Sisterhood is a photo-audio project that documents the various aspects of sisterhood in different environments.
Why Sisterhood? Why a Sisterhood Project?
I wish I was one of those people who are able to come up with an interesting, well-constructed and well-articulated answer for such a question. Unfortunately, I am not. In order to understand the reason behind this project, you might want to read the few paragraphs below. Or you could just skip them and look at the beautiful moments I managed to capture. It’s really up to you. But please do read :)
In all honesty, when I decided to work on this project, I had no idea what I was doing. In fact, I found myself baffled when a female friend of mine was questioning the idea of a male photographer trying to portray sisterhood. Don’t you think it would be better if it was a female photographer doing it? She asked. I thought to myself, damn, she really has a point. What the heck does a guy know about sisterhood anyways, I questioned myself. Interestingly, I came up with an answer for her. Once again, I had no idea where this answer came from. Don’t you think it would be better portrayed by a male photographer? Based on the premise that he would be unbiased, especially knowing that most guys have no clue what happens in the world of girls anyways. It would be almost like an observer’s perspective, I said to her. Valid point, she murmured, astonishingly.
Although I managed to convince my super opinionated friend, I found myself questioning the validity of the project, especially as to WHY? I couldn’t even remember how the idea of a sisterhood project came about. Normally, before someone works on a project, they have a rough idea as to why they are doing it, I assume. Clearly, this world of photography projects is new to me. I spent about two weeks trying to come up with a reason that led me to undertake this project but with no luck. I gave up on the why. “I’m sure people release projects without a deeper meaning all the time”, I convinced myself. The pictures look great, people will love the project either way.
It was only recently, when I was having a conversation with my younger sister, that it all started to slowly make sense. Oh, yes, I forgot to mention that I have a younger sister. Apologies. She is the only girl out of my 3 siblings. “Fille unique” we call her in French, which directly translates to “unique girl” in English. Sounds awesome, doesn’t it? Unfortunately, it is not as glamorous as it sounds.
The conversation I recently had with my sister revolved around her identity crisis. She is 19 years old and she is really struggling to define what it is that she is all about. That’s as much as I can share. So, she was asking me for advice. And although I gave her some advice, I could see how much it would have made a difference, had the advice come from a female sibling. And there have been many instances before where I really wish she had a female sibling, someone she could easily relate to. Girls and boys experience situations differently, I have been told. An older sister could have been someone to look up to, or someone’s mistakes she could learn from, as I do with my older brothers. A younger sister would have been someone who gave her a sense of responsibility, someone who pushes her to be the best version of herself as to not set a bad example for her. Either way, she would have had someone to share her experiences with, someone that really understands where she is coming from. Unfortunately, that someone does not exist for her. And I believe, that, among many others, is the reason behind this identity crisis.
All this led me to believe that MAYBE, subconsciously, the reason why I decided to work on a Sisterhood Project was to find some answers for my sister. My mind might have been looking for some sort of remedy for all those moments I wish I could have been a sister to her. As weird as that sounds.
Through this project, I managed to capture beautiful genuine moments between real sisters, moments that brought me joy as much as they did for them. The interviews I had with them made the whole process a lot more interesting and a bit emotional. I enjoyed seeing the sisters giving genuine answers to the questions about their sisterhood, some leading them to thinking deeper about their connection. I can only hope that they learnt from the process as much as I did. Above all, I was intrigued by their advice for the “unique girls” out there. “It’s not about the blood connection, but rather the value they bring to your life. Sisterhood can be found in a friend, another relative, or even strangers” they all said.
This is a dedication to my sister, to whom I say, be strong my love. Growing up is a brutal process, but one that we all have to go though, and with the right people around you, it can be so much fun. I hope this project brings a smile to your beautiful face.
Thank you to all the people that contributed, one way or another to the execution of this project.
Stephanie “Kenyaa” Mzee
Play the audio interview below while viewing the photographs…
Click on the pictures to view…