07/20/2019 07:00 EDT | Updated 07/25/2019 10:45 EDT

Photographer Aims To Capture People Of Colour 'Exactly' As They Are

Zahra Siddiqui's art features lots of melanin.

Check out photographer and visual artist Zahra Siddiqui’s work and you’ll immediately notice one thing: everyone featured is a person of colour. “It’s extremely intentional,” the Toronto-based artist says. “My purpose with my work is just to honour our existence.” 

Siddiqui, who is Pakistani-Canadian, says she’s been challenged over her commitment to portraying this specific group of people. 

“They’ll ask me: ‘Why? Why only people of colour?’” Siddiqui explains. “I go where I’m needed. I think it’s clear that’s where I’m needed.” 

Siddiqui shoots on the street, she doesn’t prep people, and she doesn’t tell them what to wear. Her process involves walking with her subject and choosing locations that inspire her.

“If someone looks at my work, and they feel joy, or they feel pride in who they are, then my job is done,” Siddiqui explains.

Watch the video above for more insight into Siddiqui’s work.