Meet Faith Aylward, the young English-Nigerian photographer who wants you to believe that you can do anything.
The 21 year old’s affair with the camera started years ago after a stint as a creative director for a shoot she had styled for a friend. She describes the moment; “One day my friend was taking pics for this shoot I’d styled and I just wanted to take the pictures because I just felt like I wanted to be in control of like all aspects of it so I was just like yeah give me the camera and then I just really enjoyed it.” Of course it took her a lot more practice and experimenting to achieve the signature style she has today. She said as much in a recent chat with Radr Online’s Chukwuka Nwobi.
Faith had lived in Lagos, Nigeria until 3 years ago when she moved with her parents to England. She now studies Politics and English Language at Birmingham, a course she has no interest in – at all. Speaking on the influence of Nigeria on her art, she says that living in Nigeria for such a long time has influenced her as a person completely.
More than anything, Faith wants her unique style of photography to reflect her personal aesthetic and to be recognisable on sight. Her goal is also to take more pictures that evoke thought and feeling, rather than just beautiful or cool pictures. She says to Radr, “I’m still like exploring all of that and I’m really getting to the stage where I wanna take pictures that are more than just like cool pictures or beautiful pictures or nice pictures and all of that I want to take pictures that have more meaning to them, that evoke more thought and feeling so…I definitely do think that being half Nigerian is gonna influence that in some way”
Obviously to Faith, photography is more than just an expensive hobby or a career choice. Expressing her passion she says, “I feel motivated to shoot because I just feel like anything you wanna do you can actually do it if you just put in the time and the effort to learn. If you love something you can do it, I feel like the only thing that stops people is self-doubt so I really really try not to have that and I just try and shoot as much as possible because I find it fun and yeah I’m just tryna work at it.” She also draws inspiration from Chinese photographer, Ren Hang.
Faith discusses her creative process as well, describing her ideas like precious sparks; which are not to be chased but come readily when due. “I love having an idea and being able to look at the picture and the idea is there and whether or not it’s exactly what you thought it would be, sometimes it is and sometimes it’s better. Sometimes it isn’t what you thought it was gonna be and then that’s how you learn how to make your images really come to life….…I want my next project like I said I want it to have a lot of meaning so I feel like I can’t really spend time thinking of an idea. It’s just gonna come to me I think like that’s how I guess the creative process is for me…I can’t like sit down and think of an idea it just like blocks all my mind and my creativity…”
Looking back on how it all started helps her to refuse limitations. Her chance stumbling upon photography has taught Faith that there is always an opportunity for growth and she says she is definitely not limiting herself to just photography. She insists, “I just wanna get to a level I’m happy with you know like really happy with my work and my skills before really focusing on other things”
The portrait photographer says she would like to expand to illustrations and documentaries but is just too obsessed with her work at the moment. She has also been playing around with Photoshop, and taking random pictures of things with her favourite film camera, the Olympus Point & Click. Doing this has made her more observant of the strange beauty in everyday objects around her; calling them ‘beautiful in a weird way’. Faith’s favourite digital camera is the Canon 750.
Currently on a placement year, she is taking time to flex her photography after a brief period working at Urban Outfitters. Faith studied shooting last summer.
Her closing words were, “Just go for it. Because the only thing that really stops people from following their passions is self-doubt or feeling like too many people are doing this… just follow that instinct; the intuition to do something if you really feel it.”
We hear you, Faith.