The Regulars

The Inbetweens

Updated daily, VISUAL Magazine showcases a carefully curated selection of the most exciting and inspirational art, photography and film.

Norma Osula’s Photography Is Speaking Against Societal Norms

Share on facebook
Share on google
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin

Capturing people in bright outfits and awkward poses or weird gestures is my way to reflect on what I see around me. I get a lot of inspiration from my locale — Lagos is a chaotic, colourful, and energetic place to be in, and that definitely informs my pictures.

Norma Osula
Photograph by Noma Osula

Born and based in Lagos, the 26 years old Norman has shown interest in portraiture since he first taught himself how to use the camera on his final year of university. For him, photography is just the perfect way to be expressive of his ideas, and portraiture a compelling genre to display them.

Colour is the focal point of Noma Osula’s portraits, which are as vivid as they are sombre. A cheerful pop and primary colours often dominate, either as background or in the clothes and items worn by his subjects.

Photograph by Noma Osula

But just in the scenes of his projects, the vibrancy and contexts of it individually feel just off. In most pictures, the sitters unsmiling, or else their faces are turned away from the camera or hidden behind objects. When they are facing us, their gaze is obscured by sunglasses, hats, veils, or angled to avert our eyes.

It’s a game of contradictions, that’s one of the main points in my work.

Norman Osula

His style caught the attention of the British Journal of Photography, which went on to feature him in its “Ones to Watch” 2018 list. Norman also caught the attention of fashion designer Jonathan Anderson, who spotlighted his photos in an exhibition championing emerging talent last October.

From "The Portraiture" (2016) series by Noma Osula

In his 2016 series “The Portraiture,” one image depicts a chief dressed in traditional attire, blowing bubble gum and wearing a pair of slim sunglasses. The overall effect is humorous and playful, something not to be expected by men in such positions. In another photo, a woman in a strapless yellow dress stands against a burgundy backdrop. Touching her face which we can’t see over the blue plastic bag masking it.

Photograph by Noma Osula

Osula’s pictures don’t just want to challenge local customs. They also aim to critique the West’s clout, both past and present, in Africa.


You'll also love

Sugar Rush
Here’s Our Take on Sugar Rush

Sugar Rush was released in cinemas in December 2019. It’s a story of three girls who stumble upon $800,000 but are thrown into danger when

Nollywood Tropes We Are Done With: The Wicked Mother

If Nollywood hasn’t told you that your mother-in-law will be wicked to you, then you haven’t seen enough Nollywood films. Today, we will be dissecting one of the overused Nollywood tropes out there, the wicked mother/step-mother.

Nollywood Tropes We Are Done With: The Ritualist

If there is one thing we are certain about a Nollywood film set in the village, there will be a ritualist. His job is to either help a man get rich or help a woman get the man of her dreams. Below are some other common tropes found in Nollywood ritualists.