With his celebration of West African fashion, photographer Adetona Omokanye goes beyond the ‘poverty gaze’
, 2022-09-07 12:00:00,
Though he began his career documenting images for non-governmental organizations, Adetona Omokanye came to realize he didn’t want his photography to focus solely on what he describes as the “poverty gaze.” The 32-year-old photographer, who splits his time working between Toronto and Lagos, Nigeria, knew the rich spectrum of people, creativity and customs that span the West African region deserve as much attention as the humanitarian stories he was tasked with chronicling.
“I think that there’s so much to do as a photographer,” Omokanye says, describing the shift in mindset that would send his career in a livelier direction. “I said to myself, okay, I think I have to take a break from this.”
Inspired by a former classmate, Omokanye turned his lens toward individuals with dwarfism, seeking to display their daily lives with an animation and abundance historically not afforded to people in that community. “It’s a story of people that are unique in their own way,” he says.
As a testament to his attentive approach, Omokanye became the first Nigerian to receive a Creative Bursary Award from Getty Images for the series. “Adetona’s project Beyond 4 Foot 10 Inches really stood out to the judging panel when selecting winners for the 2019 Getty Images +…
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