Travel, be it literal (getting on that plane or bus), or mental (simply opening your mind to new ideas) usually has a way of altering one’s perspective. As a photographer myself i’m acutely aware of this, but this isn’t about me. This is about a photographer who embodies a stark representation of the concept of looking at everything in your environment through new eyes.
“….Surely we have more in common with each other than we take the time to know. Art has always inspired me to ask the bigger questions and explore my soul deeper. Like the ‘falling’ dreams we have where we wake just before impact….” – Temi Coker
The first thought that crossed my mind after my first trip to Temi Coker’s VSCO grid was, “I need to meet his teacher!”, but after a while it made no sense. What if he taught himself and just sees everything through new eyes?
Temi Coker was 11 years old when he left Lagos for Arlington, Texas. During his university years he discovered the art of photography and quickly developed a passion for it, and like every true artist, he began to search for some below the surface meaning to his work. This journey of self discovery and inspiration would eventually bring him back home. How? His grandmother was about to turn 70 late last year and some portraits were taken to mark the event. He wasn’t quite pleased with what he saw and then came around to a decision to just head back home and take them himself. This decision in turn birthed his Temi X Nigeria project.
Returning to Nigeria, this time armed with a camera, a refined eye and commitment, Temi documented his trip not just with new eyes, but also with a dose of nostalgia and another of urgency. During these moments he captures around the areas where remembers from his childhood, he is distinctly aware that they will never happen in the same manner, ever again.
“I just wanted to show people what it’s like to actually go to a place where you were born, now with a new vision, and capture the essence of that. Not to make the story about me, but about Nigeria and how beautiful it actually is.”
Back in the US, Temi engages in other personal projects such as the surreal “In the Air: If Humans Could Fly” which i find particularly breathtaking. I mean, just look at these images!
Mr. Coker also brings his minimalist style to bear on his wedding/engagement photography, which does yield in some mightily refreshing results: