Khadijat Yussuff: Paving the Way for an Inclusive Art Scene

Khadijat Yussuff is one of the most, intelligent, well-spoken, uplifting people I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting. We were involved in an all-sizes, all races, body positive photoshoot for a local business’ marketing plan back in 2017, and that’s when their personality began to shine through.

They (Khadijat's preferred pronoun) would intently watch the other models’ posing, and respond with boisterous positive feedback. They were constructive, but sweet and it made me feel empowered and comfortable in front of a camera with a group of people I’d never met before.

I later learned that Khadijat was also a photographer, and after some mild research, I understood how this attitude was mimicked in their work.

Their photography shows their focal point in a new way exploring topics like gender and femininity, but their message highlights some of the most overlooked, creative people in the industry.

Yussuff stated, “Most of the women represented in the creative industries are cis-white women that concentrate on shock value as a means of selling a product. It’s what I refer to as ‘trauma centric,’ which of course sexual assault is an important topic, but it can’t be the only viewpoint represented. Media shapes public opinion, and if all perspectives are not shown, it offers a skewed view.”

They are a champion for the forgotten, and an advocate for change. We talked further about why photography is a good venue for them to showcase this forgotten subsection of the industry.

They said, “Photography is a good way to show people that you respect them, despite how long you’ve known them. It’s also a reminder to me that my life doesn’t revolve around me. There is so much collecting stories, learning, and opportunity to be had and I’m grateful for the opportunities that I’ve had to help remind me of that.”

When asked what is next for Khadijat, they responded, “I’m excited to not only produce what I want, but focus on how other’s perceive it, and I’m excited to hopefully face myself on a broader scale.”

You can find Khadijat’s work on their Instagram page.

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