BY JEFF IHAZA
Lagos, a lush Nigerian metropolis perched against the Atlantic, is the second-fastest growing city in Africa. Its 14 million residents share very close quarters. In 2012, it was reported that an average 18,000 residents of Lagos occupy each of its 800 square kilometers, putting the African city in the same class as U.S. hubs like New York and Los Angeles.
For five years The Lagos Photo Festival has used the nearly claustrophobic city of Lagos as a backdrop for its annual celebration of international photography. Every year, the festival uses the jam-packed city to display innovative photographic works from artists around the world.
In many ways the location makes sense. Lagos' conditions create a perfect space for exploring the festival's annual Africa-focused,themes. This year's theme "Staging Reality" explores the visual representations of Africa in contrast to its realities. The result is a stunning series of images that challenge contemporary expectations about the continent and looks ahead by imagining its vibrant future.
From this year's Press Release:
"This year's theme, Staging Reality, Documenting Fiction, examines contemporary photographers working in Africa who negotiate the boundaries and relationships between photography, beliefs, and truths. Incorporating conceptual and performative strategies that expand traditional photographic practice, many contemporary artists working on the continent move beyond the confines of the photojournalistic gaze. These artists produce work that considers the complex social and political concerns that define a new Africa in the twenty-first century, and they explore how the ubiquity of images plays a vital role in how reality is constructed and articulated. Utilizing genres such as staged narratives, performance, appropriation, self-portraiture, and still life, these artists push the temporal and spatial boundaries of the photographic medium. In doing so, Staging Reality, Documenting Fiction considers how these artists imagine different futures and charter fictive worlds, using photography as a catalyst to investigate the changing realities of Africa today."
Check out the photos from this year's festival above, and to learn more about Lagos Photo Festival, visit the official website.