"The first thing I remember about someone is the stories they tell".
“Every story is unique for it adds to my overall human experience as a creative.”
Story behind the lens
I was told growing up throughout my life how my eyes are the best features of my body because you can tell how much sincerity, love, and generosity I have, somewhat reminiscent of the lens of a camera. Growing up, I came from a dysfunctional and chaotic family on top of being bullied from my speech impediment. These experiences I grew up in made me feel unloved, isolated, and unimportant.
I was later introduced to athletics and video editing, which naturally came to me, but it wasn't until I started doing photography that my life changed for the better. Photography transformed my grandfather, who left his comfort zone and documented families affected by Biafran War. Photography made me brave and I pushed my comfort zone on situations I would never have done such as documentary work in Trinidad during the governmental curfew of 2011. If I were to be caught, I would have been arrested and deported back to the States.
Finally, photography taught me how to truly love more, something that I never thought I could say. I love the essence of the experiences gained thanks to the people and their stories shared. Better yet, to make someone feel a lot more confident and beautiful than what they think of themselves on a daily basis. It's a confirmation that my job is to tell as many stories as possible not only the best light possible but to bring a beauty back that photography gave me. Photography made me feel beautiful. Photography made me feel like I'm doing my part in a bigger story than mine.
The GoFund Me Camera Plea
My name is Chioma Ozuzu and I am a photographer based in NYC/NJ. I am a granddaughter to a known Nigerian photographer who shot families affected by Biafran War during the late 60s under Ozuzu Photos. For the past six years, I have shot some of the world's coolest events such as Made in America, Trinidadian Carnival, Mercedes Benz Fashion Week and the Times Square Ball Drop. October 13th may be a traditionally bad luck day, but for me, it actually lived its expectation. After completing a shoot early morning, I put my camera inside my backpack and left it in the breakroom at work.
I had other errands throughout the day such as non-stop emailing, phone calls and my workout for I remembered to try to accomplish as much as possible before the weekend. After a few hours, it was time for me to head home. Before leaving, I realized how light my bag it was before, opened my bag and saw my camera was not there, but my Gorillapod tripod was still in my bag. At first, I thought I left it at home and left home that day, but it wasn't there when I came back home. My camera was stolen from my bag. I filed a police report and called Sony the next day. No luck still.
My side hustle in doing headshots, editorials, and self-projects has come to a halt as of now. I am part of an LLC based in Harlem, NY called Black Folk Us Photographic Group as a photographer liaison for both photography and copywriting. I am in the works of showcasing my previous work of my Trinidad photos and also in the process of creating a new photojournalistic project on nurses which will be gallery showcased in mid-late 2018. My skills as a writer, photographer, video editor, the personal trainer given that I was a film study major from Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut has finally given light to material I was pursuing the longest.
From ranging producing documentary films in Trinidad and Tobago to restarting a television station freshman year, my future vision plan is to ensure that Black Folk US LLC is fully in swing and my photo project on black nurses have at least 5-7 nurses photographed and documented for an art gallery at the Harlem Hospital and UMDNJ in order to garner more awareness as my main project.
The timing of having my camera stolen not only paused any current and upcoming work such as editorials and headshots, but it left me in a state of overwhelming helplessness I haven’t experienced in a while since my grandfather’s death.
I usually never ask for help, especially if I need it, but I am looking to get as much help as I can get. Your donations will help me get a newer camera with insurance and lens for portraiture. I am not looking for a handout as I want to also offer my services and products for those that helped me, ranging from color prints of my best work, first looks at the photos from my new project once completed, to even headshots and editorials, especially if you have worked with me in the past or first timer.
If there is one thing I have learned from my photography experience and my grandfather is making communities from a common interest, in our case is the beauty and the power photography possess. I really can’t stress enough how much you sharing this GoFundMe and donations mean a lot to me in my time of need.
Thank you so much and God Bless You All.
- Kayla Rosario
- Jesse DeMarco
- Rena Anakwe
- Tenasia Hatch