In this interview, OurPass talks to passionate photographer and loyal OurPass merchant, Aisha Ife. We cover much of her background and career accomplishments, as well as her inspirations in life.
What’s your name and what do you do?
Hi! My name is Ifeoluwa Goriola. I’m popularly known as Aisha Ife — my brand name. I’m a portrait and product photographer, a business owner and a hobbyist illustrator.
Is this what you’ve always dreamed of doing?
This wasn’t what I wanted to be as a little girl. I wanted to be a civil engineer. I dabbled into it a little, but it wasn't for me so I stopped.
What barriers have you faced in your career or business due to being a woman?
I don’t think I’ve faced any barriers in my career, particularly due to my gender, because my business is mostly faceless. I’ve not put my face out as the person behind the brand. This is the first time I’ll be going on camera for anything, so nobody knows it’s owned by a woman. But in my photography career, there have been a few times where people have treated me a certain type of way during shoots or negotiations and I knew that that was done to me because I am a woman. They wouldn’t have tried that with a male photographer.
What has resonated with you the most as a career woman?
Toot your own horn and be loud about your work as much as possible. You have to be confident in yourself and your abilities. Yes, you're going to be afraid a lot of times, but you have to do it afraid. Just make sure you’re putting yourself out there and that people can see you. Try to be visible as much as possible.
Is there anyone that inspires you in your career?
There are a few people whose work I like, but I don’t think the word is particularly “inspire” for me. I don’t really pay attention to other people, but there are a few people whose work I admire. It’s not a thing, for me, where I look up to them and say I want to be like that person.
What would you say is your greatest accomplishment yet?
I’ll say it’s successfully transitioning from a traditional career to a creative one. As I mentioned earlier, I wanted to be a civil engineer when I was younger, and I actually did go to school for it. I really liked it, but at some point, I just didn't want to do it anymore. So, transitioning from a clear career path to being a creative and business owner, is one of my greatest accomplishments yet because I feel like I’ve been very successful at it.
What progress have you seen on gender equality in your life and work?
I feel like a lot of people are now more aware of gender disparity; a lot of things that women go through that are not right. There’s progress, but I don’t think it’s so much, but I guess every little progress should be celebrated. And also, compared to when I started photography, I know a lot more female photographers now. And for business, I don’t think the progress in having women in business is about the numbers, because I think women have always been in business. The issue is, maybe, scaling. We don’t have that situation where a lot of women are scaling properly in their business, there are also still a lot of barriers to getting capital for women. And also, in the home, it’s not easy being a mother and running a business. Society doesn’t make it easy. Women don’t get the kind of support they need to be able to scale properly.
If you were to define yourself in one word, what would it be?
What impact would you like to make in the world?
Early in my photography career, I had a problem with the fact that I didn’t know many female photographers, apart from the very popular names. I didn’t know anyone that was starting out like I was. And so I started a community with a couple of women which is still very much active. It’s a community of Nigerian female photographers, and I feel like that is a way I’ve made a tiny change. It’s helping more women get visibility. So you can go on the page, see a lot of women photographers and be wowed, because people don’t know that women are doing these amazing things. So, I think that’s a way I’d like to make a change — to increase the visibility of Nigerian women in photography.
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