N’Dambi Siva is an emerging photographer that received the first camera as a gift from a close personal friend at age twenty-two during a road trip from California to Texas. With that chance that was available, this just happened to be every day. To this day, Siva still owns and actively uses that camera, and draws great inspiration from James Van Der Zee, Roy Decarava and Carla Williams.
Ukweli (Swahili for “Fact”) is the first semi-nude/nude series of Siva’s young career, which focuses on the raw imperfections of people’s perfect selves. Shot with digital and film cameras (And even Siva’s camera phone), the images have been edited as little as possible, and give Siva great joy because “They have been therapeutic for the people involved,” says Siva. “It has given them the opportunity to notice every scar, every wrinkle, blemish and line, and see it as art as well accept it all for what it is – fact. And in this way, they have fallen in love with themselves all over again, and in some cases, for the first time.” In this feature, three subjects in particular are focused on: Sherrie, Chad and Vita.
Ukweli is an ongoing personal series that shows little sign of coming to completion, for there is always truth to discover about our bodies and selves.
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