Described by Vogue Arabia as ‘a photographer who captures intimate portraits that reveal the sartorial flair and quiet dignity of his sitters’ in their feature of his photography series ‘Ibeji’. Stephen Tayo’s name has become synonymous with photography that lets us see the magical in the mundane. His success in documentary, editorial, and fashion photography is undoubtedly owed to his ability to see ordinary, every day and oftentimes intimate moments as magical ones worth capturing and this particular project, Ibeji, reminds us once again, that no one can do what he does quite like him.
Unlike in many other pre-colonial Nigerian cultures, twins were not considered evil by the Yorubas rather they were believed to be the physical manifestation of the Orisha. The Ibeji series aims to remind people of a time before western influence and colonialization when twins were worshipped and people were openly in awe of the enigma that is twins, especially identical twins. Stephen, with this project, aims to explore how identity works in such a close kinship that can easily swallow one’s individuality up. It explores how having to share identity with a person right from conception can affect a person’s psyche and what the Yoruba mythology and elevation of twins to these people who are mystified. The project, however, is not just for the subject or the audience, but is also for Stephen himself who admitted to wanting to explore what working with photography subjects with near identical background influences and upbringing would be like as well as to challenge and reassess everything he, as a Yoruba man, knew of and believed about twins.
Credit: Vogue Arabia
Read more on the Vogue Arabia feature here.