Written by Ogunbiyi Ayobami Lolade

At one point in your life, I’m sure you’ve seen a picture that made you pause to think. It spoke to your imagination, reminded you of how life once was where you’re from, and brought back good and also bad memories.

You must know that indeed, photography is more than the beautiful images you see every day. Photographers are storytellers – they tell their stories through their photo sessions and that’s one thing Ruth Ossai never fails to do. There is always an element of her Eastern-Nigerian identity embedded in her pictures. 

She is committed to the message in her work and her projects are mostly focused on the African narrative- it’s heritage, culture and values. She acknowledges that as Africans, we should tell our own stories. It doesn’t always have to be the one-sided story that the media tells for us; poverty, famine, and disasters. Her photography captures narratives with beauty and traditional fashion styles of Nigerians.

Born and raised in South-Eastern Nigeria and Yorkshire, Ruth Ossai is a photographer known for beautiful editorials. Her pictures capture the use of flamboyant colours, costumes, and aesthetic backdrops that showcase her Nigerian roots. She draws her inspiration from Nollywood. 

Ruth has a passion for youth development and has done such work in Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, South Africa, and some other African countries. Her love for youth development prompted her collaboration with the Nigerian filmmaker Akinola Davies Jr in 2017. Gidi Gidi Bu Ugwu Eze (Unity is Strength) is the short film and photo series that turned out to be the fruit of that collaboration.

The short film captured a group of young Nigerians riding motorcycles and getting dressed up. According to her, this collaboration gave her a different audience and launched her into a different space. Her main aim with this collaboration was to showcase “young black Nigerian bodies, capturing them and celebrating their Igbo culture and tradition.”

In 2019, Ruth photographed two campaigns for the Rihanna Fenty collaboration. The first campaign was for the luxury brand. The second was for the Fenty Jewelry Collection. Ruth shared pictures on her picture and captioned it “Cameo Jewellery Release 10-19”

Ruth Ossai has registered numerous achievements under her brand over the past 10 years. We definitely hope to see more of her projects and we trust that it’ll be as great as the usual.

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