organ Otagburuagu is originally from Abia State, Nigeria but is now based in Lagos. He has had a Keystone compact camera for as long as he can remember and that inspired and motivated him to produce images without a thought to a career until 2017 when he learned about digital cameras. “All my life I have been into art.”
His inspiration first came from fashion. “I was into fashion and also loved styling a lot. It came naturally to me. You can say my fashion background inspired my choice”.
Black women throughout the history of fashion are the basis of his photographic style. From the early work of Richard Avedon and his images of Donyala Luna, the first black supermodel, to Irving Penn, Albert Watson, and Otagburuagu’s own mentor the Nigerian photographer Hakeem Salaam, Otagburuagu sees everything as art and something that could end up in galleries and homes.
I mentioned Avedon and one of my own favorites, the great French photographer Thierry Le Goues, as they reminded me of Morgan’s work. He responded “Thank you so much, Michael, for that honor, as those two are legends I admire.”
Otagburuagu loves models with distinctive features and Nigeria is blessed with many models who typify the exotic African black skin. Locations here are also part of the artistic journey. “I love to showcase rich Nigerian landscapes and cityscapes.”
We talked a bit about his commercial work and the brands he most likes to work with. “Vicnate is a brand I am most proud of as the Creative Director is a close friend. We all started collaborating when the brand was still an infant.” Having ticked off quite a lot from his bucket list on the home front recently, he still dreams of photographing the South Sudanese-Australian model Adut Akech in a Vicnate custom dress. And here at TrooRa we’d be honored to have that collaboration grace our cover.