These 3 Nigerian photographers are reimagining Africa through their lens
Words by Elaine Okoye
According to Wikipedia, technically speaking ‘photography is the art, application and practice of creating durable images by recording light or other electromagnetic radiation, either electronically by means of an image sensor, or chemically by means of a light-sensitive material such as photographic film.’
However, in the context of real life, photography is so much more profound. Photography gives the opportunity to tell visual stories and shed light on the farthest flung reaches of the earth. For a long time, the reality of life in the deepest parts of Africa was relatively unknown but thanks to the art of photography, we have uncovered tribes, cultures, traditions and people that makes up this beautiful continent of ours.
In a modern context, photography may not be uncovering hidden parts of Africa but it is still the best method of storytelling we have today. Many young creatives are using the medium to chronicle daily life around the continent. Be it through a series on scars which hark back to sorrowful tales of civil war or chronicling the rising creative scene through fashion photography; we are still peeling back layers to reveal the diamond that is Africa and all the people that inhabit it.
Check out the 3 photographer that are reimagining Africa through their lens!
1 Yagazie Emezi
Image by Yagamezie Emezi/Explore Yagazie's Photography
Yagazie Emezi, a documentary photographer, has travelled all over African creating thought-provoking photo series which tell the story of Africans in every facet of life. The most poignant of all however, refers to Emezi’s work on scars which was a very personal project to the talented photographer. Having sustained a life-changing injury when she was young, Emezie grew up understanding the stigma those bearing scars faced.
Speaking to Paper magazine about the photo series which was called ‘The Process of ReLearning Bodies’, Yagazie says, "Like most projects, it started off personal. I grew up with a big scar on my leg that I didn't pay much mind to until I moved to The States and started getting stares.
It was just really exploring how communities impact the way we see ourselves. It started off with traveling around Nigeria for a bit and photographing women who have scars. Photographing scars is not a new concept but I realized that a lot of the images that I did see of women in particular, with scars, were gotten through some form of violence or abuse."
2 Amarachi Nwosu
Image by Amarachi Nwosu/ Explore Amarachi's Photography
Nigerian-American, self-taught photographer Amarachi Nwosu is chronicling life on both sides of the veil. Amarachi, who currently resides in Tokyo, Japan is also the founder of Melanin Unscripted, ‘a platform aimed to dismantle stereotypes and blur the racial lines by exposing complex identities and cultures around the world.’
Her work has taken her all over the world but Amarachi always manages to find her way home, taking bewitching photographs of the flourishing Nigerian creative scene.
Speaking to Pulse Nigeria about the new wave of creatives in Nigeria, Amarachi says ‘"There is no doubt that Nigeria is in the midst of a creative renaissance. I love that we are starting to take our power back and shape the African narrative. For so long Western media got it wrong, but now with social media and access to information, we are recognising the importance of spreading our own messages and using our skills to push it further. I love what is happening and I can’t wait to see it evolve.I think Africa in general is the new frontier, but I believe Lagos is leading the way. From Musicians, Directors, Photographers to designers, most of the most creative kids I know are Nigerian. There is a hustle in us that is undeniable and this is only the beginning."
3 Deeds Art
Image by Deeds Art/ Explore Deed Art's Photography
The enigmatic photographer known as Deeds Art is the unofficial photographer of Nigeria’s growing alté subculture. Alté, a shortening of the world alternative, refers to the Nigerian youth who are carving their own way and building their own culture through their own art, music and film.
As this scene thrives, Deeds is on hand to capture it all. From gloriously sweaty bodies writhing in packed raves to artists hanging out backstage at sold-out shows; the heartbeat of Lagos is expressed through his vintage-style snaps. In a way, Deeds is chronicling a revolution; a new generation of young Nigerians refusing to be defined by society’s expectations of them and living life on their own terms.