2023 Booooooom Photo Awards Winner: Jannell Adufo

For our second annual Booooooom Photo Awards, supported by Format, we selected 5 winners, one for each of the following categories: Portrait, Street, Shadows, Colour, Nature. Now it is our pleasure to introduce the winner of the Colour category, Jannell Adufo.

Jannell Adufo is a British-Ghanaian photographer from South East London. Her portraits draw on the beauty of her subjects’ essence, seeking to simply present each person as they choose to be.

We want to give a massive shoutout to Format for supporting the awards this year. Format is an online portfolio builder specializing in the needs of photographers, artists, and designers. With nearly 100 professionally designed website templates and thousands of design variables, you can showcase your work your way, with no coding required. To learn more about Format, check out their website here or start a 14-day free trial.

We had the chance to ask Jannell some questions about her photography—check out the interview below along with some of her work.

What is the story behind your winning image?

This image was actually taken when I was 20 years old for a university project exploring womanhood and femininity, called “The Flowers in Her Tears.” I saw a series of pictures in my mind whilst I was in a zoom lecture and just started sketching them on paper. This image references the first wave of the big chop trend of 2015. As a young girl, I witnessed black women in the West let go of the damage done to their hair by chemical relaxers and heat damage. Stripping back to a state of beauty that is quite vulnerable and exposed. Although when this image was created, I was confronting the societal standards for women and the idea of long hair being equal to beautiful hair, I myself last year was led to cut my hair when I asked God what He created my femininity to look like after finding strength in masculinity for a long time. I mention this because it’s interesting that despite the difference in time and who I am behind the lens, one thing remains the same. Emphasised by the long “ghetto” nails adorned in blooming flowers, sometimes we need to start afresh to make room for new growth, both literally and metaphorically.

Can you share a little bit about finding your artistic voice?

I feel like I’m still finding my voice. And I think this literally happens through making – putting mind to shutter. Creating the ideas that just drop into my mind and I sketch down, and interrogating the ideas that come from what others have done – and considering discarding them. 8 years in, my artistic voice is still centered on portraiture and I have many more years to flesh that out visually through telling stories.

How would you describe your aesthetic these days?

I would say colour, shooting close up and hidden easter eggs. These hidden but obvious elements in my narratives come from my lived experience and environment being a British-Ghanaian girl in London.

What specific things do you enjoy looking at through your viewfinder?

I enjoy looking at spontaneous moments of my subjects through the lens. As I aim to capture my subjects’ essence within a frame – transcending the time in which I’ve known them. It’s super fun seeing someone “break character” as that’s who I want to capture.

Finish this sentence: “For me, photography is…”

For me, photography is the definition of treasure-seeking coming to life.

What’s the best piece of advice anyone ever gave you?

Either “what is for you won’t miss you” or “if you’re going to do something, do it well”.

Who else’s images are exciting you these days?

Renell Medrano

What’s one thing you’d like to accomplish in the next year or so?

It would be amazing to shoot the front cover of an editorial magazine.

What about one thing you’d like to accomplish in your lifetime?

Creating an avenue for wider access to the art industry for young people. Particularly making purchasing/acquiring fine art and photography more available, no matter the socio-economic background. That and travelling in my photographic career 🙂

Call to Submit: Art & Photo Book Award

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