I had the distinct pleasure of meeting Keyamo Onoge at my old house during a party hosted by Glory Bones and its Conspirators. I met him through one of his favorite models and fellow Hexbeat contributor, Ruckus Bame. Once we had finished our hazing ritual, I noticed this nice man with an accent and smile a mile long. He has a very nice soul, and is a great photographer. I got to talk with him a little about his methods and how he feels about the present world of photography.
You can see more of his work, or just send him a little note on his website.
He also contributed some of his pieces to a book by Amber Squires called Looking for Me.
He was also featured on the Juxtapoz website.
SP: Tell me a little about yourself and where you are from?
KO: I was born and raised in Nigeria. I came to the United States for college to study music. Somewhere along the way I stumbled unto photography and I have not stopped stumbling since then, ha ha.
SP: What kind of things (imagerial or not) influenced you to become a photographer?
KO: So many things inspired/influenced me to become a photographer, but I think most of all it comes from an innate need to communicate, to express an emotion that can not be described in words. It’s that universal language that the whole world understands, regardless of culture or race. I am influenced by people, everybody has a secret battle that they fight each and every day, and in peeking into those battles, I recognize our shared humanity.
SP: Do you use digital, or film? Why did you choose that over the other?
KO: I use digital. I know there are lots of purists out there who swear by film, but digital is cheaper and you get instantaneous feedback, although I am heavily influenced by the film aesthetic.
SP: What do you look to portray with your images? What kind of scenes do you like to show?
KO: I think I am all about mood and raw emotion. I like to feel my way through a photo as opposed to intellectualizing it. I normally pick photos that I emotionally react to. I love stories, I need to feel something when I look at a photo.
SP: What’s your method of putting shoots together?
KO: I love collaborations with models. Many times I might have an idea/concept that I want to explore. Collaborating with the models usually opens up those concepts to greater narratives. Many times it’s the other way round. All my works are collaborations between the models and myself.
SP: How would you describe your style to someone who has absolutely no background in photographic or artistic terminology?
KO: Haha! That’s a tough question. I guess I will say I love to create photos that have a nostalgic quality, a certain sense of timelessness, like the feeling you get when you’re listening to your favourite record on vinyl, there is a heaviness and warmth to the sound. I try to recreate those kind of feelings in the photos. Every now and then, I get lucky.
SP: Has technology lessened or improved photography? Meaning: Has instagram, camera phones, and other applications and objects brought down the sort of artistic merit of the image, or is it a way for people to express themselves by easier means?
KO: I think in many ways technology has made photography more accessible to people, and thanks to instagram and smart phones it’s become a medium for sharing and documenting our individual experiences. On the flip side, everyone is now a photographer so you have to work twice as hard to remain relevant.
SP: How do you know when you have taken a good picture? What needs to be present in order to print, post, or to be shown to the public?
KO: I typically keep shooting till I run out of ideas, and all the photos have to go through Photoshop before I put them online/print. I am not a purist, ha ha!
SP: What does the future look like for you?
KO: The future looks really amazing. I am currently working on a book project with one of my favorite models/friend Rachel A.W. It’s been in the works for the last five years and it comes out later this year. I am super excited.