This portrait is an illustration I made to give hope to young women. The two overex- posed images show sadness and sorrow,
the injustices they face on the one hand, and on the other there are smiles. I want to show hope in a better tomorrow, the joy of living. 
This photo is part of a project I am currently working on entitled “A smile, a hope”  

A conversation about photography with Arlette Rhusimane Bashizi

Goma, east of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

What do you enjoy most about photography?
I like photography because through it I express myself very freely. I transmit what I see and what I feel without having to write long messages or long text.

Was there anything that inspired you to start making photos?
Regarding inspiration, I am passionate about communication and journalism since I was very young, and growing up I was interested in photography, to communicate visually. African Congolese woman inspire me a lot.

What is your favourite object/subject/topic to photograph?
I prefer to photograph stories in their natural and everyday life in order to document history or facts. I think it is more authentic. Sometimes I also take photos of models, often in African style. I also make black and white portraits.

Do you feel it is important to share your vision on social media?
I share my work on social networks because I think it’s important to share my visions that are glorifying African women’s exploits in particular, and women worldwide in general, and to denounce all social injustices that are happening in our communities. My camera must be the voice which helps women to denounce all those injustices. Social medias help me to have the greatest audience possible and it also helps us to connect to the whole world, which is an asset.

Who do you think is your aimed audience?
My aimed audience is women and youth.

Do you like working on stories at home/in your local community?
I like a lot to work on actual stories that happen in our different communities because they tell the true version of facts without distorting the story. Local stories easily explain the stories the injustices experienced, the suffering, and also the efforts made to reduce these injustices… But I would also like to travel and make photos in other regions I have never been to. It is a question of learning more about life of other communities, other people…

Do you think photography could change someone’s life? In what way?
I strongly believe that photography can change the way of living or seeing things for some people like myself, because an image containing a true message can change behaviour, a reaction. Also photography can inspire other women to overcome things and do what they want to do, for example a job that is supposed to be done by men only. According to the community’s design in which I grew up the fact of me doing photography can also inspire and influence other people directly or indirectly, to overcome and give women the opportunity to engage in other fields of life.

Women of Goma

I photograph women to praise the hard work they do every day, to show the whole world that they are capable of doing many things even if they often face so much social injustice. 

The difference that I see between young women and those who have already aged what I believe they no longer have the same aspirations for bringing to life they no longer have the same dream so I prefer to give more hope for the new generation thanks to the experiences of older women. Also because we have to invest a lot in the youth who represent the present and the future of the world.

I feel comfortable photographing both the younger and the older generation. Some people at first disagree to have their photo taken, they think we will use their faces for commercial purposes but after explaining why I take photos, some finally agree and I work can with them. 

Arlette Bashizi
Arlette Bashizi