A black woman is a wretched thing; a dark somewhat desolate item of inferior intelligence, lewd lust and toilet tidying or so many would have had us believe before Independence.
Today, with Namibia’s freedom long won and the struggle fading to a pinpoint in society’s review mirror, black women; whether they realize it or not, can be anything they want to be.
Photographer, Christian Goltz, aimed to present this shift in the spirit of the times in an intrepid photographic exhibition entitled Born free, through which he portrayed the emergence of a stark new force in society; the black Namibian woman.
Through the exhibition of larger-than-life portraits of black women who grew up or were born during Independence, Goltz aimed to lay bare the essence, strength and inherited pride of the young women in a manner that was highly inescapable and completely indisputable. “The shots are very formal, frontal head-shots almost like a passport photo. In this way, the viewer is forced to perceive the differences in the women’s personalities and core value, aside from any gimmick or distraction,” said Goltz.
The need for such a photographic journey came from the stigmas and incessant ignorance Goltz perceived in his own society, despite a glaring change in the Namibian social order. “As a white person, what I find remarkable is that many white people who grew up in Namibia are hard-wired not to see the value and beauty of a black woman, “ says Goltz,” she said, adding that it seems that in many minds, black women are still domestic workers and inferior to every other member of the society and thinks that a lot of white people are blinded to this change through pure habits.
Goltz expresses dissatisfaction with the technical sound though narrative, lacking landscape and wildlife photo exhibitions currently doing the rounds states: “Photography has to be about people, otherwise, there is no point. The general public has no real interest in wildlife or portraiture unless there is something to identify with and get a message from. That’s why we have seen a decline in interest in photographic offerings.”
The young, black women who Goltz showcased in the exhibition were those able to find a sense of self and pride and portrayed that self in a manner that could be depicted in a simple portrait photo. In this endeavour, Goltz searched high and low for telling faces, though he was quick to clarify that that was not a beauty contest.
“The models want to be beautiful and want to have beautiful pictures of themselves, so I have to make clear that this is not the point of the shoot. Instead, this is an opportunity and possibility to better express themselves as I am sure they are also on an identity finding mission,” she said.
Goltz conversely urges young black women, over the age of 18, who grew up during Independence, to contact him with an idea for their portrait and states categorically that, “they must be willing to unveil their real self.”
Contact HYPERLINK “mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org” email@example.com should you wish to attend a course in photography or if you have an idea for a portrait and wish to be featured in Bornfree.