A photographer is facing anger over a photoshoot featuring a couture-clad white woman interacting with residents of a village in Cameroon.
The pictures were taken by Amamu Moja, who is based in Luxembourg. While little information is available about the artist, it is worth noting there’s only one Black person featured in the group picture posted on the photographer’s About page.
The Cameroon photos were posted in September 2018 but drew attention this week after they were reposted by photojournalist Chirag Wakaskar, according to Insider.
— Chirag Wakaskar (@chiragwakaskar) February 6, 2019
Wakaskar is not a fan of the shoot, calling it "white savior bulls**t."
View this post on Instagram
???? The whole life of the Pygmies Baka are revolves around the #forest that shelters them. In this inextricable relationship, nothing should have interfered. The Baka are not resentful, so they welcomed us warmly. And we have tried to forget that we belong to this world that destroys them, every day a little more, for its own comfort, forgetting that the Baka, would like to preserve their "home, sweet home ". (Text by Awamumoja) Muah : Valentina Becker | Photo : Awamumoja | Dress : Digamesi #nature #earth #environment #life
Other Twitter users were not pleased, either:
If anything comes out of these images, it is the fact that they expose the truth about racism that still lives so comfortably and boldly.
— Hilina Abebe (@hilycious) February 6, 2019
So… a team of white creatives from Luxembourg branded themselves with a Swahili name and make these images? Do I have that right? https://t.co/DMZXmOUwSE
— Daniella Zalcman (@dzalcman) February 6, 2019
— Kiliii Yuyan (@kiliiiyuyan) February 6, 2019
Another day another white savior!
— Brian Siambi™ (@UrbanSkript) February 6, 2019
A paragraph under a behind-the-scenes video of the photoshoot explains the team’s motivation.
"Photographing a model in a grand prix dress in the midst of Baka pygmies dressed in rags is a provocation," it reads. "The price of the dress would be enough to bring, in this end of the world, what to live worthily."
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ONE World, ONE Mankind ❤️ The colour of the skin is no more important than that of the dress, and everyone should be able to live his life as he sees fit. But some people are more greedy than others. But all mothers carry their child in the same way. One world, one humanity. (Text by Awamumoja) #awamumoja #muavalentina #humanity
The passage also laments the Baka peoples’ unwillingness to be Westernized.
“For the Baka still live as at the dawn of humanity; hunter-gatherers, semi-nomadic, who lack all that civilization could bring them,” it continued. “Schools to learn, health clinics, trucks full of essentials for life. What to open to the world.”
Moja has not addressed the controversy.
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