A few years ago, when I was in sixth form I had a conversation with a mate about how I loved to do a lot of creative things however it always felt like there wasn’t a job title that fit me. I wasn’t just a photographer, I also loved to blog, I also loved to be involved within activism, filmmaking etc and she replied, “maybe you have to create your own job title.” Hearing that was a massive staple in my career, I didn’t realise at the time that I could have the power to do such a thing yet fast forward to today and there are so many jobs and titles that didn’t exist when I was growing up. Nobody knew that one day you could become a multi-millionaire on YouTube or a beauty influencer on Instagram.
With doors opening like this it inspired me to pave my future, my way. That conversation completely changed the way I looked at my work and what impact I wanted to have. I knew I was passionate about a lot of things and they all came under the umbrella of visual media. So, today I now call myself a photo-media curator. My job includes my photography, film, creative campaigns relating to activist topics, art curation and writing.
My biggest love is for photography which began when I was really young, around 5. I was born in South-East London and whenever my cousins and I would go on trips my mum and aunty would have their disposable cameras capturing the moments we all shared together. My mum later making a ‘memory board’ filled with train tickets, museum leaflets, wristbands and cringy group photos.
Nonetheless, I loved showing my gappy toothy grin in every shot, making every weird pose I could think of. Then with little to no patience waiting for the day we could pick up the photos from the camera store on Old Kent Road. Flicking through them was so exciting and pushed me to want to take my own photos.
I couldn’t imagine not having a disposable camera whenever we went out somewhere. But monumentally for me, on my first school away trip away from home I was filled with so many emotions positive, being able to live independently for a few days and also negative…being away from my family for the first time in my life. However, my camera was my comfort, taking photos of my friends and our adventures made me feel so happy. I just knew photography would always be like another home for me.
Fast forward to today and it’s me and my camera Winnie (pretty sure it’s good luck to name your camera?). A yearlong photography course gave me the confidence to start up my photography business Visuals By J.O.D. (Journals Of Dami). Within the first year of setting it up I had worked with some amazing people from fashion shows to theatre and cultural events such as UK Black pride to Notting hill carnival. Sharing and developing a narrative that spoke up for the Black community, the LGBT+ community, inclusive feminism and more.
I had no idea that a disposable camera and a memory board would one day take me on an exciting journey to create a variety of forms of representation for people like me who deserve to exist unpoetically. A lot of these photos included are from my current and on-going photography campaign My Black Hair Memoirs. MBHM is about showing our historically and culturally unifying hair types and styles and presenting who we are as individuals by answering the question “What advice would you give to the next generation?”. I hope to use my photography to continue the conversation of the multi-dimensional Black narrative on a global scale one day to create visual media in more aspects that is inclusive. We deserve to be listened to and I hope I can help people be heard.