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A true storyteller, Zélia captures the essence of the unseen and shines the camera on those who are marginalised. Changing the narrative and utilising both the written word and photography, she captures everyday life and the real people within it.

A group of people by the roadside.

_𝚂𝚚𝚞𝚊𝚍 (𝟶𝟿)

Can you share with us your earliest interest in photography?

My attraction to photography awakened at a very young age, probably around 4 or 5 years old. I loved handling my parents' camera to capture their portraits. Before I turned ten, I  took pleasure in immortalizing the faces of my neighborhood friends and capturing the seasonal transformations of the surrounding nature. At that time, I was already pondering about the passage of time and feared forgetting.

The camera had a kind of magical power for me, that of suspending time, of preserving forever a portion of it. Despite taking a break for a few years, I eventually found my way back to photography with renewed enthusiasm.

A girl and boy in a playground.

𝙻𝚒𝚏𝚎 _

What does the camera mean to you?

While in my childhood, the camera held significant meaning as an object, now it takes a secondary role, primarily serving as a medium to inquire, tell stories, and shed light on overlooked realities and marginalized individuals.

Although still a valuable tool, its worth now lies more in its capacity to stimulate reflection and spark conversations on important subjects, rather than its material aspect.

A man looking at the camera


How has being of mixed heritage influenced your approach?

Being of mixed heritage has had a profound impact on my approach to photography and how I capture my subjects. It has made me more sensitive to the complexities of identity and representation, influencing the way I interact with and portray my subjects.

I strive to capture the essence of each individual I photograph, honoring their unique backgrounds. Furthermore, being both a woman and a biracial further motivates me to make an impact and amplify my voice.

A man in a mask looking through records.


How do you like to use language in both written and image form?

I am currently on the verge of concluding a retrospective piece where I aim, in part, to shed light on life narratives within marginalized environments, often overlooked. I adopt a similar stance in my visual work. I would say that the two complement each other but never merge as I use them separately.

My writing is very visual, echoing my photographic art, and often has a melodic, rhythmic quality – sometimes inadvertently poetic. This unintentional poetry adds depth to my storytelling and enhances the emotional impact of my work, at least, I hope.

A young lady looking at the camera, with a blue wall behind her.

-- 𝙴𝚜𝚝 𝟷𝟿𝟿𝟺

Images courtesy of Zélia

Instagram: @zelia_25

A Burkinabe photographer, living and working in Bobo-Dioulasso. Sanle Sory's photographic journey began in 1960, the same year his country became independent from France as the République de Haute-Volta.

As a young photographer he documented the fast evolution of his own city, he captured the collision between modern life and centuries-old traditions from this culturally rich and rural region. He worked as a reporter, illustrator, an official photographer but most prominently as a studio photographer. It was here that he captured Bobo-Dioulasso's people with his unique wit, energy and passion. His work is captivates anti-colonial expressionism.

Sory Sanlé -Volta Photo 1965-1985

Sory Sanlé -Volta Photo 1965-1985

Sory Sanlé -Volta Photo 1965-1985

Sory Sanlé -Volta Photo 1965-1985

Sory Sanlé -Volta Photo 1965-1985

Gordon Parks, an extrodanary, emotive and pioneering photographer. A active humanitarian fighting endlessly for social justice both behind and in-front of the lens. With an exceptional body of work focusing on poverty, race relations and civil rights, Gordon Parks documents American life and culture from the early 1940s into the 2000s. A powerful force, he was also a distinguished composer, filmmaker and author.

Woman and Man standing next to a tree with pink flowers.

“The Restraints: Open and Hidden” September 1956, Life published a photo-essay by Gordon Parks which documented the everyday activities and rituals of one extended African American family living in the rural South under Jim Crow segregation.

Two young girls play with teacups in the water.

Three boys by a barbed wire fence, one holding a gun.

Untitled, Alabama, 1956

Two boys play near the river.

'In the wake of the 1955 bus boycott in Montgomery, Life asked Parks to go to Alabama and document the racial tensions entrenched there. He would compare his findings with his own troubled childhood in Fort Scott, Kansas, and with the relatively progressive and integrated life he had enjoyed in Europe.' *

A elderly couple on a porch.

A young boy between long tall reeds.

A family on a porch.

Willie Causey and Family, Shady Grove, Alabama, 1956

'The images Gordon Parks captured in 1956 helped the world know the status quo of separate and unequal, and recorded for history an era that we should always remember, a time we never want to return to, even though, to paraphrase the boxer Joe Louis, we did the best we could with what we had. Our young people need to know the history chronicled by Gordon Parks, a man I am honored to call my friend, so that as they look around themselves, they can recognize the progress we’ve made, but also the need to fulfill the promise of Brown, ensuring that all God’s children, regardless of race, creed, or color, are able to live a life of equality, freedom, and dignity.' Charlayne Hunter-Gault - Excerpt from “Doing the Best We Could With What We Had,” Gordon Parks: Segregation Story *

A family at a segregated drinking fountain.

At Segregated Drinking Fountain, Mobile, Alabama, 1956

A family at a segregated cafe.

Untitled, Shady Grove, Alabama, 1956

Six young children looking beyond a fence to a fun fair.

Outside Looking In, Mobile, Alabama, 1956

*Taken from The Gordon Parks Foundation -

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