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Dola Posh: "I find peace by silencing what is not essential to me."

Dola Posh is a Nigerian portrait photographer based in the United Kingdom. She works from the landscape of her imagination and focuses on telling the stories of everyday life. She is working on the project Omo mi, meaning ‘my child’ - which explores the delicate and life-changing experience of a mother and her child.


Can you share more about your story of how you got into photography, with a strong focus on self-portrait photography?
As a child, I loved photographs, and I found myself rearranging the old family albums repeatedly. When I became a teenager, my parents bought me my first camera - a little pink Sony camera- that summer I took pictures of everything I found. Then I continued to take photographs while I was studying Marine Biology at the University of Lagos. After I graduated, Photography was all I kept working on. In 2018, I relocated to the UK and living in a new city, I didn’t have anyone to photograph, and no one gave me a chance. It got so lonely, and I didn’t know how to express myself or make a living, so I started making self-portraits; since then, things have changed for me, and with time I grew to love the story of the woman and mother I am becoming. So I kept documenting my life’s story.


Who are you today, and what is different from ten years ago?
Today I am a portrait photographer and a mother to a precious girl. (I think it is important to include that I am a mom- women shouldn’t feel ashamed to say this- as being a mom is part of who we are- my life has changed since the birth of my daughter). I am also self-aware and confident. I am incredibly patient, calm and live freely without fear of what others think of me. I make the life of dreams with the little I have. Ten years ago, I was 20 and timid.


What was the best personal and professional advice you were ever given? One of my mentors ‘Maggie Steber’ mentioned that creative spirits come and go, and when I feel less creative, I should embrace it as part of the creative process. Take a break and find the way back to myself.


From a creative standpoint, what or who has been your biggest influence?Nature and my everyday life have been the most significant influence on my creative life. Also, my culture and traditions as a Yoruba-Nigerian woman.


Where or what is your happy place? How do you find peace?
Making photographs is my happy place, writing quietly in my creative corner at home -making meals or eating dinner with my family - my head, sometimes daydreaming I am the most content. I find peace when I am alone, thinking clearly or sitting by a lake or in a garden. I find peace by silencing what is not essential to me.


How important is a connection with nature for you?
Nature is light and joy for me. It healed my postpartum depression; it taught me how to see as a photographer, appreciate colours, and notice other life influences; sometimes, I look at a flower, and all I see is a dress that can be used for a shoot. It is the most beautiful thing. I nurture this connection by taking walks every day, also sitting outside watching birds fly.


How do you start your day?
I wake up every day between 6 am, and 6:30 am; I pray and read the verse of the day in my bible. I do 10 mins yoga, brush my teeth, shower and do my face and body routine. Write down my thoughts and go through my plan of the day. Then between 8 am, and 8:30 am, my daughter ‘little daisy’ wakes up, we do her morning routine, and then have breakfast together; our go-to is oats and berries with seeds of choice or egg toast and avocado. After this, we play together, go on a walk, have a cold drink, and I go straight to edit or writing- if it is a photoshoot day, we do that first and then go on a walk afterwards.


How do you take care of your body, mind and soul?
I exercise, eat healthily and use vitamins; I dance around a lot, take walks, drink water and yummy smoothies. In my quiet time, I read. I stay moisturised, I practice gratitude for everything going on in my life. My connection to God makes me feel at peace.


How do you take care of your skin?
I am minimal for what I use on my skin- I stick to natural organic products that are hydrating, and for my face, I use a serum and face moisturising cream and Sunscreen.


Do you have any rituals?
Every week I make one image at least - sometimes, the story comes out as imagined; if not, I try again. I make sure to write helpful thoughts or stories on weekends. I also love a warm foot soak at night while I read a book. I enjoy buying fresh morning bread and fruits at the farmers market on weekends.


What is your guilty pleasure?
I enjoy watching old movies over and over again.


What advice would you give yourself at the age of 16?
Your nerdiness/quirkiness is what makes you ingenious- embrace it-be yourself.


Is there any book you love and would recommend people to read?
So many books I can recommend, but I will say, “read the book of your life”. Pay attention to everything you draw towards and enjoy it.


Can you share one piece of wisdom which will encourage women reading this to grow and find their inner strength and confidence?
As women/mothers, we need to share our stories more, have a voice, celebrate our experiences, be honest about our thoughts, emotions, and not bottle them up inside. To also live beautifully and share happiness and kindness on earth. Embrace who we are without comparisons. It is who I am and who I want to continue to be; I hope it spreads to others.


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