"Feeling Seen", Campbell Addy’s first monograph, is a beautiful visual manifesto for authentic inclusivity, behind and in front of the camera.
Everyone wants to feel seen. But some need it more than others. Black faces still search for themselves in the pages of fashion magazines. "The fashion and media industry helps to shape the public’s sense of what is beautiful. The imagery it generates is a powerful tool which has the ability to enhance, subvert and even challenge our expectations of beauty, identity and individuality." writes Edward Enninful in the foreword of "Feeling Seen".
Campbell Addy is one of those who strive to disrupt the dominant norm, deconstruct and redefine the beauty standards in the industry. Within his work, he spotlights and sublimates the underrepresented. His debut monograph celebrates Blackness through iconic portraits, fashion photographs, personal imagery and influences, as well as words from leading Black figures, including Naomi Campbell, Tyler, The Creator and Nadine Ijewere. The book transports us into a world of dark and vibrant, narrative and deep, tender and powerful images.
For us, the London-based photographer and filmmaker reflected on Black visibility:
Do you feel fully seen today?
Depends on what context, but I believe the little parts of myself that I have left behind are slowly beginning to be seen. I’ve yet to delve deep into me yet, so to be fully seen isn’t possible. I am unsure if its truly possible, but I know that I have a feeling, and it feels as if my loved ones are watching and loving what I do.
In which way do you show yourself through your photographs?
I think in all I do I am trying to figure a piece of me out, whether it be literal or metaphorical. After all the camera is a mirrored box, reflecting myself and my thoughts onto a page.
When you were younger, you didn't have a lot of Black inspirational figures to look up to. Is it important for you to fill that role?
I wouldn’t say a role, as that would feel like a heavy burden, but I believe its important for my existence to be seen. There’s many different types of people in this world and it’s a shame that very few versions of human life is applauded. I wouldn’t ask people to look up to me per say, but I would say take encouragement in knowing we are all striving to do and be our best. I’m blessed to do what I do and I hope others will feel inspired to do what ever it is that they want to do.
As a renowned photographer, do you feel a responsibility to give visibility to other Black creatives?
Without community I wouldn’t be where I currently am. Without the new communities I have come into, I will not reach where I am going to next. It’s important for all of us to uplift each other. More visibility means for more creative minds working and getting a platform, which will only lead to a better world with even better ideas.