Writing, photography and creative directing are worlds in which Stephanie Mzee’s message finds its place. In her latest body of work, “Where is the ‘ME’ in Media?” - The Black Woman, the Cape Town-based photographer uses the PAPERCUT series to question the loud voices which misrepresent black women in popular media.
Mzee describes herself as a writer before anything else but she chose to use photography as the medium for this project which she admits was born out of a personal and painful place. For “Where is the ‘ME’ in Media?” - The Black Woman, Mzee found herself in front on the camera lens with Wanda Banda, a model and friend she has collaborated with in the past. With their dark skin and hair covered in newspaper, each frame stands as a symbol of how black women’s bodies and stories have been seized by popular culture to portray the most profitable version--one which is rarely empowering to the black woman.
Social injustices experienced by women across borders extend to narratives in media, making autonomy of black women’s stories as foreign a concept as their equality to men or white bodies. “The PAPERCUT photo series is about how the media leaves little room for the Black woman to pen her own narrative. Her skin is polluted with the words used to oppress her,” Mzee unpacks the imagery. Her Fading Art Direction page is an extension of how she expresses her reality as a young, black woman who altogether consumes and produces media.