As the exploration of Ib Kamara’s Instagram page ensues, the first encounter is the bio, where a location of residency is given and an email address for contact, the staple for most biographies on Instagram.
However, what is most striking is a phrase written; ‘Living not surviving’, one cannot begin to deny the battles faced with this premise, from the early angst of teenagerhood to the inescapable loop provided by adulthood, living and not merely surviving is one of the greatest challenges of existence.
A testament to this phrase can be seen in his collaborative work with Cape Town based photographer Kristin Lee–Moolman, where through a compelling style and photographic play they create a movement described as ‘New Africa’ in their interview with DazedMagazine.
‘New Africa’ is hardly reference to a rebirth of Africa, instead it describes the existence of African culture that invokes visual conversations between the observer and the image, conversations around gender and sexuality—with an ease in appearance that’s yet heavily ladened with the imaginations of an Africa that is progressive, gender fluid and accepting—through styling and poses.
Pose as part of the human existence is a mode of expression through the human form, one that few find themselves thinking about unless their quality of work stems from the use of body structure. The Seirra Leonean stylist and South African photographer duo, seem to have easily mastered such use of the body, teasing the line between subtle confrontation and enticing art, where the observer can see the essential collaboration between body and clothing.
Besides the number of photoshoots in which he styles, Ib also costume-designed and styled the film ‘Process’ for Artist Sampha under his belt. Garnering his skills, he created pieces that not only stand beautifully alone but interact with the scenery and music in a graceful way. All which one cannot deny playing an essential role within the telling of the film.
Besides working with two of the worlds biggest brands, Ruth’s work does not seem to embody intimidation, the ‘normal‘ prose often associated with such brands and their taste for seemingly ‘polished’ and perhaps often airbrushed images, rather Ruth’s work adopts a more indigenous storytelling technique, creating images that are not merely reachable to her audiences but also relatable.
Often in her work, the halcyon approach of an African photographic set can be seen, colourful and scenic backdrops so different from everything else within the frame yet managing to all tie-in together.
Her work, radiates authenticity and admiration for her Nigerian roots. Pieces of her culture can be seen in work she displays, making it easy for both those that do recognise the pieces and those that don’t to appreciate their almost soulful significance within her pictures.
In truth both Ib and Ruth transfix with their work, but perhaps what is most interesting is their emphasis on the black body and the art that undoubtedly comes from its culture.