#PhotoEssay: ‘Double Face’ by Ussi’n Yala explores the sensitivity and strength of a woman

We continue with our #PhotoEssay series which uses visuals to express more narratives relatable to the African mind with Ussi’n Yala’s new visual project. Ussi’n is a self-taught photographer based in Paris and originally from Gabon, his work touches on gender, sexuality, and freedom of expression from the African perspective. His last work Fluid Self was a series of raw, composed portraits intended to deconstruct rigid definitions of masculinity and stereotypical depictions of blackness, it got featured on Hunger MagazineHis new work which he’s shared with us titled ‘Double Face’, and he’s explained it in his own words.
“Double Face” is a project that I’ve created in collaboration with the stylist Clément Réthoré, the make-up artist Sacha Giraudeau and the Cameroonian singer artist London Loko. Through this series of photos, we explore the sensitivity and strength of a woman, two traits that are totally opposed to each other, but which nevertheless combine well with each other and make perfect duality.

The problem is that in many societies, despite the different actions that are being undertaken today to raise awareness and to change our vision and our relationship with women, we still tend to take the woman’s sensitivity for weakness and treat them as an “inferior being” and “not-able”. We forget, however, that behind this sensitivity lies a strength capable of leading them to achieve much greater things than men are able to do and to manage situations with much more flexibility and intelligence. Where we all come from, for example, the majority of women are silently subject and are not allowed to do what men do.

In this series, we wanted to illustrate our remarks by highlighting the relationship between women and the land. That of a mother who feeds her children with all the sweetness that emanates from her. We often tend to say that men are stronger than women but we also forget that we all come from the earth, as we also come from women.

London Loko being an artist neither too “girly”, nor too “tomboy” but who’s rather in between with a rather rock style, we tried to highlight her personality by affirming her a little more.

The leather, the dark skin tones, and the belts tied around the arms also refer to the past, including slavery. Leather for the skin, very black, and chained. Like African men, African women have also experienced this ordeal and have been as strong as men in overcoming each of the challenges they faced, who even in this situation continued to manage on all fronts.


Today women are asserting themselves and masks are falling. In some societies, we realize the place they have and what they represent. It has been said for a long time that behind a great man hides a great woman. But what if we stopped putting them in a box and let women “be”?


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