Sórósoke Downtown: Rachel Seidu

Born in Lagos to an Edo mother and a Ghanaian father, Rachel Seidu, 23, is the brilliant young photographer behind the powerful images of Downtown’s cover stars Seun and Yeide Kuti. She attended Principal Model College and is currently a Fine and Applied Arts Education undergraduate at the University of Benin (UNIBEN).

Tell us a bit about yourself…

My name is Rachel Seidu, I’m a visual artist and storyteller using the photography medium to tell my stories. I major in street/ documentary and portraits.

How did you get into photography?

As a kid, photography made me happy- making toy cameras with bits of torn cartons or using people’s phones to take pictures of them as well. Getting older, I started using my Tecno mobile phone to pursue my interests until I met ace photographer August Udoh. I showed him my work, he gave me a few tips and also invited me to his studio. I learnt most of what I know watching August. I was inspired by him and I knew if he could do it I could too.

Who have you shot for?

I have worked with Okay Africa, Rees Africa and also a number of personal projects but this is the first time my work will be published in print! Hurrah Downtown!

When you aren’t taking striking pictures what are you doing?

When I’m not taking pictures I’m scouring the internet, researching stuff, hanging out with friends or sleeping.

How has the ASUU strike affected you?

It’s been the best time of my life! Things have changed in the most unexpected ways for me this few months as I got a job that paid enough to finally get a camera… for the first time in my life I own a camera! I’d hoped to have saved enough by 2022 but I purchased it in May. I have created personal projects, worked for a number of clients, gone on an art residency program and exhibited my work thrice. I’m all the way up!

Describe your personal style?

Artsy and aesthetics.

What inspires your creative process?

I try my best to be in the photograph and so if I’m trying to portray love I immerse myself in thoughts about love. I become the image, i don’t know how to explain this but I make sure all of my work contains a part of me.

How do you fuse your creative direction and POV with your subject’s ideas?

After they share their ideas with me, I observe the subject to catch glimpses of their personality. So regardless of their brief I find ways to ensure the photographs tell a truth of who they really are, no pretense whatsoever.

Who are some your photography influences?

Yagazie Emezi, I loveeeee her. Kamnelechukwu is another photographer I admire. August Udoh of course…he’s one of the greatest influence in my work.

Instagram or Twitter?

Twitter!!

What are the challenges of a female photographer in Lagos?

People doubt my skill till they see my work lol. What are your listening to right now? Amaarae’s album!! I can’t get enough of her. I’m enjoying the Cavemen too!

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