01 Jun New York Based Visual Artist Zie Otto Captures Musical Sensation Afro B in An Eccentric Editorial that Delivers the Contemporary African Promise.
If you are into the London Afrobeats music scene then you are definitely not a stranger to the super talented DJ cum music artist Afro B. In a brilliant editorial aptly captured by New York based visual artist Zie Otto. The South Londoner who has traced his heritage back to the Ivory Coast and once described his sound to RedBull.com as ‘Afrowave’ – a sort of fusion of hip-hop, dancehall and Afrobeat melodies was a photographer’s muse and delight as he delivered brilliant poses for this Afrocentric editorial.
Talking about the feature and the inspiration behind it, the curator Zie Otto also of Ivorian descent says the styling of editorial was inspired by both his visit to Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast) a couple of months ago and also one of Afro B’s own track; Drogba (Joannna) which went hand in hand with what he was experiencing at the time of the shoot. ” The juxtaposition of activewear and traditional prints made a lot of creative sense to me. So, here I am walking down the streets Abidjan and seeing kids in their flyest Nike or Adidas apparels styled in the most unique ways. I mean, one time I saw a kid wearing lêke shoes which is the original Ivorian plastic shoes made for everyday use and even used to play football. He had lêke shoes with, some pants made of local print fabrics, and a blazer on top of the France men football Jersey. Unexpected combinations but the kid looked fresh. Given that and the fact that the Drogba song was a big shout out to the best footballer out of Ivory Coast it was effortless for me to come up with this. ” he says.
On what he often sort to achieve with his art Zie says “The purpose of taking a photograph is to capture a specific moment and try to represent it as true as possible but I think a much more important principle in my work is to bring to mind – invoke in a way some sort of emotion with or without a reaction. Usually, I decide what that emotion/reaction is gonna be but give space for other interpretation of course. This is apparent in the AMERICANOH portrait series I’m working on. Often times when I make art whether it be photography or anything else, I’m at least trying to achieve this part of it. “
In a short bio, Zie Otto describes himself as a photographer and artist of process – Ivory Coast born and New York City grown.
Placing portraiture on a plane equal to the iconic universality of portrait and fashion photography, the works of NYC-based Zie Otto are at once nakedly direct and difficult to see. His pictures tend to foreground aspects of his subjects, so as to give their whole figure a decided air of ambiguity. Oftentimes, like a movie director, he allows his subjects to hide behind a mask of emotional expressivity: a look concealing the subjectivity of the person who actually gives it. You can find out more about his work at zieotto.com or on IG @zie.otto
See more pictures from the brilliant editorial below and follow Blanck on IG @blanckdigital for more editorial features from creative talents around the globe.
Photographer: Zie Otto
Assisted by Elijah Craig
Model: Afro B