Idara “Idy” Ekpoh, Unraveled | An Interview
Idara “Idy” Ekpoh is a portrait photographer and creative entrepreneur based in Phoenix, Arizona. Her mission is to help create a space for marginalized groups, specifically women of color, to share their stories while also increasing their visibility in society through photography. As a First Generation Nigerian-American woman, she has always been interested in the topic of Identity and this drives her to use her work to not only tell her own story, but to empower others to use their skills to amplify the voices of those within their community. Through visual storytelling she celebrates women of color by creating images of them: existing, creating, and thriving. As she continues her freelance work, she hopes that it will empower others to tell their own stories and manifest into becoming the best versions of themselves.
Idy teaches within the Academy and shows her editing process for the images below.
For more inspiration from Idara:
And Here is Idy, Unraveled….
What inspired your art?
My culture and identity inspires my art. Growing up, I struggled with who I was as a black girl and also with being African. It wasn’t until a couple of years ago that I made the vow to unapologetically love myself. The older I get, the more I fall in love with who I am and my culture.
What do you shoot with? Camera body and favorite lens?
I shoot with a Canon 6D and my favorite lens is the Sigma 35 mm 1.4 Art Lens. It never leaves my camera.
What other ways do you express your creativity?
Photography is the main way that I express my creativity, but other ways that I express it would be through sites like Pinterest and Instagram. These platforms are great for you to find inspiration, especially when you are looking to shoot. When I have a concept in mind, I will begin to search for photos that inspire me and I create a board of all of those images. This helps me to decide what kind of direction I want to go in or it can be good just to look for inspiration. There is a lot of creativity in this world to be inspired by!
How do you de-stress at the end of the day?
Listening to Gospel music and spending time with God helps me de-stress at the end of the day. It really helps to re-center me and spend time to be grateful for all that I have and all that I’ve been able to accomplish.
What kind of music do you listen to while editing?
It varies, but African music is what I usually listen to. Artists like Adekunle Gold, Simisola, Davido, and BrunaBoy are usually what I’m listening to.
What is your favorite book?
“The Purpose Driven Life” by Rick Warren is one of my favorite books. It put a lot of things in perspective for me in regards to God’s purpose for my life and the plan he has for me. I definitely recommend that book to anyone struggling to figure out what their purpose in life is.
Name one movie that inspires you.
I’m going to name more than one, but “Moonlight” and “If Beale Street Could Talk” directed by Barry Jenkins are my favorite movies. Not only because the storylines are phenomenal, but because there is so much power and beauty behind how he visually tells his stories.
How do you handle self-doubt or creative slumps?
Self-doubt is something that I’ve struggled with for a while. We are our biggest critics and sometimes I catch myself doubting my talent. However, I just try to remind myself of why I got into photography in the first place. I started this work because I wanted to as
What has been the most difficult part of your creative journey?
The hardest part of my creative journey has been trying not to compare myself to other creatives, especially when it comes to success. I have to remind myself that my story is mine and their story is theirs. There is no benefit in comparing where I am within my creative journey to someone else. I just need to focus on the goals that I set for myself and the stories I want to tell.
Who is one of your favorite photographers?
Currently, my favorite photographer is Yagazie Emezi. She is a Nigerian photographer from Aba, Nigeria. Her photography focuses on telling the stories surrounding African women and their health, sexuality, education, and beauty standards. She’s one of my favorite photographers because of her ability to tell stories through her work. I love how she is shifting the narrative surrounding African women through her work and I’m inspired to do the same in my work.