26 year old Photographer & Digital Content Producer
Neo Baepi found her click in the art of photojournalism and she is well on her way to making photographic history as a fierce and combative member of the LGBTQI community, documenting queer love and joy – to change the narrative that we are only to be consumed as sites of pain. Baepi says, “I love shooting people and suspending moments between me and them in time.”
Baepi was a part of the team that gave us the children’s book, The Girl Without A Sound. Since then, Neo has been doing the most with her work taking off to new heights. The photographer reflects, “All I really want to do with my work is take back some of the power, investing in “the culture” while being an integral part of it. White creatives tend to take and never invest in our shit. I also really want to shape representation of black queer, black womxn and black femme bodies. There needs to be more of us seen in different (positive) kinds of light.”
Baepi is riding the wave and taking it one day at at time, whilst continuously pushing boundaries and learning along the way, “most of this life thing has been through trial and error.” Neo cites her “really dope” dad and insightful little sister as her biggest inspirations and sources of support. As a photographer, Baepi is inspired by the likes of Anthony Bila, Andile Buka and Kgomotso Neto’s, “[Neto’s takes on portraiture are] incredibly raw and sometimes hard to look at because its so good.”
When asked about her immediate goals for the next year, Neo said, ” I’d really love to do a Cape to Cairo thing, but I always remember the small detail of me being a black presenting queer traipsing around a largely anti-gay Africa and get discouraged. So, I hope to have an accessible exhibition / coffee table book of all the queer joy I’d have documented.”
Despite everything Neo has achieved and continues to do, growth is always a tough learning exercise but it has to be done. Reflecting on her younger days, Baepi wanted to tell her 16 year old self, that baby girl, in the end ‘issa gonna be alright’, “I’d tell that baby dyke to chill there’s really no need to stress about coming out, they all know. Accounting is a really shit subject that you’ll never ever need and I’m sorry that you have to go through it. Also, chances are the girl you like likes you back. Lol”.
Images by Neo Baepi