had as a way of learning more about my true femininity, which isn’t necessarily tied into hair length, obviously. But I definitely plan on cutting my hair again in order to show myself that regardless of the hair on the head, my femininity goes beyond certain beauty standards.
…And I must note that my mom loves the fact that I decided to go natural, but for me personally it took a long time for me to come to terms with the unfamiliar territory of having kinky curly hair. In fact the idea of embracing what comes naturally out of my head is very representative of my life. Like with anything in life, me dealing with my hair is a learning process and at the end of the day I really appreciate the fact that I was able to take the leap into that journey.”
You are also are part of a YouTube Channel called The Authentic We, tell us a little bit about that. (Maybe another feature is in store for you two in the future!)
“The Authentic We was born out of the desire by myself and Nagwa to provide more representation for youth of color in an authentic way; in a way that isn’t fetishized or essentialized. Right now it’s in the budding stages, but we are very excited to put out content that would provide voices to those who share similar or differing experiences to ours.
Last thoughts? (Advice to give? A struggle to share?)
“I guess something I’ve always struggled with is concept of uncertainty, especially now that I am about to graduate and embark on the “real world”. But this last year really taught me that what is meant to happen, will happen. The mistakes and failures are not representative of what’s in store. And taking risks are a huge part of life. Of course they can be calculated, but regardless, uncertainty cannot be your downfall.”
I want to thank Damola so very much for her openness! If you are like me you are going to want to keep close tabs on Damola, because something tells me the future has great things in store for her. Make sure you follow her below:
Facebook: Damola Akintunde Photography
*And don’t forget to share your thoughts below!*