Artist Deun Ivory Shares the Inspirational Stories Behind Her Photos

By Leah Aulisio-Sharpe | March 30, 2022

Creative visionary Duen Ivory has long been on her quest to capture collective femme beauty and love through her work of healing. Ivory says, “My intention is to create space for Black women to feel celebrated, confident, and comfortable. When we feel seen and prioritized, we show up in such a powerful way and it’s an incredible experience to be able to bask and document the moments when we feel the most beautiful.” As she continues to soar and spread magic through her lens, Ivory took a moment to share with EDITION her favorite aspects of these four phenomenal shoots.

See more: Deun Ivory's Art Inspires a Deeper Love

Issa Rae x CRWNMAG

In 2020, Ivory was approached to collaborate with CRWNMAG to shoot actress Issa Rae for their storytellers' issue. This shoot gives us multiple perspectives of Rae that fill viewers with a sense of intimacy and raw beauty in an authentic way.

“Black women are innately multifaceted, and every aspect of who we are matters and is worthy of being celebrated. We exist as so many things, in so many different capacities – we contribute so much to the world and as a visual storyteller, I want to honor that,” Ivory states.

Ivory recalls the energy present during the shoot and the “certain elegance” that Rae carries, which she describes as both inspiring and down to earth. Moments of organic laughter between Rae and friends stick with Ivory to this day.

Summer Walker Album Cover

One of last year's most anticipated albums, Summer Walker’s Still Over It gave the girls everything they were asking for. This album is filled with a wide range of raw emotions stemming from heartache and transition. And the cover is an example of resilience and persistence. Regarding the inspiration behind the cover, Ivory says, “We wanted to visually communicate a raw, authentic, and honest representation of motherhood. Our intention was to create an iconic visual of what it looks like to embrace a new identity as a mother.”

Ivory describes the experience of working with Walker as “an honor” – especially in creating and capturing such an intimate depiction of the artist. Ivory adds, “It's real life and people connect to real things. For Summer Walker, so many of her fans resonate with her story as she’s entering this new chapter. It was important that we remained true to her intention of giving raw and honest experiences, even visually.”

Kellee and Adi

This shoot, which is another beautiful tribute to Black motherhood, hits a little closer to home for Ivory. “Kellee and Adi are like family to me,” Ivory mentions. “This was a photo series that she asked me to document to celebrate her new life as a mother.” Ivory remembers her favorite moment during the shoot when Adi decided to take a bathroom break on the background paper. She describes the “hilarious” moment it created while taking a nod at the neverending experiences of motherhood.

Nubian Skin x BGIO

The Nubian Skin x BGIO collab was the first time Ivory documented a campaign series for Black Girl In Om (BGIO) which is a wellness brand where she took on the role of art director. The inspiration behind the shoot was to honor Black skin tones, various body forms, and the sensuality of Black women.

“As an intuitive artist, I just go with what feels good. For me, composition and tones matter so much, especially when photographing Black women,” Ivory mentions. “I love natural earth tones and anything reminiscent of a cocoa hue, so when editing I'm naturally drawn to creating a very film-like, classic, earth-tone experience that feels ethereal and moody.”

Photography by: Jontrice Murray