STYLE PRO­FILE Nige­rian-born pho­tog­ra­pher Lakin Ogun­banwo

Por­trait pho­tog­ra­pher. VIS­UAL ARTIST. AT­TEN­TIVE ob­server

House and Leisure (South Africa) - - Contents - COM­PILED BY KHOLEKA KU­MALO PHO­TO­GRAPH KOSOL ONWUDINJOR

I was born and raised in La­gos, Nigeria. I used to think that I was go­ing to be a lawyer, but while study­ing law at Bab­cock Univer­sity in Nigeria and at the Univer­sity of Buck­ing­ham in Eng­land, I dis­cov­ered that my true love was pho­tog­ra­phy. This led me to Spéos In­ter­na­tional Pho­tog­ra­phy School in Paris, where I stud­ied pho­tog­ra­phy, and I be­gan work­ing as a fash­ion pho­tog­ra­pher five years ago. I got into my field of work through my sis­ters: I used to take pic­tures of them when we were much younger. My ear­li­est mem­ory of beau­ti­ful art may have been in pri­mary school, when I saw Lemi Ghar­iokwu’s art­work on Fela Kuti’s al­bum cov­ers. I re­mem­ber how busy the scene was and that there was a lot to take in. My favourite art­work at home is an un­ti­tled piece by Nige­rian-born artist Olus­eye. Ev­ery time I look at it, I have such an emo­tional re­ac­tion and I hon­estly can’t ex­plain why. When I want to dress to im­press, I wear Maki Oh by Nige­rian fash­ion de­signer Amaka Osakwe. My go-to com­fort food is dough­nuts. My kitchen­cup­board sta­ples in­clude black pep­per, white pep­per and Cameroo­nian pep­per. I love eat­ing grilled cala­mari suya, and jerk chicken with Ghana­ian rice and beans at Nok by Alara on Vic­to­ria Is­land in La­gos. I also like the spicy prawn pasta at The Orchid Bistro Ex­press, also in La­gos. The one thing I al­ways travel with is my lap­top. A coun­try I’ve trav­elled to that I will never for­get is Spain. The cities I’ve been to there are warmth and friend­li­ness per­son­i­fied. When­ever I travel, I like to bring back naughty sto­ries. My next dream hol­i­day des­ti­na­tion is Thai­land. It’s been on the books for too long. My great­est reg­u­lar in­dul­gence is re­watch­ing old TV shows I love, such as Will & Grace – a favourite – and Break­ing Bad. If money were no ob­ject, I’d treat my­self to ev­ery­thing Bey­oncé has to of­fer… that can be bought. I’m busy read­ing Es­says in Love by Alain de Bot­ton. I’m lis­ten­ing to ‘Root­ing For You’ by London Gram­mar, whose en­tire new al­bum, Truth Is a Beau­ti­ful Thing, is ev­ery­thing. I hate it when I feel helpless. I’m def­i­nitely not a crowd per­son – too many en­er­gies to sort through. In my next life, I’d come back as noth­ing, be­cause I in­tend to live this one life to the max­i­mum. Who wants to come back to this crazy world? All I need to make me happy is meet­ing RuPaul, which should be hap­pen­ing this month. The thing I love most about liv­ing in Nigeria is its en­ergy, es­pe­cially in La­gos. There is such a pal­pa­ble, go-get­ter, hus­tle men­tal­ity here. It’s truly in­spir­ing. I al­ways tell any­one who comes to La­gos to make sure they at­tend a tra­di­tional wed­ding. If I could change one thing about Nigeria, it would be to in­ject more gen­der equal­ity into the coun­try’s sys­tems. lakino­gun­banwo.com

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