"Go for it, it’s your life. If you don't 10 years from now it will stick with you, it will be back of your mind, it will follow you until the day you die."


Tell us about your background?

Tancia Ntela: I’m Congolese. I was born in London, grew up in Geneva, Switzerland and now I’m back in London. I’m currently studying Advertising at London College of Communication, whilst painting an interest in photography.


What drew you to your degree?

TN: I was studying International Business Management back in Switzerland and I just hated it. I hated the technical side of it. The only course I liked on it was marketing and then I thought why not actually just study marketing, and then I was looking up University of the Arts London and I saw that they had an Advertising course so I just said yes let me go to UAL and study it. I was drawn to photography, I guess because I have always wanting to keep memories of things I do, things people do around me and that just led me to love photography.


What was your parents’ reaction to it?

TN: My parents supported it, I know that African parents don’t necessarily support these kind of things, but for them, it was really about as long as I’m doing I like and something I’m talented in, I should just do it.


Do you think there is a stigma around pursuing an art degree in the Afro-Caribbean society?

TN: Yes. I think it’s because art is entertainment and entertaining people is not really seen a serious job in Afro-Caribbean community. They want you to be a doctor, they want to be a lawyer, they want you to do something and have money but they don’t want you to entertain people for a living. It’s not seen as serious as being a doctor or lawyer


Do you worry about the future financially?

TN: I am not afraid of pursuing photography. I mean financially I’m maybe afraid that I won’t get the amount of money I’d want to get per month, but, I don’t think it has anything to do with photography, it has more to do with what I as a person decide for myself, not what I study.


Which of your pieces are you most proud of?

TN: My favourite picture is of a man I shot in Los Angeles. I keep on looking at this picture and thinking ‘Oh my God I’m in love with this picture.  He was bald and had blue eyes. I remember seeing this man walk around, he was just walking through the crowd and I stared at him and thought to myself ‘I’m going to take a picture of this guy’. He just disappeared for two hours and I was so sad thinking I was too slow. As I was leaving the place and I saw him again and so I asked him if I could shoot him and he was just super nice about it. It’s one of my favourite pictures ever because I can just see in his eyes that he is a really, really, deep person. I could sit for hours with him and I’ll just learn so many things about life.

 What would you say to someone who is considering pursuing an art degree but is afraid?

TN: Go for it, it’s your life. Your parents might say no, or yes, but if they say no at the end of the day it’s your life. If you don’t 10 years from now it will stick with you, it will be back of your mind, it will follow you until the day you die. So, you might as well do it now. Don’t be scared. Just do your thing.


Here are some of Tancia’s pieces:

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