Stephen Tayo: Lagos is a Runway

Inside the style-focused Lens of one of Nigera's most interesting photographers.

Homecoming Voices: Stephen Tayo (2019)Original Source: Homecoming Festival

Meet one of Nigeria's most exciting photographers, bringing the streets of Lagos to life in unique ways through his style-focused lens.

Stephen Tayo (2019)Original Source: Homecoming Festival

Hailing from Ikere-Ekiti State and raised in Lagos, fashion photographer Stephen Tayo has gained the attention of fashion fans and editors around the world for his unique vision of African style and those who wear it best.

The New York Times, Dazed, and Vogue have all tapped Tayo for his unique eye, one which the self-taught photographer has trained to view the streets of Lagos like a runway. Tayo often focuses his lens on the beauty of the everyday, as seen in his photo series ‘Ibeji’, meaning ‘twins’.

Here Stephen Tayo tells us why Lagos is so exciting.

Stephen Tayo on shoot in Lagos (2019)Original Source: Homecoming Festival

How did your career as a photographer begin?
My creative journey as a documentary and fashion photographer began out of curiosity. I’m carefully trying to create experiences I grew up with in line with discovery that are relevant to me and my culture. I honestly can’t say one moment really stood out. My career is very unbelievable to me and I’m grateful for every moment and opportunity that comes my way.

Ibeji (brothers) (2019) by Stephen TayoOriginal Source: Homecoming Festival

What is your photographic series "Ibeji" about?
In Yoruba culture and spirituality, twins are believed to be magical, and are granted protection by the Orisha Shango. Ibeji is the name of an Orisha (spirit in human form) representing a pair of twins in the religion of the Yoruba people.

Stephen Tayo (2019)Original Source: Homecoming Festival

Why do you think the international spotlight is on Lagos right now?
The eyes and attention on Lagos I would say is from all the amazing showcases of great sounds, and the efforts of communities that are involved in different parts of the creative sector. They are bringing change to things in a positive light, and this definitely, organically creates attention.

Lagos is filled with amazingly talented creatives – for example right now I really love the ​Abba T. Makama film ‘The Lost Okoroshi’, and I love Lakin Ogunbanwo’s simplistic portrait photography. ​Ajibola Kolajo ​has a delivery food company ​Oru ​that caters for midnight food, and Joseph Obanubi ​is an amazing visual artist.

Stephen Tayo (2019)Original Source: Homecoming Festival

Where would you take a friend who is visiting Lagos for the first time?
I would take them on a trip to my former university, University of Lagos, which I think has one of the best architectural buildings. Also the Fela Shrine, the beach, art galleries like Art Twenty One, Angel and Muse, Rele Gallery and African Art Foundation, the concept store Alara, the Lekki Art Market and definitely the Idumota Market. And I’m always looking forward to the festivals Homecoming, Art X, Lagos Photo Festival, and Art Summit.

Stephen Tayo (2019)Original Source: Homecoming Festival

What have you learnt from growing up in Lagos, and similarly what can the world learn from Nigeria?
Growing up in Lagos definitely has a great impact on me and navigating and learning from so many people has shaped me positively. I get inspired by so many different instances, especially the colours around Lagos. I would say living and working from Nigeria has taught me how to be resilient and that should be a lesson for the world.

Street style (2019) by Stephen TayoOriginal Source: Homecoming Festival

Describe Lagos in three words?
Colourful, vibrant and busy.

Ibeji (sisters) (2019) by Stephen TayoOriginal Source: Homecoming Festival

What’s your definitive Lagos soundtrack?
Dangote, by Burna Boy

Credits: Story

Founded in 2017, Homecoming is an annual festival of cultural exchange between Africa and the world. Held in Lagos, Nigeria, Homecoming puts a spotlight on African talent – from its up and comers to its biggest stars in Music, Fashion, Art, and Culture. Beyond the annual festival moment, Homecoming focuses its efforts on uniting a global community of musicians, artists, designers and creatives, through collaborations and partnerships between these trailblazers and international brands, institutions and thought leaders.

Find out more via our website, Instagram and YouTube Channel.

Thank you Stephen for your involvement in the project.

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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