Photographer Noémie Tshinanga is a visual thinker in its truest form. Inspired by music and aesthetic, she offers snapshots of the hidden moments that make life meaningful in order to tell real stories with her photography. It was our pleasure to reach out to Noémie to learn more about her process, her art, her aspirations, and her AMMO.
— Mia Glionna
What’s your AMMO?
Music is my main ammo. I hear a song and see visuals associated with it. Maybe that’s my inner blooming director coming out, but I see my life as a movie so I shoot the stills and teasers for them.
What is your favorite part of shooting?
Editing. I love colors. LOOOOVE colors. They play a huge part in the emotional aspect of the image. Colors are essential to the narrative.
What thematic elements do you consider the most influential to your work?
Not to sound like a broken record but colors are big for me. I’m so intentional about hues, light, and shadow. I remember a couple of years ago a potential client declined on working with me because my work is “too dark”. At the time, I was so offended but that’s only because I interpreted ‘dark’ as ‘depressing or negative’. I recognize my style uses deeper hues. I find color creates depth, it’s more informative when it’s defined.
You also work in videography, design, and branding. How do you balance your aesthetic between the different kinds of work you do?
Right now photo is at the forefront, professionally. Operating from a business standpoint and not a hobby perspective is harder than I thought, but also simple. My focus is mastering the business to where I no longer take everything so personally. Videography is in the experimental, personal project phase. I offer video services professionally but I’m SUPER selective because I’m still working on what I like/don’t like. I’m just having fun with video. There’s no structure or thought in my video work and I want to keep it that way for a bit. I know I’ll focus on design and branding a couple of years down the line, but I’m not there yet.
Photography can enact social and political change. Do you think your work does so? Politically, unsure. Socially most definitely – or at least I would hope. My purpose is to promote authenticity but my approach is more passive than active. I like to be a fly on the wall and snap what I see and usually those are things that are often overlooked. I like including what most would consider ‘messy’. So rather than shooting a tight shot of a celebrity in front of a step and repeat, I want to include the hundreds of cameras in front of them as well. Does that image cause change? Not necessarily, but maybe it’ll add perspective on how you see things *shrug*
What legacy would you like to leave beyond your artwork, and how do you hope to do so?
I hope people feel comfortable being themselves when they interact with me. It’s not hard to be myself per se, but it’s hard to own it…to back up who I am and the choices I make can be tough for me sometimes, but it’s essential. We’re humans first. We have stories, we’re full of thoughts and contradictions. In order to embrace that within myself, I need to embrace that with others. I hope that is felt beyond my artwork – I accomplish that in how I treat people and capture them.
Are there any methods or subjects that you would like to experiment with in the future?
I want to work with film (instead of digital) for a bit. Specifically using medium format cameras. Film has a crispiness to it that I love. From a video standpoint – want to experiment different cameras. Essentially working with more equipment from a curiosity approach. I’m cool with my Canon but it’s also nice to know your options.
If you could say one thing to a young Black girl looking into pursuing photography or film, what would you tell them?
Trust your intuition, focus on your path, keep at it, you’re doing great.
You can find out more about Noémie Tshinanga here.