O. Sam Akingbade
On your blog you write that you're a collector of words. As you collect images there, too, would you say it's possible to narrow down the description of a picture on one word or sentence?
I think it is possible to describe anything in a single particular way. However, since we have a plethora of words that can be called upon to express our taste or distaste, and the use of those words being subject to both the viewer's vocabulary and, more importantly, the effect the image has on them, the possibilities are endless from person to person. I also believe that art is a language in itself, with the intention of communicating ideas and ideals.
For some time you had posted works by Edward Hopper. What is it that interests you in them?
What I find particularly appealing about Edward Hopper's work is the depiction a very small number of people in them. And in paintings where there was more than one person, each of those people still evoked a sense of estrangement and loneliness; maybe even a quiet longing. As I tend to be inadvertently drawn to that mood, finding Edward Hopper's paintings amazing wasn't much of a surprise. Besides the subject matter, the beautiful hues and immaculate composition in his work render them visually stunning. One of my favourites is New York Movie, 1939.
And do you see any correlations to what you're trying to achieve within your photographic works?
I yearn to find those moments in life, you know, because I'm naturally partial to them. Even without a camera in my hand, I've watched people on trains and buses go by, wondering where they were going, what they were thinking and what made them tick. So it was only natural that I embraced this in my work.
I personally at times felt that street photography was the most capturing when it appeared to show intimacy. Would you agree?
Absolutely. Street photography, for me, is one of the purest forms of photography. It's free from our interference, so to speak, and it's true to life as it impulsively occurs, oblivious to the camera's presence. My intent is to bypass our sense of self-awareness by taking pictures clandestinely. That way I preserve moments when people are going about their lives as they normally would, for that is the "twenty-four carat them".
Your work wanders around the different parts and corners of London. If there is something "special" about this city, what would you say is it?
Hmm ... quite a few things, actually - the endless nooks and crannies of the city that one discovers every now and then, the side by side stance of old and new architecture and the general hustle and bustle of it's busy streets.
You have been using different formats, so which one has been your favourite so far? Why?
Of all the formats I've used, medium format film has to be my favourite. When I first took interest in photography, I shot with a compact Sony digital point & shoot but I wasn't satisfied with what I was getting; the digital process felt a bit impersonal. I wanted a rawer aesthetic to my pictures, to complement their feel, and I also wanted to thin down the barrier between myself and my subjects by using a very simple camera, my dear Holga.
Coming back to your blog on which you've been collecting works from within various art forms. Is there an underlying theme for your selection?
Well, I tend to collect pieces that tend to have a singular subject, majority of those being in the field of portraiture. Whatever I like and I feel is in line with the other work I've collected, I add to the collection. So you might get an undulation of themes, but on the whole I feel it all adds up.
Is there an area within photography that you would consider specializing in, besides street photography?
I'll always take the kind of pictures I've been taking. However, I'd also love to undertake an exploration of the body, with the use of large format film so you can almost feel the images. And I definitely intend to do more portraiture, as soon as I find a model. Finding a model is bound to be the hard part.
Should faultlines be worn with pride?
A photographic walk through city lives, take a look at his work!