“Iya” Editorial Photoshoot

As 2019 comes to an end I’m feeling more confident with shooting my personal projects and photoshoots on film. Up and coming creative director Kim Friez contacted me and asked if I was open to collaborating with her on a few photoshoots. I’m pleased to say our first time working together went very smoothly and successfully. I’m looking forward to the next time we work together, and I enjoy the chemistry we have.

PS: The most nerve-wracking part of this entire process was shooting and not being able to show Kim the images to see if I was achieving the looks she wanted to capture, so you can imagine the relief I experienced when I finally scanned the rolls of film and got the stamp of approval after sharing the images with her.

The team: 

Creative Director: Kim Friez

Model: Rachel Elisabeth

Jewelry: Pretty Little Tings

Visual Ninja: Jik-Reuben Pringle

BTS Videographer: Daniel Miller

Photo Assistance: Richard Williams

The inspiration behind the Photoshoot:

After being a part of the theatrical performance “ReAshored” by performing arts group Quilt, a story that involves the Yoruba Orishas, Kim was compelled to do more research as she had to develop her character “Iya” who is the mother of all Orishas. She began to see the correlation between the Yoruba Orishas and herself.

She noticed that as African people living in the western world, we have attached ourselves only to stories of the ocean voyage. The same voyage that defined our religion, language and limited our minds. So, she decided to develop this concept even more with the use of imagery and symbols to add to her creative portfolio.

Throughout Africa, cowry shells have symbolized the power of destiny, the strength of the ocean, and were considered the mouth of the Orishas. She experimented with the shells as a representation of our voices, as she believes nothing is more powerful. So we contacted Pretty Little Tings to make a custom mask to properly convey Kim’s vision.

In the planning stages, Kim showed me an image of a scale model of a British sail ship made mostly of bull horns, that she wanted to use. The ship indicates the perpetual struggle between the colonized mind and the ancient knowledge imprinted in our DNA. Our children are raised with no real sense of where or who they came from, and most of us refuse to acknowledge our African ancestry. We cling to the colonizer’s view and religion, anything of Africa is deemed evil and ugly. As a person in search of who she is and where she came from, she can no longer be defined by ships and triangular trade or even just being from the Caribbean. Which leads her to ask, “Who was I before I was told who to be?”. A question that was explored through the careful direction and modeling abilities of Rachel on the day of the shoot. 

I hope you enjoy this set of images as much as I enjoyed the process of creating them. 

Many thanks to Daniel and Richard (and his other friends) who came through at the last minute to help out, here is a behind the scenes video of the shoot. 

-Jik-Reuben Pringle, The Visual Ninja

November 2019

~Peace, Perfect Peace~

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