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Pleasure as Activism
Ajamu X's Photography

Celebrating Black queer bodies and desire

Black British queer photographer and archive curator, Ajamu X, has been at the forefront of genderqueer photography since the early 1990s. To mark the launch of his photography book AJAMU : ARCHIVE, we’re sharing a selection of images from the publication, which unapologetically celebrates queer Black bodies, desire, difference and pleasure activism.

Published in a print run of only 500 copies following the artist’s successful Kickstarter campaign, the artist’s book includes photographic works that have never been exhibited or published before alongside specially commissioned texts from Johnny Golding and Dr Sheena Calvert, contextualising Ajamu’s practice at this pivotal point in his career. 

On our blog, you can also read our newly commissioned text from Jason Okundaye, who provides a personal response to the artist’s book and considers the significance of queer erotica in the archives of Black cultural memory.

Black Circus Master, 1997

Self-Portrait in Wedding Dress, 1992

Ear, 1999

Feet of Duane Cyrus, Dancer, 1995

Aura, 1992

Long Time Companion, 1992

Self-Portrait on Chez Lounge, 1998

Lovers, 2015

Malcolm Brower, 1993

Bodybuilder in Bra, 1990

Self-Portrait [with Pearl Necklace], 1993

Heels, 1993

Power Drill Heels, 2021

To celebrate the recent publication of the book AJAMU : ARCHIVE, Autograph has released a special limited edition print of this photograph. Available exclusively in our online shop.

Ajamu signing prints of Power Drill Heels at Autograph, 2021

Ajamu signing his limited edition print Power Drill Heels, 22 November 2021. The artist has generously donated this print to our Autograph Editions series to help raise funds to support our charitable arts and learning programmes. 






Limited Edition Print

Edition of 30, starting at £300 + VAT


about the artist

Ajamu X

Ajamu is a fine art/commercial photographer and archivist, with over 25 years of experience of exhibiting in museums, galleries and alternative spaces worldwide.

His work includes portraits and self-portraits, which unapologetically celebrate black queer bodies, the erotic senses, desire and pleasure as activism. Find out more on Ajamu's website.


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Banner image: Ajamu X, Aura [detail],1992, © and courtesy Ajamu X

Image gallery: All images © and courtesy Ajamu X
1) Ajamu X, Black Circus Master, 1997 2) Ajamu X, Self-Portrait in Wedding Dress, 1992 3) Ajamu X, Ear, 1999 4) Ajamu X, Feet of Duane Cyrus, Dancer, 1995 5) Ajamu X, Aura, 1992 6) Ajamu X, Long Time Companion, 1992 7) Ajamu X, Self-Portrait on Chez Lounge, 1990 8) Ajamu X, Lovers, 2015 9) Ajamu X, Malcolm Brower, 1993 10) Ajamu X, Bodybuilder in Bra, 1990 11) Ajamu X, Self-Portrait [with Pearl Necklace], 1993 12) Ajamu X, Heels, 1993 13) Ajamu X, Seyon Amosu, Muse [detail], 2020 14) Ajamu at Autograph, 2021 courtesy Renée Mussai

Other page images: 1) Ajamu signing prints of Power Drill Heels at Autograph, 2021 courtesy Renée Mussai 2) Florian Sachisthal, Ext. Hackney Garden - Day 3) Ajamu X, Malcolm Brower [detail], 1993. © and courtesy Ajamu X 4) Ajamu X, Black Circus Master, 1997. © and courtesy Ajamu X