As Nataal’s New African Photography exhibition at Red Hook Labs approaches, we introduce the six artists who make up the group show

Meet Delphine Diaw Diallo. The French Senegalese artist studied at Académie Charpentier School of Visual Art, Paris before moving to New York to explore her mixed medium approach to photography. In 2012, the Smithsonian named her among Photography’s Emerging Stars. Her clients and press include the New York Times, Esquire, Nike, Converse and WAD. She’s participated in the Cardiff Photo Biennale, Photoquai Paris and Addis Photo and is currently on show at Dak’art 2016. She shows a mix of portraiture with Nataal from her Highness and Back to Africa series.

How did you discover photography?
You won’t believe me! I met Peter Beard. I was not thinking about being a professional at the time but Peter gave me that confidence to harness a power that I had within me. He said, ‘You have the eye and the heart so please keep expressing who you are and make sure your work is always honest. These lessons gave me that drive to start telling stories.

Why move to NYC to start your career?
There is no other city like it, my friend. Each time I travel and come back, I feel its diversity and self-expression. I originally arrived here with no money and pursued my goal of becoming a photographer and New York gave me freedom without boundaries.

"Every time I shoot pictures is a special moment
for me. I’m high on photography"

Tell us about your on-going photographic work in Senegal.
My mother is French and I grew up in Paris. I didn’t discover my Senegalese family on my father’s side until later on when I went to Dakar and St Louis. I’m talking about family as an extension of consciousness because I have a seemingly never ending number of my relatives. Now each time I come back I discover more and I am taking their portraits. I’ve been spending time in Senegal this year documenting the journey of my family and the life around me and plan to continue spending several months each year doing so, based on Gorée island.

How does shooting in Senegal influence your approach?
There’s such a difference in the way I’m thinking about Africa as opposed to the Western mentality. When I shoot it’s very organic, I don’t plan anything and lose my controlled eye. Time is a different concept there, it’s a different mentality that I find exciting. If I spend time drinking tea I will shoot that ritual object. If I’m having fun on the beach with some kids I’ll take pictures of them. It’s the experience of living with these people that I want to share with the world. It’s an amazing place of discovery, full of energy, love and community that surrounds me all the time. This is what I try to capture in my African pictures.

  What have been some of your proudest moments so far?
I have a bad memory so I don’t know. It’s a gift that I forget things quickly and therefore I don’t get depressed! But every time I shoot pictures is a special moment for me. I’m high on photography. In New York the commercial industry respects and understands me and as an artist I’m full of energy to produce new and relevant work.

What are your other current projects?
I’m showing some new work at Dak’art involving 3D printing, video projection and self-portraiture. I’m excited to show the work. I’m also featured in a new Afripedia documentary.


Nataal: New African Photography at Red Hook Labs,
133-135 Imlay St, Brooklyn, New York 11231
On view: 7-15 May, 2016


Words Helen Jennings

Visit Delphine Diallo
Visit Red Hook Labs