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Profiles: Noura Salifu

WORDS: Ajay Woolery, Noura Salifu

MEDIA: Noura Salifu

This week we spoke to 17-year old Filmmaker and Photographer Noura Salifu about her journey, inspirations and, best advice.

AW: Tell us about yourself and what you do..

NS: My name is Noura, I am a 17-year old filmmaker and photographer from a small town in Germany. I am currently a senior in high school and will be graduating in July.

AW: How did you get into Film and Photography?

NS: I started with photography initially two years ago. I hung out with a friend of mine who had a camera and took some pictures on it and I actually really liked it. So I asked another friend who had a camera if I could borrow it for some time and the person said yes. In the first year of photography, I rarely took pictures because I wasn't really paying much attention to photography. At the pandemic in March, I finally took photography much more serious. At that time I only had the old Nikon of a friend. So I got a job and bought myself my first own camera. I also started to invest more time in filmmaking because that's the direction I want to go. I am someone who really loves watching movies especially TV shows and I was always curious about the behind-the-scenes, and that's where my love and interest in filmmaking begun. Since March last year, I have been working on my filmmaking and photography more than ever. I am constantly planning, shooting, and editing. I even started film photography a couple of months ago.

AW: What do you believe influences the aesthetic of your work? And how do you hope to make the viewer feel when they are viewing one of your images or films?

NS: Personally I don't think I have an aesthetic yet, I am still experimenting. But something I truly aspire to do with my work is to bring more inclusivity into the photography and filmmaking world. I want my viewer to feel represented in any kind of way in my work, I want the viewer to see themselves in the people I take pictures of or film. This is something I am currently working on: I want to photograph more diverse people with an interesting background as well as stories that had not had the chance yet to be told. I think my work is influenced by the injustice in the world and the lack of representation of minorities and people who don't fit the norm in media.

Works by Noura Salifu

AW: What do you do to keep yourself motivated and interested in your work?

NS: Because I love filmmaking and photography so much it is not something I have to motivate myself to do, I just want to do it all day every day naturally. I mostly have ideas in store, of course, sometimes I am in a creative slump. When I don't feel like working on my creative projects then I don't, I just chill out and watch TV shows which indirectly inspires me to work on my ideas again.

AW: Who have been your greatest influences?

NS: My greatest influences at the moment when it comes to filmmaking are Ava DuVernay, the director of When they see us, Sam Levinson, the director of Euphoria, Baran Bo Odar, the director of DARK. I also find Bradford Young, the DP of When they see us, as well as Mika Berra, a DP, and Salomon Lighthelm, a music video director, really inspiring. All of these people create extraordinary stories and push for more diversity in the film industry especially Ava. When it comes to photography I have been very inspired by Rosie Matheson and Jm Tubera, two very talented film portrait photographers. Both of them photograph very diverse people and create stories with portraits which is a thing I want to be able to do.

AW: What peice(s) of advice would you give to another young creative?

NS: Advice I would give another young creative is to hold onto your art, let nobody tell you that you should not do what you are doing. Maybe you are thinking of making it your career which is completely fine. The only things you need are faith in yourself and working hard at your craft. If you don't believe in what you are doing nobody will! You should always be your biggest fan!

Learn More about Noura Salifu by checking out her work on Instagram and Personal website linked below!

A Special Thanks to Noura for sharing her story!