Faces and hands emerge from pale pink fabric. Flowers bloom in stark white cubes. Red rubber gloves grasp orange stems. These are images by Oye Diran, a Lagos-born, New York-based photographer and art director. He is making bold, fresh and conceptually-rich visuals, sharing them with global audiences on IG.
The artist aims to “capture and evoke raw emotion through imagery”, fusing pops of colour with detailed motifs: plants, combs, butterflies and gold paint. To date, Diran’s work has been published widely on platforms including CNN, BBC, Vogue Italia, Colossal, Afropunk, Kenya Airlines, Munaluchi and more. Themes of destiny, vision and aspiration run throughout the arresting portfolio.
The above images are part of a series called Lucid Thoughts. It ruminates around the idea of manifesting our desires – drawing on colours and their symbolic meanings. “The white of the pebbles, which represents divinity, enwraps and empowers the subject,” Diran explains. “The gold painted on the left eye signifies the value of one’s vision, whilst the paint on the right hand represents the power our hands have to create.”
His LensCulture Exposure Award-winning portrait, shown here, explores the Arabic word Maktub, meaning Written. “It’s the idea that our destinies are pre-ordained but still have to be pursued to be reached,” the artist explains. Diran’s still lifes are equally as meaningful, serving “as a visual affirmation that we can bloom regardless of what little we may have. There is greatness in the art of doing what you can with what you have.” It’s an optimistic, inspiring message, encouraging viewers to look forward.
All images courtesy Oye Diran.
Models: Munira Zulka & Dakota Madison. Makeup & Paint: Stephen Hudson