Photographer Behind The Documentation Of Nigeria’s Style
Stephen Tayo’s work is a type of snappy street style which documents Nigeria’s community and family traditions of co-ordinating outfits for special occasions and celebrations. There’s something unique and raw about Tayo’s way of capturing people and his surroundings.
I first came about Tayo’s work in early 2018 when Vogue published one of his photographs on their official Instagram page. It was a photograph of Nigerian sisters wearing identical outfits. I was immediately drawn-in to see more of his work. I scrolled through multiple photographs of people in the Nigerian community wearing identical wear and it was nothing I had ever seen before. It’s something that’s beautiful about photography and capturing cultures and traditions that others may not know about, it’s a way of informing and educating the viewers of your work and of things that they may have not seen before.
Since then, Tayo has photographed Patta’s x Nike collaboration campaign, covered a story on ‘What It Means to Dress in Lagos’ for The New York Times and shot an editorial for Sleek Magazine. I’m looking forward to seeing what 2019 holds for Stephen and his work. I caught up with Stephen to learn more about his work and his interest in Nigeria.
What first sparked your interest in Photography?
My interest in Photography is a result of wanting to document fascinating stories around me. Also telling stories that are close to my heart.
Can you tell me a bit about your photo series ‘IBEJI’?
The Ibeji series is an expository that revolves mainly about asking questions about what we already know about the twins (Ibeji) and also linking it up with the tribe I’m from and I’m more familiar with.
Is there anyone or anything that has influenced you to be the photographer that you are right now?
My major Influences are people’s story, family, community, and also photographers like Sedou Keita, Hassan Hajjaj, and Samuel Fosso.
What was it like to develop a creative career in Lagos?
For me creating from Lagos means so much to me and every time I think about the process and experiences it’s really a blessing to be working and living out here.
What’s your most memorable creative job up to date?
Memorable creative job is shooting a story with Patta x Nike and having 100 percent creative control, which was kind of dope.
How did your collaboration with Patta come about in 2018 and what were your experiences of exploring places like Amsterdam or London?
My Patta collaboration came when my very good photographer friend Nadine Ijewere, she linked me up with the Visual Director of Patta – Violette. Exploring London and Amsterdam kind of opened my eyes to see how people perceive African Artists.
Besides photography, you’ve also co-directed Skepta’s and WizKid’s music video for ‘Energy’. Why do you think it’s important to explore more than one medium or creative field?
Co-directing with a genius like Meji Alabi was an experience to cherish. It was a great collaboration from many of the Nigerian creatives to spotlight what they know how to do best and it feels great to be part of it.
Are you working on any personal projects at the moment?
Project I’m working on: The Ibeji series – I’m still shooting as I’m not satisfied yet so that’s an on-going one.
What is one thing that you would like people to know about yourself, that they may not know now?
I’ve studied Philosophy as a First Degree.
What’s your longterm goal and where would you like to see yourself in a few years time?
In few years time, I’d like to already finish or encounter another journey for Masters in Arts and photography. Also have couple of books published.