InspiHERed By spotlights phenomenal women in the Black queer community—everyone from artists to activists. Each week ELIXHER features someone whose personal journey and individual craft inspire us to dream bigger, laugh harder, and love deeper. This week Amarachi Crystal Esowe, a 25-year-old Nigerian photographer shares.
ELIXHER: Tell us a little about yourself.
AMARACHI: I was born in Jos, Plateau State, Nigeria. I’ve been in New York City since I was 7 years old and I have been here ever since. Being an immigrant, I am the only one in my family to have attended a school in the U.S. from first grade through college (which I am in now). I’ve always been a creative person. I don’t remember ever not having the urge to draw, write, or even dance. I grew up in a conservative household. My father was a pastor and is now a reverend. My mother is a devout Christian woman. But there was still room to be creative and to love out of the box, and so my siblings and I did just that.
ELIXHER: When did you begin taking photos?
AMARACHI: I began taking photos as a hobby in 2006. Since then it has transpired into a vocation.
ELIXHER: What drew you to the craft?
AMARACHI: The journey of creativity drew me to the craft. I’ve always drawn, painted, and written. At a point I felt stifled and wanted to explore other forms of art. I began shooting film like a documentary of my life and activities, and times spent with friends. From then on, I added slides of photos within the edited work I did. (You can find examples of this footage on my YouTube channel.) I started venturing out into documenting my friends who are musicians both in photos and video. The love and aspiration for photography grew!
ELIXHER: What is your favorite subject to shoot?
AMARACHI: I love shooting culture, stage [performances] such as music and theatre. I also love shooting scenery such as city and landscapes.
ELIXHER: Who or what inspires you?
AMARACHI: Scenery and movement inspire me. Certain angles when I look around the streets and even people inspire me to photograph.
ELIXHER: Describe yourself in three words.
AMARACHI: I am creative, boisterous, and passionate.
ELIXHER: What’s the biggest misconception people have of you?
AMARACHI: The biggest one is probably that I’m quiet or intimidating. Only because I’m more of an observer at first.
ELIXHER: What’s the biggest challenge you’ve had to face?
AMARACHI: The biggest challenge I’ve faced is probably having the right to express myself in every way without constraint both within my conservative upbringing and also socially.
ELIXHER: What makes you proud to be a part of the Black queer community?
AMARACHI: The proudest part is knowing that those who have faced the challenge so harshly, harsher than we are in this day and age, have given me the opportunity to shout out a part of who I am. It’s great to be a reflection of (her)story.
ELIXHER: What changes would you like to see in the Black queer community?
AMARACHI: I would love more integration and diversity within the Black queer community. There is so much within the Black queer community that is beautiful and I believe it should be shared with other queers, no matter their race or gender, or interests.
ELIXHER: What’s next for Amarachi?
AMARACHI: Continuing and completing my academics, and making a bigger name for myself within the artistic and queer world.
Check out more of Amarachi’s work here.