Adeola Ajibola, photographer.

Meet Adeola Ajibola the dynamic photographer behind the Candy Hues series and many more amazing works. We spoke to her about being creative and Nigerian, privilege and people sharing your vision. #RONIEBONDBHM

Tell us about yourself, who are you and where are you from?

I’m Adeola, a 20 year old visual artist creating photography and film & I’m currently studying at London College of Fashion, and I am a British born Nigerian, raised in South London.

photograph by Adeola Aji from her series ‘Candy Hues’.

How did you start photography? What inspired you?

I started photography about 6 years ago at school actually, I went to Norwood School – they specialise in visual arts so I was lucky enough to play with big boy cameras & Canons from a young age.

What’s it been like as a Nigerian woman pursuing a path in the creative industries?

As a Nigerian, it always gets long in your household when you voice that you want to pursue a creative career – when my family realised how serious I was about it, it was literally nothing but support. But I won’t lie and say it’s been easy road at all, like I always knew this wasn’t going to be an easy journey to get into an industry that’s run predominantly by other races, although I appreciate the diversity that’s trying to be brought to the creative scene in London, it’s still not enough.

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In a way I have to look at this in a positive light though, like look at how it’s forced black creatives to make our own platforms, our own magazines & our own opportunities – there’s a sense of togetherness within the black creative community, like for me personally having conversations with other creatives, we can literallyyy relate on a spiritual level because we know what it’s like to not necessarily come from a place of privilege.

What inspired the candy hues series?

The series is a celebration of the beauty of brown skinned women and all WOC. I just wanted to have fun and shoot females effortlessly slaying, styled in bright colours and contrasted with boldly coloured locations – that’s the reason why I was so hype about shooting at Frank’s Cafe with all the pink walkways and stairways, it’s mad dreamy.. and my model for that shoot is such a babe, her names Mulan and she was defo perfect for creating images that are soulful and carefree.

In general I get a lot of inspiration from 90’s music videos & cinematography, like I literally love Hype Williams.. those visuals are unreal, literally goals – but you know I’m a 90s baby so I there will always be an element of 90s/00s style in my work.

Your photos are quite ethereal and dream like, how do you create photos in this style? What’s your process like?

Yea I agree that my work can give off those vibes, I just go with whatever feels natural to me and my work tends to flow in that direction. I love the work of Petra Collins, Charlotte Rutherford aka Charlie Chops & Signe Pierce, their work has a real magical/ dreamy feel to it.

 

What’s the best creative advice you’d give to young people trying to do what you do?

I’d tell them to literally just go for it, let it flow and don’t overthink the process! Create as much as you can, put your work out there, try to network with people and don’t be afraid collaborate with other creatives – not everyone will like or understand your work but some people will really understand your vision and that feeling will be magical.. Lastly I’d say always stay true to yourself as a creative & don’t forget to have fun and enjoy the process.

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Are there any creatives both established and underground that you really want to work with? 

Yasss I really couldn’t list them all but a few artists that it would be a dream to work with are @charlie__chops @vintagedollrisa @theslumflower @justinrose__ @ashish @martinaspetlova @walesbonner @fortielabel @caitlinprice

The list is so endless! If I’m thinking super huge & crazy, I’d love to create visuals for Solange, FKA Twigs & Rihanna‘s FentyPuma clothing.

Where do you want to be in 5 years?

I think this is actually the toughest question of the bunch, the creative scene is so unpredictable – but I hope to be an established creative & I’d love to see my work featured and published in cool zines like mushpit, wonderland, dazed, polyester, the lot of them.

One thing I won’t do is limit myself to just photography & film, because I plan to branch out – I don’t think there’s a specific way to be a creative, because I can sit here and overplan and end up doing something completely different like art direction for a brand in a few years – I mean, who knows, I’m just here to enjoy the whole process.

What 3 songs are listening to right now?

Yea my music taste is a bit mad like, I can switch from Erykah Badu, to Skepta, to King Krule, to Madonna, then Rihanna in like 5 seconds

But 3 songs on repeat right now are;
G-Eazy, Asap Rocky & Cardi – No Limit
Kali Uchis – Tyrant
Sam Wise – Lizzie

What 3 things do you always need to have with you on the set of a shoot?

Nothing major, I’m usually good with a Ribena, extra gloss (I live for a glossy lid look on my models) & my phone for the mid-shoot boomerang that I always gotta get.

Be sure to follow Adeola on Instagram @adeolaaji.

Adeola’s fave songs have been added to our playlist the 782 – be sure to check it out. Also make you check out the #roniebondBHM content repost series on Instagram, we’re celebrating Black British Female photographers like Adeola.
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