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March 26, 2020



Photography by Ibi Gowon
Interview by Melanie Meggs

African/British photographer Ibi Gowon is an artist at heart, capturing images that truly reflects the current events. Today, you will find Ibi prowling the streets daily in search of interesting subjects and moments. His style is mostly street and predominantly portraiture too, with a mix of his London life and the people he gets to meet and work with in Africa. Ibi is fascinated by how people interact and inhabit the space but his images capture an encounter filled with so much soul with touches of mischief.

“A thing that you see in my pictures is that I was not afraid to fall in love with these people.”
Annie Leibovitz

TPL: Ibi, when did your interest in photography begin?

IG: I always have been, but properly, from 2016.

TPL: Where do you find your inspiration?

IG: From everything around me.

TPL: Who are your favourite artists and photographers that you would like to share with us?

IG: Favourites are Clem Ono, Josh Edgoose, Shane Taylor, @terracottadogma and Graeme Barclay.

TPL: Has your style of shooting changed since you first started?

IG: It certainly is more focused now.

TPL: Where is your favourite place to photograph?

IG: London and the hinterlands of Africa.

TPL: Do you think equipment is important in achieving your vision in your photography? What would you say to someone just starting out?

IG: Equipment is not so important. I know some people who take superb photographs only using a smartphone. My message to someone starting out is simply go out and shoot! Train your eye and visualise what it is you want to show.

TPL: What characteristics do you think you need to become a good photographer? What’s your tips or advice for someone in your genre?

IG: It all depends on your style. The best advice I received was don’t be afraid to approach people. Always wear a smile and be respectful. Also, the best zoom lens you can have, are your feet.

TPL: Have you ever been involved in the artistic world before photography?

IG: I studied art at school, and wanted to go onto art school. My father killed that idea pretty quickly.

TPL: Are there any special projects you are currently working on that you would like to let everyone know about?

IG: I am currently working on documenting the lives of people who have been displaced by the campaign against Boko Haram in Northern Nigeria. I have also been documenting life in Africa as a tool to stop stereotyping and change the narrative as to how people view Africa and Africans.

TPL: "If I wasn't photographing what would I be doing?...

IG: I’d be writing and drawing, or just being a minion to my little munchkin…!"