Stephen Tayo is a true flaneur, wandering around Lagos observing and examining everyone he sees. The young documentary photographer recently graduated from the University of Lagos with a philosophy degree, but has chosen a different path for himself: “I got into photography to express what I felt as a young boy growing up. I also wanted to create a story made up of the people I see and the places I visit,” Stephen tells It’s Nice That.
Stephen’s photographs are spontaneous shots of everyday fashion on the Lagos streets. With his camera close at hand, he wanders around the city, ready to capture women in bright blue dresses and gold gele. Particularly notable are his photographs of children in matching dresses and suits. “No one should underestimate how fabulous kids can be. I wanted to remind people that children can be as stylish as adults. I also felt compelled to capture the beauty in the way we see kids,” Stephen explains. Pictures of little girls in green velvet dresses and young boys dressed in Places + Faces t-shirts fill up his Instagram, transforming his profile into a virtual gallery.
“I feel it’s important to show the beauty from Lagos. I want to make sure I do my part in showing the creative innovations of Nigeria to the world,” Stephen says. His photographs are records of daily life in the west African country’s capital: children going to school, sisters out shopping, families on their way to a church. “The images create a visual narrative of natural people doing every day things,” Stephen reveals. Through his photography, he challenges us to re-consider what we regard as mundane and prompts us to recognise beauty in the ordinary.
Stephen’s strength lies in his improvisation: “The most important thing I try to achieve is making sure I tell my story without thinking too much about it. It shouldn’t be hard to say what I experience or feel.” His images are neither contrived nor strained. They are an authentic documentation of Nigerian life and Lagos’ effortlessly stylish people.