The Fluid Self by Ussi’n Yala
The notion that identity is fixed is extremely outdated. Today we have a broader understanding of identity and gender, how they are self-defined and evolve naturally throughout our lives. As acceptance become more and more mainstream, the commercial demand for visual assets that represent diversity and inclusion are also on the rise.
As a stock marketplace, it’s our duty and responsibility to provide the most relevant, contemporary, and high-quality images to the world’s creatives. Following British photographer Bex Day’s beautiful and authentic portrayals of the transgender community, we are proud to present Ussi’n Yala’s emotive portraits exploring gender and prejudice, exclusively for Adobe Stock.
Ussi’n is a young photographer originally from Gabon, and though he’s relatively new to the stock industry, he has a strong point of view and keen eye for style. He picked up a camera for the first time only a few years ago, as a way to make some extra pocket money. He quickly took to the medium, photographing people and events all around Libreville.
Ussi’n’s goal is to challenge the notion of beauty and break stereotypes with his images: “I hope to free people from the injustice and social barriers we face today. I want to produce a work that will have an impact on the way society works and the way we see the world.” In October of 2016, he exhibited the photo series “Pink Albino” at the African Art Fair in Paris. The portraits were created to address and shed the prejudices held against albinos in Africa.
For his shoot on The Fluid Self, Ussi’n collaborated with two close friends, designers Clément Réthoré and Sandra Boutz. All three of them are based in France, but each faces a unique challenge of identity and acceptance due to their identity and sexuality: Ussi’n is black, Clément is gay, and Sandra is Jewish. “We each live in a constant state of discomfort in society and which is, in part, connected with who we are,” says Ussi’n, “and we wanted for this project to merge our peculiarities, while also telling the love story of two men.”
The result is an honest and emotive narrative that captures vulnerability and fear, as well as acceptance. “Because he is black and, in his culture, homosexuality is still very badly perceived, and he lives in a permanent discomfort until the day he meets the man who will change his life forever and deliver him from his chains,” Ussi’n says.
By sharing these images on Adobe Stock, Ussi’n hopes to share the message of acceptance and spark a change in perception. He’s also doing his part to bring more awareness and increase appreciation of African art and photography in the Western world. The internet and social media have been remarkable tools for African creatives to get their work seen, and Ussi’n is hopeful that this trend will only continue: “There are more and more African creations in the stock industry, and I am more than positive about the future of Africa.”
See more images from Ussi’n’s Fluid Self shoot on Adobe Stock.