Some photographers just have a knack for manifesting confidence from their subjects. That seems to be the case for Cidgy Bossuet (@ciciboss), a Haitian Canadian visual artist and photographer based in Boston, Massachusetts. Perhaps it's her own self-confidence that resonates so well with her models? I wanted to find out and discover more about the person behind these images.
FFU: Firstly, thanks for taking the time to catch up with us. Could you tell us your story, what led you to photography and the kind of photographs you make?
CB: My interests for photography started when I was younger. I used to always see my dad with his small collection of film cameras, which he mainly used to capture family memories and to build our family albums. As I got older, I subconsciously gravitated towards photography and eventually became the camera girl for my family and friends.
As an introverted extrovert, photography has become one of the best ways I find that I could express myself, so I continued to pursue it. With my artistic work, representation is important to me so I tend to experiment and create images that honor/ highlight Black identity. Generally, my photography ranges from portraits, lifestyle and events.
FFU: I always say I'm an extroverted introvert rather! I do see the extroverted aspect of you through your imagery and I feel as though your images evoke a lot of confidence from the people photographed. How do you approach shooting people?
CB: I thrive to create a comfortable space for whoever I’m photographing. Before photographing each person, I like to quickly converse with them- even simply asking about their day and a little bit about their background. I also encourage my subjects and throw in a little commentary while I’m photographing. This helps a lot and I find that people tend to let their guard down/ open up throughout the shoot.
FFU: Tell us about this amazing series you did for Flawless Magazine.
CB: I originally created this photo series Nappturality during my junior year of undergrad for my final reviews/ thesis project. Later on, Flawless Magazine became interested in featuring Nappturality as a photo essay in their comfort issue.
Nappturality focuses on the political issues of Black women’s natural hair. I explored subjects from the negative connotations associated with natural hair throughout history to the impact/ symbolism of the afro during the Civil Rights Movement. This topic is continuously evolving so I tend to observe the shifts that are happening in today's society.
FFU: We're in the middle of Black History Month. Have you noticed more recognition being given where it is due to photographers of color in general? I ask because I still think so much more can and should be done. It's something we communicate a lot at FFU, about the white gaze and white cis male gaze in photography and art.
CB: I have been seeing some platforms highlight Black photographers lately but it’s not enough. I definitely agree that so much more should be done. Generally speaking, I feel like elevating black perspectives/ voices should be normalized and not just for a trend. We should be the ones in control of our narratives/ showcasing our experiences.
FFU: I completely agree and I feel so frustrated and disappointed when I see people or companies viewing that as a trendy moment rather than making dedicated, longterm and sincere steps to doing their part to making the art world an equal place to be.
What or whom do you look to for inspiration, especially during difficult moments like the winter?
CB: Lately, I’ve been finding inspiration through Pinterest, music videos and films.
FFU: Photography is one of those oversaturated markets. What advice do you have for emerging photographers?
CB: I’m still pushing myself to do better with this but I would say photograph as many personal projects as you can to challenge yourself and perfect your craft. It’s a great way to build/ add to your portfolio and it gives you something to look forward to. Also, learning to enjoy/ trust the process as a photographer is really important. We tend to worry about the end goal- which is normal but there’s beauty in focusing on the work you’re creating and finding your why. When you trust your process, you learn so much about yourself and grow as a photographer. As long as you continue to work on your craft everything will work out eventually.
FFU: That's a beautiful statement and the exact kind of inspiration we all need right now, especially in February! What are you working on now? What is coming up?
CB: What is coming up? Hopefully continuous blessings and opportunities.
FFU: I absolutely see that for you in the future. Any last words?
CB: Yes! Everyone should check out an amazing community I’m a part of- Black Women Photographers. BWP is a global community and online database of Black women and non-binary photographers, founded by Polly Irungu. We’re currently having a print sale via https://blackwomenphotographers.darkroom.tech/ for the month of February.