Initiative to capture mixed-race faces
Mixedracefaces is a family-run organisation that captures portraits and stories of people with mixed heritages.
It was founded in 2018 by photographer Tenee Attoh and has since worked with the British Heart Foundation, Poetic Unity, The Institute of Cancer Research, the NHS and Oxford and Cambridge Universities. She talks about what inspired her to create the organisation and the goal is to raise awareness of the world’s growing population of mixed-race people.
What or who spurred you on to create Mixedracefaces?
Mixedracefaces is in honour of Rienkje Zoet, my late mother. Rienkje was a Dutch woman who married my father Fred Attoh, a Ghanaian photographer, in the 1950s and lived in Ghana for 25 years. She was a strong woman who broke down barriers to enter a different culture and began a legacy in a time when interracial relationships were not widely accepted.
Was your father a well-known photographer in Ghana?
Yes, also was a chief of James Town, Accra. He was born in 1927 and sadly passed away in 2019.
Why did you use photography as the medium for capturing people’s stories and why do you think it works?
A popular trend on social media is to present images using filters or presented against the best scenario/background possible. An image can speak a thousand words. Our image brings life to their story and when we photograph a person, we look to emphasise their true self which could be a breath of fresh air to people’s feeds.
Has the topic of race been one that organisations you work with are more willing to have with you post George Floyd’s murder?
The organisations we have engaged with, prior to the death of George Floyd, have been really good in knowing that there needs to be more awareness and improvement on diversity within their workplaces. Nevertheless, we did see a higher demand in our services arising from the Black Lives Matter movement and protests. The impact we have directly seen is creating safe spaces and inspiring workplaces to recognise the varied cultures that we have in society.
We also hope that the organisations continue to listen to their staff to shape a better way forward for racial equality. Our interviews are also designed to provide the organisation with real feedback.
Do you have a favourite story or one that has been really powerful to you and why?
We actually feel that each story is unique and it is impossible to compare truth with truth.
Where do you see your project evolving to in the next five years?
Our plans are forever evolving and we like to stay creative so would respond to this question with ‘continue to follow us on our journey’. Education is at our core focus and we want to continue to help improve racial equality in any aspect we can. We are particularly interested in exploring regions with less of an ethnic minority population. This is to open further discussions surrounding race & identity.