Sade-Mia: Heston Kids

  • Photography and words  Sade-Mia
  • Foreword  Max Barnett

Early this summer I had the pleasure of hosting a Zoom portfolio review for some of the talented photography graduates of Middlesex Universities class of 2020. During that meeting, I was presented with the project Heston Kids by graduate Sade-Mia. I was struck by the power of the imagery and knew I wanted to see more. Graduating university and entering the ‘real world’ is a daunting process on a regular year, add to this the specific issues that COVID has caused, and I can only imagine that graduating now must feel more difficult than ever. I implore all creative graduates to find ways to continue pursuing their interests, even if only in a part-time/free time capacity; to keep the love alive. Sade put together a few words for us to read alongside her imagery. I am pleased to present Heston Kids by Sade-Mia:

Heston Kids started as a uni project in my second year. I aimed to photograph a group of south Asian girls but, in the middle of the project, I realised that my main focus was on my cousin Kyra. I became drawn to her as I feel we have similar interests and style. Kyra doesn’t follow cultural norms on what it means to be a ‘south Asian girl’, which is something I wanted to show in my photography, as well as how London culture has influenced her growing up as she lived in the midlands before.

This project aimed to show an authentic day in the life of teenagers growing up in London. I am intrigued by the idea of the adolescent; documenting different teens and their breakaway from childhood. I know this subject has been documented a lot, but I wanted to do it in my own way as a south Asian photographer photographing a young south Asian teenager in her vulnerable years. Photographing her transitions of appearance, relationships, and friendships. I don’t think south Asian women and girls are well represented in the art world so I want to create a platform to show people how diverse we can be.

Kyra and I became quite close after going to India together to spread our nan’s ashes a few summers ago. I brought my 35mm camera with me and decided to take portraits of her while we were there. I realised she was photogenic and she enjoyed having her photo taken. So, after coming back to London we met up and shot over the following months. It’s been interesting to see how she’s changed and how open she’s become. I am just inspired by how she doesn’t care what people think and dresses and does what she pleases. This is refreshing to see, as growing up I wasn’t exposed to any south Asian girls like this. It feels nice to have someone who has similar interests to me; for example, we both like skating so we would usually meet up and skate and I would have my camera around my neck, ready to capture any interesting moment. I enjoy being around her friends as well, it is refreshing to hear what other people have to say that aren’t your age. It reminds me of my childhood of aimlessly hanging around high streets.

Click here to see more work by Sade, we look forward to seeing what comes next from her.

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