Saturday 14 December 2013

After 'Portraits' abroad, Ogunbanwo’s models 'Muse' in Lagos

By Tajudeen Sowole

From his last month’s exhibition of Portraits in South Africa, photographer, Lakin Ogunbanwo returned home to another show titled Muse, a two-parts event, which will open on December 19, and run till February 19, 2014 at The Wheatbaker, Victoria Island, Lagos.

  The part one of Muse which was on for four days at Didi Museum, Victoria Island, Lagos added to the surging presence of photography on the Lagos art scene in the past few years. Coming from a fashion and modelling photography background, Ogunbanwo’s current form as a photo artist is unavoidably portraiture.

Ann Ogunsulire , Brand Manager, Moet Hennessy - Champagnes) (left); Mr. Tunde Fowler, Executive Chairman, Lagos State Internal Revenue Service); and the exhibiting photographer Lakin Ogunbanwo  during at Didi Museum, Lagos

  Largely made of studio shots, some of the 35 works, he explained, are extension of his familiarity with models, exposing the other side of runways that is hiding from the people. He disclosed that it’s about “playing around with the perceptions of glamour associated with modelling; a glimpse into their real lives.”

In a chosen area as common as portrait photography, Ogunbanwo is defining his style by experimenting with the dark side of imagery, yet striving to render ‘beautiful images’.  

When he had his first solo titled Mask at Terra Kulture last year, some of the works looked like shots with traces of evolving conceptuality from a photographer in search of identity.  But at a preview ahead of the opening of the first part of Muse, Ogunbanwo’s images have taken a leap into a stronger conceptual form. 
He described his current state of conceptual imagery as “juxtaposition between highly stylised and a subtle raw” rendition

Trained as lawyer in the U.K., the young photographer who later studied photography at Speos Paris Photographic Institute, France boasted that he is the face of an average Nigerian or African youth hidden from the world. “Being from a law background and now into photography is a bold step and no regret.”

When he returned to Nigeria, Ogunbanwo started from the fashion industry, style.”

Appears to have garnered experience with several exhibitions and work knowledge across Africa, Ogunbanwo recently earned a top spot testing his ability to interpret beauty in his “own provocative on CNN’s profile of ‘Africa’s Most Exciting New Photographers’.

About his Portraits show in South Africa, at Rooke & Van Wyk, Johannesburg, he noted the impact of technology on contemporary culture, arguing that photography in Africa is largely aided by access to the Internet. “It is within this sketch that I forged a striking visual vocabulary through making portraits. I construct singular images, reconfiguring the human element and challenging some preconceived ideas of portraiture, of Lagosians, Nigerians, and Africans.”

However, for Muse, his philosophy and focus are not exactly removed from Portraits, as he states: “It’s playing with the perceptions of glamour associated with models by capturing moments that give us a glimpse into their real lives.
This much Portraits represented, Ogunbanwo explained. “It raises many questions – Who are these people? Why are they being portrayed? What is the relationship between them and the photographer? And are these ‘African’ portraits?”

“Through my distinctive vision, I challenge viewers to immerse themselves in the idea of possibility within the notions of beauty and identity; holding your attention with visuals that draw you into the subjects for how they look, and sometimes for who they may possibly be.”

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