Hey There Nicole, Looking all gorgeous and vivacious. This 21 year old female, currently studying IT with Business management at Queen Mary University, London but clearly should be chasing the photography path has come to show us you do not need a degree to feed talent. She has been born and bred in North London and somehow brings her African heritage to the surface of her work.
There is a difference between being naturally great at photography and learning the skills and thesis on what it takes to be great - the first option is Nicole Osula.
Now I am not great with cameras, hence I am not sure which ones are great for creating such mind blowing images that bleed out color, animation, energy, humor, black beauty, cultural appreciation and of course POWER. (Little secret; VSCO is one of her tools)
Now with many images being predominantly of the white background, it seems Nicole has taken an entirely different route and this compliments the black heritage and the beauty we embody within.
Think the silky chocolate skin, caramelized mocha tones, candy floss hair, a goddess mane, the luscious curves of the African woman and the striking eye of the males physique as well as that golden brown sugar glow.
Enough with the appraisals, and here is the relaxed interview in which she answers a few of my questions and don't forget to check out her Instagram page for your daily dose of the rainbow and collaborations.
1. Behind those camera lenses, there is a strong female who has a vision. Tell us more about yourself?
Haha hi there!! My name is Nicole Osula, I'm 21 years old and I was born and bred in North London. I'm three quarters Nigerian and one quarter Sierra Leonian. I'm a lover of Fruitella and Supermalt and till this day I am still finding it hard to fathom why God placed two such beautiful delicacies in my life. I can't complain though. *haha*
2. You are getting a degree in IT and Business Management but yet, your Instagram page as well as your social label is a photographer. Why photography? Is it more of a passion?
Haha I like this question. Photography is definitely an immense passion of mine, but the funny thing to me about it is that, it had developed so out of the blue. Initially when I joined Instagram I was documenting random bits and pieces I came across in my everyday life - most of these images consisted of clouds, flowers and trees haha. I don't know, there is something about the candy floss nature of clouds and the vibrancy of flowers that I love. The intricacy of tree branches is something that never fails to fascinate me. It got to the point where I'd literally stop every fifteen minutes and be like, "wait guys!" just so I could capture one of these beauties for the umpteenth time. Every so often I'd whip out of my phone and ask a friend to stand by a nearby coloured wall so that I could capture them and then we'd continue going about our day like nothing happened haha
The summer of 2015 is when I made the decision that I wanted to take portrait photography seriously. I began to realise that I really enjoyed capturing people - more so than I did the clouds, flowers and trees (most of which have been deleted lool). I decided that I wanted to grow, I wanted to reach out to other creatives that I didn't know, as opposed to solely taking photos of friends. I messaged a lovely Instagrammer by the name of Ejatu Shaw for a collaborative shoot and since then, with every new person that I took portraits of, it became more and more apparent to me that capturing people is what I love doing. The whole experience gives me this... Buzz. From finding people via Instagram who I feel would help create my visions and birth them into reality, to meeting them and styling them, to exploring locations - the process is all very exciting to me.
It became apparent to me that in order to be better, in order to see growth; I needed to invest. I needed to use a medium that would help elevate me and take me further on my journey, as opposed to relying solely on an iPhone, so I started saving up for a Canon. My best friend was aware that I was saving up and had asked what camera I wanted to buy. I told her, not thinking anything of it at the time. Little did I know, she was making plans to buy the camera for me and actually ended up surprising me with it this summer for my 21st birthday. I cried and just stared at the box for ages. I couldn't even open it, I was in shock haha. I promised her she'd be the first person I captured.
3. It is safe to say 80% if not 100% your subjects are of an African or Black culture. Is this on purpose and why?
Ah yes, this is deliberate :) I think there is something majestic about the black skin. I appreciate melanin and enjoy capturing its many shades. I especially love capturing darker tones as I feel as though darker complexions are demonised in society and in the media, and that's far from okay with me. Why should it be acceptable to make people feel as though they're unworthy or not good enough simply because the shade of their skin isn't, "desirable" in your eyes?
For a long time when I was growing up I thought I was unattractive because I wasn't as light as some of then people around me, but as I grew older and started a journey of self love, I came to realise that my mentality was actually pretty stupid and idiotic. It was offensive, not just to myself, but to other people across the globe who are also dark in complexion. In addition to that, the mentality that I had was offensive to God, who had created me to be no other way. At the end of the day skin is skin, and no matter the shade, no matter the complexion, we are all beautiful. There is majesty in the black skin and I have come to love the truth that, it is in melanin, that I swim
As well as appreciating varying skin tones, I am also a big enthusiast when it comes to vibrant colours. I often like to incorporate bold flowers in my work, as well as head-wraps and jewellery that are vivacious in nature. There's something about them that puts a smile on my face haha, and I love the way in which bright colours skip and dance upon on the surface of melanin - as though they are further complementing the radiance of black skin.
4. What is your take on photography of this age in comparison to its’ history? Has it gotten more authentic or just people playing with what is already out there?
I do feel as though photography has gotten more authentic. I feel like we are in a generation whereby people aren't afraid to express themselves in a creative manner. I feel as though restrictions people may have felt previously have been lifted. In the same vane, I do also feel as though we play about with what is already out there, but in a way that is good. Images from the past are a means of inspiration and help aid the birthing of new vision.
5. If you had to collaborate with any magazine or online platform, which would it be?
I would like to collaborate with Vogue magazine. I hope to photograph Lupita Nyongo one day - I think she's awesome!!!
6. Lastly, what is on your bucket list? What would you like to achieve before you hit your 70’s?
Haha we'd run out of Fruitella if I were to tell you things on my bucket list, but we have three cubes left, so I'll share a few. Before hitting 70, I want to know that I've done my best to live a happy and fruitful life. I want to have left meaningful imprints on the hearts of people encountered during my journey.
I want to have made my loved ones proud, sipping on endless bottles of Super-Malt with a peaceful mind knowing that my purpose has been fulfilled.