Nigeria-born freelance photographer and youth worker, Ruth Ossai, refers to herself as an “Igbo/Yorkshire warrior” – a title which celebrates her dual heritage as a strong and fearless Igbo woman now living in West Yorkshire.
While Ruth fully embraces all the parts that define who she is, it’s her Nigerian heritage that takes centre stage in her work, which according to her, is a reflection of herself – as she never truly stops thinking about West Africa even when she is away.
Ruth’s photography looks to “celebrate, to question the standard of beauty, empower and represent Nigeria and Nigerians, Africa and Africans in and away from home.”
Speaking with It’s Nice That about her work, Ruth said:
“I’m really infatuated by the way in which photography can tell stories, capture and empower black identity and culture, especially Nigerian identity, which is so beautiful, effortless and powerful. This is something I have been surrounded by and capturing all my life.”
About the importance of people – especially Africans – telling their own stories, Ruth said:
“I am a strong advocate of photographers who are embedded in the context in which ideas are produced, participating in the contextualising of their images.
It becomes very problematic when Nigerians — and other Africans — cannot tell their own stories: it becomes too often incomplete, inaccurate and stereotyped.”
Ruth will be returning to Nigeria and Kenya sometime this year to shoot more of her work – and will be releasing her photobook in 2018.
You can follow Ruth’s captivating work on her Tumblr and Instagram.