NORFOLK, Va. — We all know that a picture is worth a thousand words. Those words can carry a message that can leave an impact on others. It's all about intention and, oftentimes, the message is left up to the observer's interpretation.

A great example can be found in the work of Briana Adkihusuma, a journalist by day and a commercial photographer by night, Adkihusuma uses the art of photography to advocate for an important social issues.

Couple photo
Adkihusuma specializes in wedding, engagement, and couple photography but her passion lies in fine art imagery
Briana Adkihusuma

“So I started my photography business Images by Bri in 2018. I specialize in couples and engagements but where my passion really lies and where I feel a lot of creativity is my self-portraiture,” Adkihusuma said. “So a lot of the ideas for my self-portraiture are inspired by Greek mythology and paintings, but it’s really women’s issues in particular that really inspire my current self-portraiture work.”

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For those who don’t know, self-portraiture is basically like an artistic, high-quality selfie. However, Adkihusuma takes it to a whole new level by capturing imaginative concepts that revolve around real-world problems. 

She strives to wholly document the female experience by covering a broad spectrum of women’s issues in her portfolio. The subject matter goes everywhere from female stereotypes, the traditional roles that women are expected to take, to the relationship between men and women. 

Self-Portrait
Briana started doing self-portraiture as a novice photographer and grew at the craft overtime.
Briana Adkihusuma

About a year ago, Adkihusuma began a self-portrait series called HER, which was created to examine feminist lines and to shed light on stereotypical gender binary roles. One self-portrait from her repertoire that was inspired by the series was a subtle reflection on domestic abuse.

Ocean picture
This photograph subtly resembles domestic violence against women that can take place in relationships
Briana Adkihusuma

“So this photo was looking at abusive relationships in a less direct way. So instead of seeing a woman with a black eye or seeing a man moving in to punch someone, there is this woman who is forcibly bound to this chair and being dragged into the ocean by this man. I thought that it was very symbolic because you have the waves coming in and it’s almost dusk and people are afraid of the ocean at dusk,” Adkihusuma explained.

Although Briana tries to draw from the experiences of other women, her own past encounter with physical assault also plays a huge role in her work. 

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“When I was physically assaulted I was only sixteen years old. It was by somebody that I knew, someone that I trusted. He forced himself on me. It, fortunately, didn’t go as far as rape,” she recalled. “So I’m hoping through this work that I am able to shed light on that and help women connect in those ways and in those stereotypes, and in just those feelings of being judged, or just used.” 

Sexual Assault picture
Briana created the photo series HER, to shed light on the stereotypes and complications women deal with in our society
Briana Adkihusuma

Adkihusuma ended the HER series a couple of years ago but hopes to one day pick it back up or begin a new photo series of the same subject matter. She has the desire to collaborate with other artists or women who want to share their experience with physical abuse or sexual assault. Adkihusuma would also like to open an exhibition in hopes to bring more awareness to these topics.

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“This art can give way for women to connect to each other and be able to shed more light on these issues that they are going through and advocate for those women who feel like they don’t have a voice,” Adkihusuma said. 

Briana photographing a model
The concepts for Briana's fine art shoots are drawn from Greek mythology, paintings, and art museums
Jamale Stevenson

If you are impressed with Briana’s work and would like to book a session with her you can do so through her website or you can connect with her on both Facebook and Instagram. Check out more of her content out below: