woman holding a vase of flowers staring at the camera

Redeye, the Photography Network aims to support photographers and strengthen the wider photographic industry. As part of this mission we enjoy visiting university courses in the UK, offering advice and guidance to students wishing to build their experience, confidence and skills in the sector. At the end of each academic year we attend the final degree shows of the courses we have visited; it’s a chance to celebrate the successful culmination of all those years studying with the graduating class of students.  

In 2023 we were invited to the degree shows of the University of Salford, University of Cumbria, Manchester School of Art at Manchester Metropolitan University and the University of Bolton. At each degree show we award the Redeye prize which gives the successful photographer support throughout the first year after graduation. 

We’re so pleased to announce another of our awardees – Vania Fernandes from the University of Bolton. As part of the Redeye prize, we invite the winners to do an Instagram Takeover of our account, you can view Vania’s starting from this post here.

We would like to say a huge congratulations to Vania – discover more about her final degree show work “I AM WOMAN I AM BLACK” from Vania herself, below:

“Never be limited by other people’s limited imaginations.” – Dr. Mae Jemison

“Every time you state what you want or believe, you’re the first to hear it. It’s a message to both you and others about what you think is possible. Don’t put a ceiling on yourself.” – Oprah Winfrey

‘I am black I am woman’  is an intimate exploration of my own identity and sense of representation as a black woman. I have presented different representations and perspectives of what could have been, what currently is, what will be through this series of six photographs that are based in experiences lived by me and women in my life.

These representations depict how others perceived me as black woman, but also my own perspective of who I believe I am as a black woman in my own terms.

I have faced myself and the stereotypes I grew up hearing about as a black woman by creating self- portraits that connect me and woman in my family and life that I considered key influencers in the construction of my identity and the way I feel represented and the way I present myself to the world.

As self-portraits, they reflect faces of my family and heritage primarily key woman in my life: my grandmother, Mother, sisters etc... These figures have deeply influenced how I present myself to the world.

‘I am woman I am black’ is a reminder to me that, as a black woman that, I am proud of who I am, my heritage and the woman that came before me. It is also a reminder that I must always fight for what I want and should never allow set standards created by other people to define me, because at the end of the day, we are all single limited versions of ourselves, therefore we cannot be labelled.

Photo credit: Vania Fernandes

Vania also has a different body of work featured in a group exhibition at Bolton Museum that runs until 5 November 2023, discover more here. 

Discover more about Vania and her work here on her website and Instagram:

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