Nadine Ijewere

Nadine Ijewere: the magic of a photo

Nadine Ijewere: the magic of a photo

South London-born fashion photographer Nadine Ijewere is known for her ground-breaking work in deconstructing the industrys stereotypes with her stylish and powerful images. As her new book is released, we find out more about her… 

ALL IMAGES: Nadine Ijewere
How do you aim to challenge stereotypes with your work?

I am aware of how people of colour have been represented by the media throughout history. An important part of my journey is to challenge these problematic stereotypes and create positive references, real references. Many of my peers are also creating these references, and this is fundamental.  

Progress is being made, but some negative tropes are still very much present.  

What has been the best reaction to your work?

There have been many amazing reactions it would be hard to choose one. The beautiful young Black girls feeling seen within my work, happy about their natural features. People of colour worldwide proud to be celebrated. Seeing young students at my exhibition, excited and intrigued. My family and friends being at my shows.  

How did you start out in your career?

I actually was going to pursue a career in medicine. Alongside science and maths, I decided to take photography at A Level. I loved it! It was all analogue working with film and printing images in the darkroom. I guess it was the process for me and the patience you needed to have, especially in such a digital world where everything is so fast. You really needed to think about your shot as it was limited to the number of frames you have on the film. I also loved the excitement of when you got your film reel back. From there I knew I wanted to do something that revolved around taking pictures. I was drawn to portraiture which evolved into fashion. I then Studied at London College of Fashion and worked on personal projects which I would share on my early social media platforms, from there I started to get some work, which lead me to think maybe I can make this into something.

Tell us a bit about your background and growing up in South London…

I was born in South London, to a Jamaican mother and a Nigerian father. South London has always had character, it’s colourful, it’s busy and it’s unapologetic. Throughout my career I have drawn reference from the energy of the communities I grew up around.

What have been your favourite shoots?

I enjoy most of my shoots, which I am really grateful for. One of my favourites would have to be the shoot I did with Nina Ricci in 2019. I shot this in the Dominican Republic, somewhere I had never been before. On arrival and throughout the trip although being so far away from home, I felt like I was at home the entire time. That familiar feeling of love within the communities was so powerful. I shot a mixture of models and street-cast people all from the Dominican Republic. I had so much creative freedom with this shot, I just immersed myself within and found my references along the way. I wanted to translate the love and energy within the community whilst also focusing on the fashion. The end result felt almost like a documentary style editorial rather than an ad campaign.