Ampi Aristu

An editorial interpretation of a journey to self discovery

A-Phrike is the conclusion of a trip through Gambia and Senegal; a personal reflection by photographer Ampi Aristu. Our approach captures Ampi’s intimate journey from outsider looking in, to a place of acceptance and understanding.

Travelling isn’t just about discovering new cultures or landscapes, it’s a means of gaining self-knowledge, discovering your fears and prejudices, and learning to set them aside in order to embrace the new and the different.

When we first met with Ampi, she explained her experience of the trip in detail. During the first few days she had difficulty connecting with the environment and the people around her. Self conscious and aware of cultural barriers, she imagined herself as a somewhat intrusive subject, and that made it difficult for her to feel completely comfortable with the camera in her hands and to capture all the beauty that existed around her.

Over time, these feelings of distance and ‘otherness’ began to disappear, giving way to a sense of intimacy and understanding as the essence of the place and the warmth of its people gradually enveloped her.

Our editorial proposal is focused on transmitting this process, exploring how Ampi’s sense of awareness developed over time and the impact this had on her photography. Compiled of a selection of analogue photographs, the images gain dimension as the viewer moves through the pages of the book, starting with distant landscapes and ending with portraits of people, as if zooming in with a camera lens.

The book concludes with a series of evocative watercolours transmitting both the warmth of the ochre landscapes and the warmth the subject feels for the people whose lives she has been let into.