Even on the days when its ironic generosity offers less, Lagos to me, is what New York is to Photographers like Gary Winnongrand, Robert Frank, Joel Meyerowitz and Robert Stanton of the “Humans of New York” fame. Like many before me, I have assumed the role of an observer of this great human carnival, the most populated African city famous for her manic ability to go from an embarrassing zero to an impressive hundred in all its aesthetics including her prized jewel – her Human Resources – the Lagosian. By visually asking “If I strip Lagos of the color, what will I find?”, Monochrome Lagos presents an alternative visual vocabulary through which to comprehend this city, one that strips Lagos down to its component parts, as an encounter between the individual and the built environment. Limiting my palette to black and white, sometimes high-contrast images that demonstrate attention to line and architectural forms, the poetic juxtapositions of its resident and how they relate with the city. A rumination on presence and absence through poetry which is often the photo caption style explored while sharing online. I am seeking to explore a dialogue between word and image that could re-envision the working structures of the photo-essay. The project muffles the sensorial tropes of Lagos, bringing to the fore the spaces wherein once can find solace within the city. The project is largely showcased via virtual digital social media platforms which also serve as an archival reference to the city and meet halfway the residents on cyberspace who have embraced the tech revolution encouraging a conscious observation of their surroundings in a city where everything is constantly in a rush. The ultimate objective of the project is to hone a paradigm shift in how the city is perceived and appreciated by a global audience. So far, the beauty I have found even in the barest form offers a lasting artistic satisfaction irrespective of her feistiness, through Lagos – I have found and explored the ideal to which I belong wholeheartedly – Photography – and if the angel of commerce hovering over the city don’t absolve me, hopefully history will at least talk about my affair with the city as my canvass, as my muse – Lagos.
The Monochrome Lagos digital Photo book is an important part of the big picture for the project. From the start, The team and I were urged on by a desire to initiate a digital conversation around the cultural aesthetics, that is, people,places and their relationships in celebration of the dynamism of the city Lagos by democratizing the process to wholeheartedly be for the people and by the people.To use the art of photography as a tangent point to fascinate and inspire. The book will serve as a window to understanding and appreciating our collective consciousness, to find the intersections of coherence, quiet and solitude amidst the cinema and bustle that our beloved city is, because we know that people love and appreciate good photography but photobooks alienate with the “artsying” so let’s cut out the white noise, replace it with your words and talk about the things we truly care about.Also, to leverage heavily on the digital revolution which can easily make this conversation accessible to a wider readership without compromising integrity, i.e. avoiding propaganda, sentiments (that it’s only for a selected audience) while still curating the passionate and substance without hype. As with most first issues, this is not definitive, we will continue to refine looks, our tone of voice/theme will be louder and our footprints wider, A thousand words per frame – let’s hear yours – BS or not. Cheers to an amalgamation of literature and photography, but don’t keep it to yourself, it is very important that you share the beauty that we have created Together.