Cian Oba-Smith On Thinking Ahead

Cian Oba-Smith On Thinking Ahead

PROJECT: A QUIET PRAYER, 2020
WORDS & PHOTOGRAPHY: CIAN OBA-SMITH

Photography ages very well. Photographs that would have been considered relatively mundane in the past can become fascinating to future generations. They can become a tool with which we can travel and communicate through time. As I’ve developed as an artist, I’ve become more and more interested in the way in which photography acts as a time capsule.I felt it was incredibly important to document London during the lockdown. It was, and is, such a unique time in our history as a human race and I felt some form of visual history needed to be created to allow future generations to be able to observe our present.

It sounds obvious, but interaction is incredibly important to creating photographic work that resonates. Trying to create a project during the initial lockdown in London was a challenge in itself because of the self-imposed restrictions that came with attempting to create work safely during a pandemic, but also being unable to engage with the people I was attempting to make portraits of added a whole other layer of difficulty.To overcome this, I diversified my approach and narrative. Normally, I create work more linearly—the story I’m focusing on centers around something specific, so the approach kind of dictates itself. With a project like this, which is so broad in its impact, I decided to try to tell the story of the city as well as the people within it. I made landscapes and portraits within my community, as well as creating images in areas of London that are known more globally. The aim was to give context to how different life was in London at the time. The images that I created while observing my own daily life and day-to-day feelings became the thread that sewed the project together.

Photography acts as a time capsule and can be a tool to travel and communicate through time.

Cian Oba-Smith is an Irish Nigerian photographer who was born and raised in London. His work presents communities and subcultures around the world that are often misrepresented in a different light. The relationship between human experience and the environment is at the core of his projects. His photographs can be found in a variety of places online and in print including FT Weekend Magazine, Crack Magazine, The Fader, Port, Dazed & Confused, The New Yorker, and others.

ONE LESSON LEARNED IS A FEATURE IN WHICH CREATIVES SHARE THEIR PROJECT AND THE MAIN LESSON THEY’VE DISCOVERED WHILE CREATING IT. ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE CREATIVE VOYAGE PAPER, ISSUE 1 →
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