Music & Arts
Picture This: L.A. Photographer Amina TourayNovember 17, 2016
Heartbreak often involves empty pints of ice cream and sleepless nights, but for Amina Touray, it led to a new home and a new career.
Touray, a Los Angeles-based photographer, channeled the pain from an emotional breakup to add color back into her life by starting a career in photography that has led to her work being seen in magazines like Vogue Italia, Afroelle and Bronze.
“[The breakup] was a big setback, which made me depressed,” Touray said. “Ultimately, I knew that it was up to me to keep being miserable or to move on. So, I decided to move on.”
Touray was born and raised in Stockholm to a Swedish mother and West African father. With parents from drastically different cultures, she understood the world was a big place that could be discovered and enjoyed. Her family explored West Africa, Europe and America – all of which continue to inspire Touray to this day.
“Traveling taught me what freedom was,” she said. “Since I knew there was a whole world out there, I could see that there were opportunities in living anywhere and doing anything I want.”
Her parents always encouraged that kind of freedom: freedom to travel, see new sights, try new things and create.
“To my mother, it was essential to let me try a variety of visual and performing arts,” Touray said. “I took dance classes, painted, watched theater plays, attended vocal classes, concerts and much more. And on top of that, with my mother bringing me into the modeling industry very early, I was surrounded by other creatives.”
Amina modeled as a child, getting used to being the face in front of the camera rather than the one behind it. That changed when she turned 11, and her mother gave her a camera.
“I brought it with me everywhere always,” she said.
It seemed her colorful background was setting Touray up for an exciting life as a photographer, world traveler or model, but there comes a time when people feel like they must exchange their “hobbies” for real-world jobs.
In her 20s, Amina worked several jobs in the service and hotel industry, but it never seemed to click for her. Yet, the jobs were easy, and they provided income.
Then came the breakup.
“I knew that I had to get out of my comfort zone, and I decided to rely on the faith that when you really want something, you can make it happen,” she said.
Did she ever.
Touray picked herself up and moved to Los Angeles to pursue photography. She knew no one, had no place to live and no car or phone. To some, that struggle and unfamiliarity is enough to send them home, but from her travels she knew that unfamiliarity can lead to growth and strength: It was part of growing up.
She began by taking a photography class, and the next year she landed her first publication in an art and lifestyle magazine.
Since then, her work has been seen in publications and galleries around the world. Brides magazine featured Touray’s talents earlier this month.
Even though it may have been sparked by a broken heart, Touray knows it’s been a long time coming.
“My story of becoming a photographer started earlier than I realized,” she said. “When I look back at all the photo shoots I was part of through my upbringing, the travels and the people I came across, I can now see that it all brought me to the point where I am now.”
Follow Amina Touray on Facebook and Instagram, and check out her work at www.aminatouray.com.