In Understanding a Photograph, John Berger draws a link between photography and recognition. Perhaps it is fair to say that we all suffer from the struggle for recognition. We want to be recognised as human beings; we want to be treated with dignity, we want to be respected, we want our stories to be acknowledged, and many of us – although we may be hesitant to admit it – want to be celebrated and remembered. Photography offers us the opportunity to overcome – if not entirely, but partly – the struggle for recognition.
The photographers featured in this article seem to understand the necessity and importance of recognition. They see the value in celebrating other human beings and acknowledging their stories. This, among other reasons, is why their works are to be appreciated and celebrated across the globe.
Fati Abubakar (Nigerian)
Fati has received international acclaim for the fantastic work she has been doing in north-eastern Nigeria. Fati is not simply a phenomenal photographer, but also a great storyteller who is dedicated to portraying the unbreakable spirit of people in Borno State who have suffered from the trauma caused by Boko Haram. Through documenting the everyday lives of people in Borno, she manages to show that despite the Boko Haram crisis, the beauty of Borno remains. Fati has certainly acknowledged Borno’s beauty and, in a way, she urges us to do the same.
Check out more of Fati’s photographs of Borno on Instagram: @bitsofborno
Eric Gyamfi (Ghanaian)
Eric is an exceptional photographer who lives and works in Ghana. He uses monochrome photography to tell various stories which are often defined by themes relating to culture, tradition, religion, sexuality and gender. At the heart of Eric’s work lies ethics and philosophies of different sorts. He is so connected to his work that he sometimes uses himself as his own muse and subject for several projects.
From Eric’s work, we can tell that he seems very attentive to social 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, especially those centred on (mutual) understanding. It can be argued that it is only through mutual recognition that most human relationships can flourish. To sum up, Eric’s photography seems to urge us to 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)
Eloghosa lives and works in Lagos. As well as being a brilliant writer, Eloghosa is an extraordinary documentary photographer. Her photographs have a certain rawness to them, and she always seems to capture moments which some of us could easily 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 photographs have different styles; her work ranges from street photography to fashion photography.
The way in which Lubabetu experiments with light and colour is unique and breathtaking. Her gorgeous portraits of dark-skinned models are a personal favourite. Perhaps Lubabetu’s work should appear in as many fashion and lifestyle magazines as possible to not only allow for a wider recognition of the beauty of dark skin, but also to ensure that Lubabetu’s 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 highly significant conceptual projects. For instance, Ussi’n recently published a new conceptual photo series titled Pink Albino. It consists of several portraits of an albino man holding flowers. According to Ussi’n, the purpose of this project is to emphasise “the beauty and sensitivity” of albino people who are sometimes bullied and treated poorly by those who consider them to be abnormal.
It seems fair to say that Ussi’n did this project to get more people around the world to recognise the beauty of people with albinism, and to always treat them with compassion and dignity. To be dedicated to using photography as a way of alleviating social issues is certainly commendable, and one can only hope that Ussi’n keeps at it.
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)
Through living and working in a city like Lagos, Logor is able to document the daily activities of Lagosians. He has mentioned that he focuses on “images that are often overlooked, ignored and taken for granted.” He captures certain events and moments to ensure that they receive some acknowledgement from the viewer.
Logor’s black and white photographs are simply extraordinary. His motivation to photograph strictly in black and white seems to stem from his interest in what Lagos would become if it were to be stripped of colour. While some may dislike Logor’s black and white portrayal of a vibrant city like Lagos, it is important to acknowledge that black and white photography can allow for greater focus on the subjects and their activities. Lagosians are very busy and active people therefore, it can be said that Logor’s use of a black and white theme offers his audience the opportunity to truly focus on the people and moments he captures. Ultimately, we are forced to be attentive to and reflective of the visual stories Logor offers us.
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 based in London, and ask them to tell a story about their lives and experiences. 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