Wakadobe of Africa is rebranding street-hop musicians with stellar images.
The African music and entertainment scenes are the forerunner niches of African excellence, and a collective of artists, photographers, filmmakers, and executives are responsible for crafting the tremendous amount of talent spiraling out of the continent. For street hop in Nigeria, 22jumpstr is an instrumental creative capturing and creating new imagery for the genre through collaborations with Zlatan and Bella Shmurda, among others.
Over the past few years, there has been a rapid emergence of creatives to match the fast-paced industry. Photography and film have significantly enhanced the storytelling for Nigerian creatives, and 22jumpstr is playing a pivotal role in the brand imagery of several artists through his multifarious skillsets.
Samuel Agofure, popularly known as 22jumpstr and by his moniker — Wakadobe of Africa, is a Lagos-based photographer and visual artist with an impressive portfolio working with superstars Davido, Zlatan, Bella Shmurda, Oxlade, Mayorkun, and brands such as T.I Nathan.
The plethora of stellar images by 22jumpstr and recent creative direction and filmmaking exploits proffers the young photographer as an outstanding creative in the industry.
We recently met with 22jumpstr to talk about his journey as a photographer, the creative prowess of his multipotentiality, and new strides in photography and film.
This conversation has been slightly edited for clarity.
What kicked off your photography and when did 22jumpstr become a thing?
I honestly just wanted to create something different at the stage I was at, and that was during my late years in High school. I wanted to do something that felt unique, so I started taking photos with a friend’s camera and retouching my style as I went on. I always loved the idea of creating new images.
Your new projects take a renewed touch. With every image, there’s a different approach. Where do you draw inspiration from, and what’s your process like?
(Laughs) I would say the Internet and films. I watch a ton of pop-culture documentaries all the time and draw inspiration from the most random thing. There’s a lot of vibes and inspiration out in the wild. Most times, I just scroll and find myself around different forms of artistry, whereby I play scenarios in my head with the subjects and objects and try to connect with them. The mind can do a lot if you let it. You simply have to tap into it deeper than others would.
Your photography encompasses several music artists growing from the streets to stardom, including Zlatan and Bella Shmurda. What is the motive behind your choice of imagery?
I enjoy being the medium through which these artists express their craft, so I try as much as I can to show or give a modernized aesthetic feel even though they are street artists. You can still see their projections from where they were to how they are now. More like their state of mind, but using images and visuals to express that because people also need to see that these guys have a lot of stories to tell just from a single image. You can see the originality in their eyes. You can feel the authenticity of their poses. The world is their canvas, and through my lenses, we can tell these stories from the ground to come up.
There’s a lot of diversity in your portfolio, images, artworks, direction, and recently, film. How do you manage to infuse all these into your profession?
That comes along with my personality, which makes it easier for me. Also, I am very artsy, so I am often involved in multiple creative processes, including recording sessions. This fluidity allows my creative juices to flow and create befitting ideas for each project.
Several music stars have been photographed through the lens of WAKADOBE OF AFRICA. What is the story behind that alias, and what stands out about a 22jumpstr image?
Over the years, I always had my hands on many things or had experiences with the most random things that anyone at that stage needed information about. It was usually down to locations, plugs, and areas you may be, do not want to go if you do not have the mind, and then everyone just used to say, “Omo, you dey waka oh.” Then I honestly just saw it as someone who seeks answers. Also, “Of Africa,” why not? It is where I am from and who I am.
Every 22jumpstr image has its distinct look and feel. That is because each image or project process works with my state of mind and that of the artiste/character involved. The situation, area, ambiance, or mood are all sources of inspiration, and I let the ideas flow.
You have been the creative brain behind several of Zlatan’s images and album covers. What does it feel like working with him?
Words cannot do justice to that work process. You might have to be present to experience it and not just with Zlatan. There is just that connection or energy that bonds us to get the best out of every project. Also, when Z trusts your work, he will not stress you. He is always a part of the process in one way or another, but there is an enormous room for me to explore my creativity. I love it.
Do you have a favorite project, and what is exceptional about it?
For now, I wouldn’t say I have a particular favorite. I mean, most of the things I’ve put out there have a spot in the industry, and what makes them unique is the message you get from them. You can certainly feel the originality when you see it.
As a photographer and creative in Nigeria, What is your biggest challenge or limitation?
Omo, if we start, we will not finish (laughs), but majorly I would say the accessibility into locations and also most clients do not know what they want most of the time. Na vibes, and even at that, they want a copy-and-paste direction. It is often challenging to communicate my ideas to people because they want precisely what the other man has or think it’s too much to pull off. However, I always find ways to bridge the ideas and pull them off.
You are one of the young photographers pushing boundaries in Nigeria. What do you recommend for aspiring photographers to thrive?
Do you. Run your p, reach out for collaborations, and even when you do not get any replies, still keep creating. There is no limit to your creativity.
As we wrap up our conversation, 22jumpstr hints at a forthcoming project and is optimistic for the future.