Untitled, 2020, digital photograph, 3712 x 5568. Shutter speed 1/160, F4.0, ISO 5000. 

Untitled, 2020, digital photograph, 4000 x 6000. Shutter speed 1/320, F5.0, ISO 8000.

Oluwadamilare, 2020, digital photograph, 5324 x 4000. Shutter speed 1/125, F5.0, ISO 5000.

Nigerian culture has been on a rise worldwide. While everyone wants to enjoy the music, clothing, traditions etc., many are ignorant of the various struggles and labor that Nigerians experience daily and throughout their lifetime. They want the beauty without the bitterness. Nigerian culture puts an emphasis on education, discipline, and respect, rooted in the idea that by instilling these core values, individuals will not depart from them, and it will lead them to success. The artist shares a common experience with the audience when discussing one’s journey to success and the ever-present fear of failure with a theme of dreams versus reality. Rooted in fashion photography, portraiture–both candid portraits and staged self portraits–and still life, Bittersweet is a musical autobiography, the coming-of-age story of a Nigerian man, as told through the stories of many different people.

Samuel Ojo ’22 is an Economics Major at Williams College. He enjoys photography, dancing, and watching anime. He was born in Lagos, Nigeria and raised in both Nigeria and Brooklyn, NY, and he calls both places home.

Bittersweet is a series of twenty photographs, and the full project will be posted on Samuel Ojo’s Instagram page (@Ojoptics).