In Understanding a Photograph, John Berger draws a connection between photography and recognition. As humans, we want to be recognised; we want to be respected and treated with dignity. Though we may be reluctant to admit it, many of us want to be celebrated and remembered. Photography offers the opportunity to overcome – if not entirely, but partly – the struggle for recognition. The photographers featured in this article understand the importance of recognition. They see value in celebrating other human beings and acknowledging their stories. This, among other reasons, is why their works are to be appreciated and celebrated worldwide.
Fati Abubakar (Nigerian)
Fati has received international acclaim for the fantastic work she has been doing in north-eastern Nigeria. Fati is not just a highly skilled photographer, but also a great storyteller who is dedicated to portraying the unbreakable spirit of people in Borno State – many of whom have suffered from terrorist attacks orchestrated by Boko Haram. Through documenting the everyday lives of people in Borno, she shows that despite the harsh reality of the Boko Haram crisis, the beauty of Borno endures. Fati has acknowledged Borno’s beauty and urges us to do the same.
Check out more of Fati’s photographs of Borno on Instagram: @bitsofborno
Eric Gyamfi (Ghanaian)
Eric lives and works in Ghana. He uses monochrome photography to tell stories often defined by themes relating to culture, tradition, religion, sexuality and gender. At the heart of Eric’s work lies questions of ethics and interrogations of internal conflicts. Heavily invested in the philosophies that underpin his work, Eric occasionally uses himself as his own muse.
From Eric’s work, we can tell that he is attentive to sociological and psychological issues. He is a photographer who teaches us to think not only about the human condition, but also about the significance of human relationships however complex they may be. It seems fair to say that it is only through mutual recognition that most human relationships flourish. To sum up, Eric’s photography urges us to fully recognise the Self as well as the ‘Other’.
Visit Eric’s website to check out more of his brilliant work: http://www.ericgyamfi.com/
Eloghosa Osunde (Nigerian)
As well as being a brilliant writer, Eloghosa is an extraordinary documentary photographer. Her photographs are raw and she always seems to capture moments that some of us would probably miss. In a way, she forces us to recognise the various faces, stories, and lives in our midst.
Visit Eloghosa’s Instagram page to check out her fascinating photographs: @theforgetterseye
Lubabetu Abubakar (Nigerian)
Lubabetu’s work ranges from street photography to fashion photography. Her experimentation with light and colour is unique and her gorgeous portraits of dark-skinned models are a personal favourite. Lubabetu’s work deserves to appear in various international fashion and lifestyle magazines to allow for a wider recognition of the beauty of dark skin, as well as to ensure that her talents are not overlooked.
Visit Lubabetu’s website to check out more of her work: lubabetuabubakar.com
Connect with her on Instagram: @lubee_abubakar
Ussi’n Yala (Gabonese)
Ussi’n is a photographer based in Gabon. When he is not photographing the streets of Libreville, he is developing significant conceptual projects. For example, Ussi’n recently published a new conceptual photo series titled Pink Albino. It consists of several portraits of a man with albinism holding flowers. According to Ussi’n, the purpose of this project is to emphasise “the beauty and sensitivity” of people living with albinism since they are typically bullied and treated poorly by those who perceive them as different. Ussi’n’s willingness to use photography as a means to alleviating social issues is commendable and should be imitated.
Visit the website of Ussi’n to check out his various photography projects: www.ussinyala.com
Connect with him on Instagram: @ussinyala
Logor Olumuyiwa Adeyemi (Nigerian)
As a result of living and working in Lagos, Logor is able to frequently document the daily activities of Lagosians. He has mentioned that he focuses on “images that are often overlooked, ignored and taken for granted.” Logor’s black and white photographs are especially striking as they enable viewers to imagine what a busy city like Lagos would look like if permanently stripped of colour its colour and vibrance. Lagosians are very busy and active people therefore, Logor’s use of a black and white theme in his photography offers his audience the opportunity to fully concentrate on the personalities and moments he captures.
Visit Logor’s website to check out more of his work: www.monochromelagos.com
Connect with him on Instagram: @logorofafrica
Marianne Olaleye (Nigerian)
Marianne is a Nigerian photographer based in London. A majority of Marianne’s work is centred on women and their stories. Despite the differences in the characters and lives of her models, Marianne ultimately aims to portray and celebrate the candid nature of feminine beauty. Marianne recently began a photography project called The Coloured Lens. The purpose of this project is to photograph Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) women in London, and document personal stories they are willing to share. Through this project, Marianne hopes to hold a major exhibition, as well as publish her first photobook. For now, be sure to keep track of the progress of Marianne’s project by following the hashtag #TheColouredLens on Twitter and Instagram.
Visit Marianne’s website to check out more of her work: www.mbfotoart.co.uk