Woman Crush Wednesday: Nwaka Okparaeke
Interview by Arielle Bobb-Willis
How old are you Nwaka and where are you from? Have these two factors plays a big role in your work?
Nwaka Oparake: I'm 19 and I'm from southeast London and Nigeria. It definitely plays a big part in the way I style my models. I specifically created a piece based on both of my cultures which has not been released yet. Before this shoot I don't think it has consciously played a big role in the concepts I have produced so far. But obviously it's a big part of my life so subconsciously aspects have encouraged the direction of my concepts.
What drew you to photography and how do you go about choosing each model?
NO: I'm not sure what specifically drew me to it. I've been taking photos for as long as I can remember. I have always loved anything that has to do with creating cool visual pieces. Photography just so happens to be one of those things. For a long time I have found that I disagree with everyone else around me. I’ve always believed there is always much more to a subject and therefore I will not stop questioning it. The best way for me to question and think deeper about a subject is to create something based on the issues. In the process of questioning, researching and thinking about the colors, composition, and emotion, I would end up figuring out the answers to my original questions and eventually start thinking of new questions that would lead to the next shoot.
Your work seems to have a big emphasis on fashion. What kind of clothing do you like to shoot?
NO: I LOVE anything shiny, colorful, sparkly and optical allusions!!!! I think it's the slightly distorted proportion that just visually looks nice to me.
I've noticed that many of your photos are shot either from above or below the model. Why?
NO: Its makes the viewers think more into the character. So for example I might shoot someone from a low angle to give him or her a sense of dominance.
Each photo gives off a light carefree vibe. Is this a reflection of the way you try to live your life? And how do you direct your subjects to express themselves freely?
NO: I personally wouldn't say "care free" is how I live my life but other people that know me might say otherwise. There are a lot of things that the general public are uptight about that I never seem to be tied down by. I think I'm very organized, I think a lot about the future, I like doing things for a reason, and I hate the idea of wasting time. In my opinion that’s not very care free, so maybe I am in the middle. I know most of my models beforehand so I already know if their vibe will work well with the concept of my photo shoot. For this reason they fall into character quite easily.
Which artists have inspired your work the most?
NO: I don't think there is a specific artist that has inspired my work the most. I look at loads of artwork every day so I think they all just go in my head and mix together along with emotions, opinions and questions to create art in my mind that I then turn into photos.
The WCW Questionnaire
1. How would you describe your creative process in one word?
2. If you could teach one, one hour class on anything, what would it be?
I don't think I know about anything enough to teach for one hour and not get bored...maybe something to do with geography or natural disasters.
3. What was the last book you read or film you saw that inspired you?
My Dinner with Andre
4. What is the most played song in your music library?
Marvin Gaye- I Want You (Marvins Mood)
5. How do you take your coffee?
I would rather not take it.