Male models walk down the runway in lines

The School of Fierce Walks

Lagos Fashion Week is one of the most hotly anticipated events in the African fashion industry calendar, featuring and attracting the biggest names and media from across the continent and beyond. It’s the dream of aspiring fashion photographers to get behind the scenes and beside the catwalk as the latest looks make their debut to the media, buyers and fans.

The 2018 event showcased the Spring/Summer 2019 collections of over 50 designers in four days. However, the show was also a platform for a number of other activities, such as networking, forums and the Canon sponsored Visual Makers Fellowship, which held photography workshops during the event. Participants in the VMF were selected through by scouts, who toured across Nigeria looking for the very best raw talent to take part in an intensive week of learning, practical assignments and critiques.

In the end, ten up and coming photographers were selected and took part in three solid days of learning – theory and practical sessions on how to shoot the catwalk, backstage and for lookbooks. This was followed by three crazy days of shooting live shows and backstage at Lagos Fashion Week, covering some of the top designers in Nigeria. The final day was a critique, edit and portfolio building session, which gives the students a professionally presented rounded body of work to take away and use to support their future photography careers.

One of these hungry young imagemakers was 22-year-old Humphrey Ominisan, who has only been a photographer since 2016 and was one of only ten new talents who had the golden opportunity to capture the catwalk of LFW. Here, he shares his experience and favourite shots from the show.

“Every show comes with a unique vibe,” says Humphrey. “From the venue design, the backstage, the runway, choice of models, designers and their pieces, and of course the attendees, who come dressed in style and picture-ready.”

A head and shoulder shot of a model dressed in white with white drop earrings
A model backstage (© Humphrey Ominisan)
A male and female model, dressed in orange, side by side
Models wait to hit the runway (© Humphrey Ominisan)

Backstage

“Here we captured the process, the designer’s clothes, makeup, hair and models in all types of moods. It was quite intense.

We witnessed everything and captured in detail whatever task we were assigned by our instructors. They taught us to pay attention to details and shoot quick because moments can easily slip by and because it is an event, the moment can never be recreated.”

Clothes on a rail, backstage at Lagos Fashion Week
Backstage at Lagos Fashion Week (© Humphrey Ominisan)

On the Runway

“This is the place where all the elements of the show come together. Clothes, makeup, accessories… all presented by the models who give their best walks. On the part of the models, there were fierce walks and rehearsed presentations where they gave their best, but there were also trips and slips and funny walking from having a bad pair of heels!

Sometimes some of the other photographers next to us would make funny comments – Nigerians are quite savage, to be honest – but they still showed appreciation when they saw models that walk well, because these models help us to take breath-taking photos.”

Young man with cameras over his shoulders
Humphrey at LFW
A model on a catwalk wearing a mustard yellow slip dress and hat
Humphrey’s favourite shot from LFW (© Humphrey Ominisan)

“My favourite shot is the one above from TTYA London's collection, it was just like all the forces of Lagos Fashion Week aligned to make this image happen. The model's strut was perfect, especially when her right foot touched down. The TTYA piece she wore, how it was styled, how it moved with her, her expression – everything was just perfect! It was tough picking a favourite, but this image is one so dear to my heart.”

A model in blue on a black background
Over 50 designers showed their latest looks at LFW (© Humphrey Ominisan)
A model in red walks down the runway
“There were fierce walks” (© Humphrey Ominisan)

The Experience

“This experience was super exciting and gave me a lot of insight into the minds of some of my favourite designers. Some of the presentations had the ability to draw attention not just to the designs, but the experiences and stories that inspired them.

It was also great for networking, I met with one of my favourite photographers of all time, Trevor Stuurman, who was covering a report for British Vogue. He was happy to share some knowledge and we had a good chat – I also got his contact. He called me ‘Brother’, which made me wish we were truly related! I do hope to be like him one day, with a lot of achievements and work in my portfolio.

Thanks to Canon for putting this together and our instructors who imparted knowledge in us. This will surely help push our careers further. Truly, this was an experience and I'm glad I was part of it."

You can see more of Humphrey’s photography on Instagram or visit the Lagos Fashion Week website to see more inspiring photography from the event.

Written by Katie Simmonds


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