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‘As their older sister, I feel a responsibility to protect them and be a role model’: Aleesha Coker’s best phone picture | Photography

‘As their older sister, I feel a responsibility to protect them and be a role model’: Aleesha Coker’s best phone picture | Photography
‘As their older sister, I feel a responsibility to protect them and be a role model’: Aleesha Coker’s best phone picture | Photography

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Aleesha Coker, then 17, and her two younger sisters, Freda and Bintu, had stopped off at the corner shop for a snack on their way home from school. Coker had been working on a series for her photography A-level, shooting through glass from exterior to interior. As the girls passed by a payphone in Lorrimore Square, south London, Coker was inspired to set up a moment. She used an iPhone 12 set to portrait mode – “I don’t particularly enjoy using film cameras,” she says – and was pleased with how “the muted colours gave it an intimate feeling”.

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“As their older sister, I feel a responsibility to protect them and be a role model. Freda is 13. She’s very quiet most of the time, but can be loud when she feels comfortable. Bintu is 10; she has a very bubbly character and can be outspoken. “I don’t think their expressions in the photograph necessarily reflect the excitable parts of their personalities,” she says, “but something deeper. When my little sisters gaze at the camera in this way, I’m reminded of how much they trust me.”

A year on, Coker is studying for a degree in photography at the University of Westminster and hopes to go into the profession after graduation. She admires the work of Colby Deal and Sheron Rupp in particular, citing the authenticity and raw emotion their photography expresses.

“When I look at this photo, I feel warm, but I leave it to the viewer to find their own perspective and story,” she adds.

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