Walsall exhibition showcases black female photographers

A photography exhibition featuring work by black female photographers is bringing attention to a growing community of artists.

The UK Black Female Photographers Community (UKBFTOG) is holding its first photography exhibition in Walsall, nearly three years after it was founded by Mellz Photography LTD owner Jamella Binns.

Jamella said the community was a way to help showcase the work of black female photographers and move away from any idea of their work being a novelty.

She said: "As a black female photographer, I always noticed that the industry is dominated by men and by white people, so I wanted to know where the other black female photographers were.

"I knew I wasn't the only one out there who was creative, so I put out a message on social media and, almost instantly, I got loads of messages of people who were just like me.

"Our work truly does matter and I want people to not hide behind the scenes, but be at the front and I hope they get as much attention as possible."

Denise Maxwell and Janella Binns take in some of the pieces in the exhibition

The exhibition was put together by Jamella and Walsall-born, internationally-renowned photographer Denise Maxwell, in just over six weeks, with more than 300 women submitting pieces for display.

These include pieces from photographers from countries such as Suriname and Zimbabwe, as well more locally based artists, including a few pieces from Denise.

The exhibition was launched at Blank Canvas, an exhibition space in the centre of Walsall, on Friday, with speeches from Jamella and Denise, and was officially opened by documentary maker Dr Vanley Burke.

Dr. Vanley Burke was guest of honour at the exhibition launch

Denise, who has made a name for herself with photos of people like Usain Bolt, said it was a thrill to be able to run a photography exhibition in her home town.

She said: "It means a massive amount to me to be involved in this exhibition because when it's in your home, it always has this little bit of emotional connection.

"I also think, for me, it means a massive amount to be able to help some of the younger photographers on their journeys.

"Our youngest photographer exhibiting here is 16 and is still studying photography, but this is her first exhibition and a huge opportunity for her."

Denise Maxwell has included some of her own works in the exhibition, such as "The Block"

The exhibition had also been set up to follow all government Covid restrictions around workplaces, with a number of measures in place.

This included limited admission, a requirement to wear face masks, temperature checks on the way in, declaration forms for any symptoms, hand sanitiser stations, a one way walking system and track and trace.

Photographers from across the world had submitted pieces to the exhibition

Denise said she hoped the exhibition would inspire people to follow their passion and take up photography.

She said: "When I go and speak to groups, I always meet a young woman or black person who says they don't know any black photographers or how to get involved.

"I think that in order to inspire someone, it's important for them to see all the people like you that are doing what you want to do, so this will really help them."

The UKBFTOG exhibition will run at Black Canvas until 3pm on Sunday.

For more information and to book tickets visit ukbftog.com

Sorry, we are not accepting comments on this article.

Top Stories

More from the Express & Star

UK & International News