Photographer in Focus – Meet Conceptual, Portrait and Fashion Photographer Cole Ndelu
Published 8 months ago by

She creates from an unapologetically black and unapologetically feminine place.

Cole Ndelu is a Johannesburg based conceptual, portrait and fashion photographer who defines her work as “fashion documentary” and describes herself as a visual communicator mainly because she uses visuals as a medium to tell stories. 

Ndelu wants her work to inspire awe, rouse an emotional response because people are seeing themselves in a way they’ve never imagined while being inspired and proud. 

READ: Photographer in Focus – Meet Kristin-Lee Moolman

She creates from an unapologetically black and unapologetically feminine place.  

Cole believes in making the imagery that she wanted to see growing up, the way that she wants to make it. Her work contributes to the archive of work that challenges the idea of Africa and what it means to be African that has been popularized by mainstream media. 

She told Jameson Indie: “I’m driven by a few things: Fundamentally, I like to say that I create from an unapologetically black and unapologetically feminine place because being black and a woman have informed and shaped my life in so many ways – good and bad. And being black and a woman informs my interaction with the world and my photographic practice. So, I predominantly create work that celebrates blackness and femininity (and femininity is a spectrum which is something that I’m very conscious of). 

“I’m always trying to re-see marginalized bodies and celebrate them as well. I have little sisters and a lot of what I do is meant to inspire my little sisters and brown girls everywhere because I want them to grow up seeing themselves as glorious and amazing and beautiful and loved and celebrated. I also want to inspire people of all ages, in every sector (not creatives) – I just want people to know that their dreams are possible. 

“And I’m driven by my desire to be a better photographer – to see better, to be more creative. I just try to better myself every time I come up with a concept and step onto a set.” 

Her work has been exhibited locally and internationally and she has been featured in international photography publications like Photography UK and New Internationalist. 

She was also part of Design Indaba’s Emerging Creatives Class in 2018. 

READ: Photographer in Focus: Meet Self-Taught Photographer Fundiswa Ntoyi

See more of her work here. 

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