This article has been long overdue as we worked on this project for what feels like ages ago.
One Sunday evening, Noble called and mentioned he was having a shoot somewhere in Magodo and I should be a part of it. For some reason I didn’t ask for details because it’s work and I know what’s expected of me. Little did I know we were headed to Ibukun Williams’ studio.
I’ve known Ibukun Williams for about 7years and have always thought him a creative (read as “man of many talents”). From my very distant knowledge of him, he was an engineer, amazing dancer and badass photographer. During this project I decided to get to know him a bit more and find out the “Ibukun Williams Story”.
Ibukun describes himself as first an African, an entrepreneur, reader and artist who expresses his art currently through photography. When asked about his “move” from engineering to dance and now image creation, Ibukun mentioned he’s always had a curiosity for how the world works. He has also always had an interest in music and found out dance was his way to connect to the sound he heard. Photography on the other hand he sees as, “a weapon, a means to an opinion, an idea I, as a Visual Artist am trying to express”. And the ability for him to create a piece of work that connects to both the artist and viewer is something he can’t help but love. Even more interestingly, he sees the art as a tool in guiding and designing the opinion of a society.
So many times, I’ve heard people fuss about their photography gear but to Ibukun Williams, “photography is an ideology, the camera is just the tool”. Further probe into this issue however showed that his choice of gear (a professional camera or his mobile phone) is based on the subject he chooses to shoot per time. When focusing on the innocence and realism of the environment, he rather uses his iPhone as it takes away the attention and potential security issues he might face. He shoots a lot of lifestyle images with his phone and even has an Instagram page dedicated to this. However, when he wants to shoot subjects that require more flexibility from a technical ability point of view, his professional camera is his go-to.
Generally through his art, Ibukun Williams wants to inspire people on different levels, from aspiring and working visual artiste, to people who may be unaware of a lot of beauty in the world that passes them by. According to him, “I want to fill minds with beauty and pride for our immediate world. I would really want to impact via my images”.
This made me curious as to what story he was trying to tell with the shoot with Noble Igwe and how each look helped in achieving that. From the shoot, Ibukun Williams and Noble Igwe created 2 looks; HUE and BETWEEN.
“I started the message behind this image with a statement from Frederick Douglass, someone I think we should read about. Hue technically would mean the form or shade of colour, or the scent, form or shape of a person’s character. With HUE I was trying to explain generally that our opinions, choices and beliefs may just be HUE’s of our environment and we mostly likely will take that form and shape of what our society has given us and what we are generally exposed to both within our immediate environ and from external influence that determines a lot of our choices unknowingly to us. This was basically a shade(hue) of my many thoughts and opinions.”
“I was bringing awareness to the disparity of opinion as likened to the disparity in black and white. I was expressing an idea that; inasmuch as we believe in whatever we believe in, other societies may just be living on a different set of rules. These opinions not just extremely apart but are different as in the different grey levels in a black and white image. The look was perfect I just needed to capture it properly”.
See full collections from the shoot;