Òrékeléwà (which means “Beauty” in the Yoruba language) was the first phase of the photography project titled ‘Women of Africa’, an on-going, long-term series that explores the beauty, strength and values of the African woman motivated by the need to counter misconceptions and depictions of women from the continent in images of poverty, starvation and misery.
I began photographing the series in February 2014. The initial challenge was convincing the women to collaborate with me on the project. After making several trips to explain my ideas to them, the images were created in stages in different locations where the women resided. It was a collaborative effort with a number of make-up artists and a stylist over a 9-month period.
The visuals utilised modern-day gadgets and accessories in traditional settings and landscapes to create a unique narrative of juxtaposition, with the images playing the role of bridging the gap between the old and the new.
Desmond Macauley (@deydeysoso_) makeup and styling
Seyi Kafi (Styling)
Adeniji Opeyemi (@ankarafreak) styling
Mercy Ifeoma (@eefsycouture) styling
Susan Okolo and Cynthia Inoni (Models)
Ayo Akinwande (@iamayoakinwande)