First discovering her passion for image-making as a child, snapping photos of fellow Sunday church-goers on 35mm, London-based photographer Terna Jogo has turned her life-long passion into a career. Constructing whole other worlds from behind the camera, her transportive approach to fashion photography — seeing her capture Youtuber Nella Rose as a Renaissance queen for a magazine cover — has established her as one of the British capital’s most exciting young talents.
Below, she discusses how she uses her practice to represent the multifaceted nature of Blackness, her role as Fashion Editor for youth-led media platform GUAP and the emerging photographers she thinks you should look out for.
Have you always been creative?
I think I’ve always been curious and solution-driven, which was the starting point of my creativity. When I was younger, “creative” was not a term I recall hearing much or that I think I would have used to describe myself. Throughout my formal education, the subject I was best at and which I was most drawn to was Media and Communications and that’s where I remember exploring my creativity the most!
When did you first discover photography?
I discovered photography through church. I would take pictures of my late father’s congregation on one of those 35mm film point and shoot cameras or with someone’s phone I’d borrowed. That was when I discovered I liked taking photographs. At A-level, I studied Photography and was introduced to the history and technicalities of the medium. I actually only thought photography might help me get somewhere in life because I overheard one of my classmates saying they wanted to be a photographer when they were older.
How would you describe your practice?
One thing I’ve always focused on is representing Black people in multi-faceted ways. My ideas and perception of how I do this are always changing and I’m also yet to deeply explore my practice outside the context of work, which I’m looking forward to doing this year.
Why is photography your preferred creative medium?
I love photography because it depicts and manipulates the truth at the same time and it can do this in real-time. The possibilities are endless.
Who are some of the photographers who most inspire you?
I’m inspired by so many photographers, every single day. There’s so much upcoming talent that I see and it’s sick to be a part of that cohort. I have to give an honourable mention to Micaiah Carter, he’s the first contemporary photographer whose work I really felt in awe of.
What are some of your favourite projects you’ve worked on so far?
My favourite professional project I’ve worked on so far is the cover of GUAP’s Renaissance edition — I think it was their most impactful cover yet. My favourite personal project I have worked on, which is still ongoing, was something I started during my Fashion Photography MA at UAL. I developed a brand called B.A.D, short for “Brave, Audacious, Daring”. The brand serves as a space to explore concepts around Black identity as influenced by different Black Renaissances that have happened and are currently happening in the UK.
Tell us about your work with GUAP, where you’re currently Fashion Editor. How long have you worked with the collective?
I’ve been with the collective for two years and joined after a chance meeting with one of the co-founders. A key part of the work we do is finding people we believe in and giving them their flowers before it becomes popular to do so.
Who are some emerging photographers that you admire?
I admire India-Mae for her candidness, Oghalé Alex for the consistency of his aesthetic, Otto Masters for his ability to pivot to still life photography during lockdown and Connor Cunnigham because his work his weird, colourful and fun to look at.
A lot of your work is within the fashion space — are there any changes you want to see in the industry?
I would like to see image-makers paid more for their work by big brands!
What’s next for you?
More growth hopefully!