Spotlight: Sam Akinwumi

Business intern by day, poet and photographer by night Sam is a man of many talents. Constantly inspired by the creativity around him, he fell in love with the camera. A year later he has yet to put it down. Combining this with his love of poetry developed into the site known as the Black Verse.

Here’s what happened when I spoke to Sam about his journey so far.

Tell me more about your site?

The site is theblackverse.co.uk. It is where I have collated the collection of poems and pictures from all the poets involved in the black verse. It is a place for people to come and just check out black beauty black voices in all their natural glory. The images I have captured are of the poets just being themselves.

What inspired the idea? 

I initially just wanted to bring some exposure to black poets and also use my photography to do it. I know quite a few under the radar black poets whose words could literally make you cry. And it is about time these poets get some recognition and there work put other there for others to see. I also wanted to just create a social platform for poets to be able to come and see each other work potentially get inspired and also potentially collaborate on a piece.

Do you prefer the poetic of the photographer and why?

Yes, I do prefer photography over being a poet. Photography I feel gives you an insight into people, what their tendencies are how they like to be photographed it gives you a small doorway into their soul even though that sounds a little cliche. TBH I have always been very interested in the way people change themselves when there is a lens present, the second the shutter of a camera is heard people fix themselves and put on their best face I must admit its a little humorous. Photography makes you very critical of the world around you see angles and images you want to capture everywhere but also it makes you appreciate the beauty around you more.

How do you see the site developing in the future?

Well the black verse is beyond just the site. There are going to be showcased for the black verse poets to come and perform. The hope is that I can potentially get someone in the national media industry to support the page and show some of the artist work. I do plan on potentially doing a black verse 2.0 potentially going outside the UK and including an artist from around the globe but you shall have to wait and see if I can make that happen.

What does success look like for you?

If I am being honest I don’t know what success looks like for me. I am just a guy with a camera who went around trying to capture the world around him. I just wanted to capture the poetic power of black poets. I didn’t expect so many poets to come out and support and want to get involved in my project so to all of them I say THANK YOU. I hope the site will show people that being black is beyond misery and the negative stereotypes the media likes to perpetuate I want to replace these images with ones of black joy, black love and black unity. I want those images to be the norm.

What is the best thing about working with other Poets and spoken word artists?

They are all so diverse in their stories. It has been an incredible journey meeting all of them and just getting the chance to try to capture their essence to try to depict who they are in a series of images. However, the best part I must say is hearing the different answers to ‘what do you think it means to be black?’ some of the answers just took my breath away I did photo shoots with 36 poets and not a single two answers were similar.

Any final shoutouts or plugs 

When you get the chance take a look through theblackverse Instagram page. All one word some of the artists will be tagged follow them and let them know what you think of their work.

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