Duration: Three years.
Location: London, United Kingdom.
Education: Bachelors of engineering in mechanical engineering, Covenant University, Ota, Nigeria.
Career path: For me, photography started off as a hobby. When I was nine years old, I received my first camera as a Christmas present, and I’d go around taking pictures of everything. A few years later, I got an iPod Touch, so I started taking photos of mundane things in my surroundings—especially on school holidays—and posting them on Instagram, which was just starting to get popular. Later I ventured into other hobbies, such as music and modeling, but it wasn’t long before I returned to photography as the prodigal son, and this time, I took a more serious approach to the craft, learning more about it from technical and artistic perspectives. Now, my work centers around highlighting the life of Black people primarily through fashion and portraiture and telling the stories of our people both past and present.
Artistic influences: Doing my university education in Nigeria helped shape who I am as a person. I was born and raised in the United Kingdom, so studying in Nigeria helped me learn more about myself and my family’s history. I feel like this personal development filtered into my work as well, and influences how I see and handle the world on a daily basis. I try to implement the life lessons I’ve learned into my craft and the process by which I work, researching intensively and planning meticulously while allowing metaphysical revelations to lead the way.
Favorite projects: I’m currently working on a personal project titled Finding Common Ground, which highlights the life of Black people in the United Kingdom post–World War II. I’ve finished shooting the work and am in the process of curating and editing it to be exhibited later in the year. To create Finding Common Ground, I received a fine art commission by Photoworks in association with English Heritage, which have been guiding me through the creative process.
I’m very proud of Finding Common Ground because it involved a lot of research into a topic that directly affects me and other Black Britons. Our history has been filtered and suppressed to the extent that it’s not taught in schools. So I’m happy that this project highlights stories of Black Britons through fashion and portraiture with various historical backgrounds coming together to learn more about each other and the country they’ve settled in.
Work environment: My work environment has always been relatively mobile, especially considering the amount of traveling I’ve done in the past three years between Nigeria and England. Because of this, I always try to blur the delineation between the two locations, implementing a bit of England in Nigeria and a bit of Nigeria in England. I believe that reflects me when I’m in either space.
Aspirations: The events of 2020 have taught me that the future isn’t in my hands but more so in the hands of my maker, so all my plans are merely wishes that I hope to have manifested. Having said that, I would like to use the next five years to continue developing my craft and connecting with others in the industry. I believe community is important, so I would like to create more large-scale commercial projects and editorial works for printed publications. In addition, I would like to develop more of my personal work and my own creative intuition . Once I have that solidified, I feel like everything else will fall into place.
Philosophy: Lead with love. You can never go wrong with this philosophy in mind.