NIGERIAN PHOTOGRAPHER, RUTH OSSAI SHOOTS RIHANNA’S UPCOMING FENTY CAMPAIGN
On the 10th of May, singer-turned-entrepreneur, Rihanna made history, becoming the first woman to launch an original brand at the LVMH luxury goods collective, which is home to brands such as Givenchy, Dior, Louis Vuitton, and now Fenty Maison.
While the brand debuted in Paris on Friday, the online global launch is still to come. To prepare us for the latest episode of Rihanna’s world domination, Fenty has been releasing a steady flow of sartorial images, shot by the talented Nigerian photographer, Ruth Ossai.
Speaking with The New York Times, who first aired the news of Rihanna’s latest business exploit, the LVMH chairman, Bernard Arnault said “to support Rihanna to start up the Fenty Maison, we have built a talented and multicultural team…” of which Ruth Ossai seems to be a member.
Ruth Ossai has an incredibly unique photography style, comprising of animated backdrops and textured mats for her distinctive sets, which have now appeared on Fenty’s Instagram story, as they tease their upcoming campaign.
Last week, Fenty aired behind the scenes footage of another campaign. Using a variety of different scenes for the set design, some of the landscapes behind the Fenty-clad models looked surprisingly familiar, with Lagos and potentially other parts of Nigeria being used for the backdrops.
Watch the Fenty teaser video below:
She has succeeded in making a name for herself by staying true to her Nigerian roots. This can be seen in the clothes worn by her models. It is also reflected in the textured mats, poses and unique backdrops commonly associated with the older Nigerian generation.
Ruth Ossia X Rihanna’s Fenty
Her distinctive style, which screams old school Nigerian photos, made its way into the Fenty campaign.
The few pictures from the ad show the models either standing or lying in front of backdrops reminiscent of the photo booths used by our parents.
Explaining her unique photography style, she said, “My use of backdrops is a reminder of the amazing special effects and scenes you see in Nollywood films.”
Speaking with It’s Nice That, she added, “I’m really infatuated by the way in which photography can tell stories, capture and empower black identity and culture. Especially Nigerian identity, which is so beautiful, effortless and powerful. This is something I have been surrounded by and capturing all my life.”
“My photography is not a response to anything particular but I am a strong advocate of photographers who are embedded in the context in which ideas are produced, participating in the contextualising of their images. It becomes very problematic when Nigerians – and other Africans – cannot tell their own stories: it becomes too often incomplete, inaccurate and stereotyped. This narrative has needed changing for too long now. My work is also honestly partly a reflection of myself; I love and never stop thinking about West Africa, whether I’m home or away.”
Ossai balances her career with youth development work in Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, South Africa and Yorkshire.