Seleen: April Black Women Photographers Showcase
We’ve partnered with Black Women Photographers, a group that aims to disrupt the notion that it is difficult to discover and commission Black creatives, to do a showcase of some of their members. Founded by fellow photographer Polly Irungu, it is a home for Black women to receive proper recognition, and most importantly, get hired — they are dedicated to providing a hiring resource for the industry’s gatekeepers. Through honest dialogue via social conversations and workshops, the platform seeks to ensure that more Black women are empowered to make the industry as colorful as it ought to be. Polly also started a COVID-19 relief fund to help support this community as they navigate the pandemic.
We are in such admiration of the work that Polly and the BWP community have been doing, and we’re excited to announce that each month for the next 12 months, we’ll be showcasing a photographer from the Black Women Photographers community here on our blog! Be sure to check out their thoughtful words, work and to connect with them! Head on over to the Black Women Photographers website to learn more about this amazing group, and if you’re hiring, reach out HERE to see how you can get access to the database!
This month, you’ll meet Seleen Saleh, a photographer based out of Brooklyn, New York. We hope that you love reading about her inspirations, and her fashion photography as much as we do!
What kind(s) of photography are your main focus?
Fashion, Beauty and Portraits
Where are you based out of?
I am based in Brooklyn, New York and travel for work sometimes.
How long have you been photographing?
I have been taking photos for over 10 years.
How did you first get started in photography? When did you become interested in photography?
I started taking pictures in high school. My art teacher had us do photography for the year. I really enjoyed it. During that time I painted as well. My focus was to paint fashion editorials. When I went to college my school was only offering graphic design not actually painting so I decided to focus on fashion photography.
How did you know you wanted to be a photographer?
When I was a teenager and saw the 1990 British Vogue cover of the Supermodels with Naomi Campbell, I was so excited! That was a defining moment for me! It was so empowering to see someone that looked like me on the cover of Vogue! I painted that cover in oil paints along with other fashion editorials. It wasn’t until I started shooting that I really knew this is it.
What inspires you?
There are so many things that inspire me. I love beautiful things so it could be a piece of clothing, a color, the location and most of all the people I photograph.
What are your favorite things to shoot?
At the moment I love shooting street style! I really love to photograph creative people. Meeting interesting people with great style is one of my favorite things to do!
How would you describe your photography style and approach?
My style is colorful, eclectic and inspiring. My approach is quiet, intimate and I like to connect with the heart.
What are you most proud of as a photographer?
I am so proud to finally publish my first photo book “Street Culture” I am also so happy that it is spreading awareness about the people who are featured.
What are your short-term goals for the future? Long term goals?
My short term goal is to do a new series of environmental portraits and do some video. Long term is to travel more and publish my next two books in the “Street Culture” series as well as complete a fine art series called “Royal Antiquities.”
What have you gotten out of being a part of the Black Women Photographers community? What does it mean to you?
I think it is such a beautiful, powerful organization full of so many talented individuals! It is completely refreshing to hear Black Women Photographers and be supported by them.
Have you attended any of the BWP events? If so, which ones & what have you gotten out of them?
I have attended many valuable talks hosted by BWP. One was for the Alexa grant and grant writing. That was very helpful in noting what the grants are looking for, etc. I have seen artists like Joshua Kissi and AB&DM give some insight on the industry and even some mishaps on jobs, and their approach. I also really liked Maneela’s discussion on her background, approach and creative work. It was so refreshing to hear from her.
What’s your approach to organizing your images?
I like to label my folders by Date_ProjectDescription_(Selects, Final, etc).
Do you have any tips for ways to work more efficiently and/or streamline your photography workflow?
After shooting I like to open a folder of raw images into Photo Mechanic. There is no processing time which I LOVE! Then I start to edit with checks (tags), then stars. After a few takes, I narrow down then copy my images to a sections folder. From there I continue to edit down the final images.
How has Photo Mechanic made an impact on the way you work?
Photo Mechanic is my go-to for editing images and rating them. It’s fast and efficient. During fashion week season I would have multiple clients, and I used PM to rate differently for each client. Then I would process them as a whole. The image ratings remain even after processing in other software which I loved.
Thanks so much for reading! Be sure to connect with Seleen on Instagram.
This was brought to you by Camera Bits, the makers of Photo Mechanic. To try a free 30-day trial of Photo Mechanic, go here!