Wami Aluko talks about visual storytelling, culture and Neogenesis, her debut fashion film

Wami Aluko’s work has a singular uniqueness to it. It is black and it is beautiful and constantly draws you in, characterized by a feel which conforms to its traditional norms but yet stands out in its methods. We caught up with the young photographer to find out about how she gets her shots.

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Tell me a little about your background

Well I grew up in Lagos -the cultural hub of Nigeria -with my little sister, mum and dad.  I am Nigerian by birth (proudly Yoruba) but had the opportunity to travel a lot as a child with my family, and eventually moved to England for a-levels. So I’ve had the benefit of an upbringing that has exposed me to diverse people and beliefs.

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What are you studying?

 Economics and Philosophy at the University of Edinburgh

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Is your work impromptu or planned?

 Sometimes the smallest details make the biggest differences in visual story telling, so a lot of my work is pre-planned. From the models, to the style and colour scheme of the clothes, to the set and props used; all of these are significant for setting the tone of my shoots and they way I want my images to be perceived. That being said, I love spontaneity during shoots and encourage models to bring their personality and new elements to the table.

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I also find joy and beauty in capturing moments that I wouldn’t have otherwise in a planned shoot; focusing on details in our day-to-day lives that people may regularly overlook. A lot of beautiful and striking images have surfaced from this. So I guess it goes both ways for me.

What camera do you shoot with?

 A Sony A57 and a Leica

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Where do you do most of your work?

 Between Lagos and London

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Tell me more about your project NeoGenesis

 Neo-genesis, being my first fashion film, was basically created as an introduction for more films to come. I wanted to set the tone, focusing on the significance of clothing in visual storytelling as every item of clothing has a story behind it that can be used to generate even more stories (Neogenesis is the regeneration of biological tissue).

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Do you have anything in particular you focus on? People, Nature, Food?

 People for sure! I’ve always been fascinated by how the human mind works, our emotions, how we make decisions, our interests and traditions etc.  This is reflected in my photography and art in general (I also love drawing/painting faces).

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Can you give me a quotable? We’d love a quotable 🙂

‘Photography is capturing and highlighting the beauty in cultures and people, showing unity in diversity’ – wa-ko

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How is photography going so far?

 It’s going great! I’ve met so many amazing people along my creative journey and discovered locations I wouldn’t have otherwise. Also feel like I’m finally growing into a style of photography that works for me.

 

Do you have any influences?

I really admire Medina Dugger’s series ‘Chroma: An ode to J.D Okhai Ojeikere’ for its powerful and captivating colour schemes. Also love Yagazie Emezi’s work in general; from her attention to detail to the way she uses her images to share beautiful stories. Lastly, Solange Knowles’s recent music videos (directed by her and Alan Ferguson) greatly inspire me. That being said, I try not to be strategically influenced by other photographers to allow myself to come into my own path.

 

What’s the future like?

Filled with a lot more exciting projects, personal and collaborative. Also have a short documentary film, ‘For Those Who Listen’ coming out this December!

 

Where can we reach you online?

Mostly active on:

Instagram: wamialuko

Twitter: Wami_Aluko

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