24 year old artistic photographer et barrister, Lubabetu Abubakar first captured our hearts with her collection ‘Ojoro’, a portfolio about the female menstrual circle, welcoming a girl into adulthood as she begins her journey towards embracing her femininity and graduation to womanhood. Lubee as she is fondly called began photography officially in England, while she studied to obtain a degree in law.
When asked what the inspiration behind the Ojoro piece was; she simply responded by saying “Pain; period cramps. Ojoro is my way of communicating with a younger version of myself and preparing her for something so delicate but still so unsaid. The word ‘Ojoro‘, translates to ‘cheat’ in Yoruba, I wanted a title that most Nigerians will easily understand. I say ‘cheat’ because the experience is something only women are burdened with. It is a biological impairment that I feel slighted about and I was in a place where I wanted to vent about it with words and images”.
Last year at the Lagos Fashion Week, she exploited her free access backstage pass and took amazing pictures, amidst the drama and chaos; she was able to successfully capture rare memorable moments of the untold behind the scenes story of the event. For Lubee the best part of being behind the scenes was quietly taking pictures of unconscious activities going on. Full of praise for the models, and the casting crew, she described the event as “the kind of beauty you can only find if you travel to some place in West Africa”.
On the hot topic on her parent’s reaction to her decision to become a photographer as opposed to practicing law, a course which she has invested years of her life in. She was full of praise for her folks; “my parents are my greatest gifts. They have been very supportive of me, of my growth and of my curiosity about life (which is what led me to photography)”.
“I’ll always be a trained Lawyer, that isn’t something that just goes away. On my best days, I think, talk and plan like a lawyer. But my focus and passion for visual communication is overwhelming and I am blessed to have parents that understand/appreciate that,” she added.
Another of our favorite portfolios has to be ghost and lanterns project, an on-going project that is very dear to my heart. It was originally inspired by a Fela Kuti song ‘Suffering & Smiling’. The project is my take on documenting Nigerians, as they exist in Nigeria. Lubee further went on to explain the project, by giving us a breakdown of the project.
‘Ghosts’ represent the lack of growth and the prevailing state of stagnancy that comes with dealing with a poor economy.
‘Lanterns’ represent light & hope. It represents the spirit of survival, the spirit that keeps us smiling, amidst all the ‘suffer suffer’.
These issues have formed characteristics that are peculiar to Nigerians. For a country that has suffered military oppression, a civil war, and an inherently corrupt government we are doing okay (it can be worse and it can be better).
Lubee’s inspiration to become a photographer came from her love for the art of visual communication. The idea that she can create something that’ll in turn make a stranger do or feel something else, is beautiful to her. That feeling is something she treasures a lot.
Some of Lubee’s best works have been featured on Vogue Italia. We asked about this achievement and her response was that “Vogue Italia has always been home to some of my best work. I am grateful to have my work on a platform that maintains authority in my field of work”.
Every creative mind has someone who inspires them, as for Lubee her inspiration changes as she grows, sighting Harley Weir & Kristeen-Lee Moolman as her inspiration. To Lubee, both women, with unique styles, both creating content that is impactful and beautiful.
Most of the people Lubee would love to shoot are already dead. But as for the living legends, Lubee’s dream muse is none other than Lagbaja. She says she would love to take beautiful portraits of him without his mask, as she has always fancied this idea… The beauty of unmasking the masquerade. Revealing the person without the mask will be the best gift of the decade for die hard Lagbaja fans.
“If anyone can make this dream happen for me, send me an email please.” She jokingly chips in.
Lubee’s photography style is unique, we asked her to define what her style is and she simply said; “I always try as best as possible to replicate what my eyes have seen, the colors, the mood, the feeling. Every picture I take should mean something, otherwise what is the point”.