A childhood car accident left Canon Ambassador Yagazie Emezi with a visible scar and, though she is a celebrated photojournalist whose work opens up the world, she returns to this permanent mark on her body and uses the camera as questioner. The result of this is a very personal project that explores scars and scarring. It asks, ‘how does our community affect the way we see our bodies and our scars?’ and ‘how does this impact how we see ourselves?’ These questions are universal, and the answers look different throughout Africa. The result is a unique perspective that tells the stories of African women with utter realness, whilst Emezi simultaneously turns the lens on herself.
“As a child, I was fascinated by history. My father had all these encyclopaedias, and through them I was introduced to Greek mythology, fascinated by all the gods and goddesses. This led to Egyptian mythology and overnight I was dead set on becoming an Egyptologist. I even set my major to archaeology, but when I took my first class, I realised that it was actually a science. So, I moved to cultural anthropology and ethnology. was introduced to a wider range of topics and spent years collecting and archiving images taken on the African continent. At the time, I was coming at it more from an anthropological point of view, rather than a photography perspective and was really interested in the preservation of African cultures, past and present.
Growing up in Nigeria, I didn't have regular access to the internet and would pay ₦100 an hour to use the internet cafe once a week. By the time I came to the States to study I had regular access to the internet and my curiosity about other African cultures grew. Bear in mind that this was before Instagram and while today we see many images coming out of Africa, at that time it was far less common. I noticed that a lot of the images I was finding were not taken by African photographers, so I created a website featuring the work of African photographers and it started to grow. Doing this made me realise that I too wanted to be a photographer and I started to build my career. My first jobs were photographing backstage at Lagos Fashion Week and capturing product placements for luxury fashion stores. I very quickly realised that I was more curious about people's lifestyles and preferred taking walks around Lagos, doing street photography.