Namsa Leuba’s modern primitive photographs get me excited and I’m not alone in my adoration of her highly original work. The British Journal of photography has selected her as one of the photographers to watch in 2013 – job done. I’m definitely watching, in fact I’ve been hooked on her work since I first spotted it on the ultimate creative resource that is tumblr, this led me to discover the Ya Kala Ben series as above – her occidental portrayal of statuettes used in Guinean ritual. It was this work that got the Swiss – African photographer both into some trouble with the locals who didn’t like her viewpoint on their culture and won her the ECaL, Hyeres PhotoGlobal and Elinchrom prizes. Impressive huh?
So to is her work within the fashion realm. The African Queen’s fashion story for The Cut as above seems a far cry from Ya Kala Ben but is also inspired by Guinean statuettes. Ritualistic offerings within the photographs come in the form of hair pieces to increase energy, sea shells to represent the idea of an enchanting universe, cow horns and magic potions for protection and other such goddess inspired and found paraphernalia that create deep, immersive storytelling not to mention a kick ass knitwear shoot. Refreshing to say the least. What I especially love about all the women in Namsa’s fashion images is that they have a sense of power and ritual to them outside of the usual magazine pages that scream of sex and branding and which to tell you the truth I’m so bloody tired of…you feel me? This power portrayal alongside her documentary style and magnificent sense of colour and nature and I dare say a sense of humour – fashion should be fun right?, presents a totally fresh take not only on fashion but on photography as well.
“Cocktail” above for WAD magazine might just be my favourite for its tropical pop vibes, incredible sense of colour, strong portrayal of women and abundance of natural offerings…best use of flora in a shoot I’ve seen in a long time. Must admit though, and in writing this, it’s difficult to choose a favourite when all of Namsa’s work looks and feels this good and that each story although completely different from the next seem to go hand in hand in creating a great energy and an immersive understanding of Namsa’s world. And yes I want to live there. A true visionary.
Amidst a heavy schedule of shooting around the world and a myriad of accolades as previously mentioned Namsa made a heavenly match when she shot “Bahuda”, her very special take on Comme de Garcons for i-D online earlier this year. A conceptual and avant-garde love nest of African inspiration, DaDa and Bauhaus shapes and geometric structures that show a real understanding of the brand. Heavenly indeed. There is much more of Namsa’s work that I encourage you to take a look at, check her website for more of her immersive wonder and to keep up to date with her great goings on. Otherwise, I’m sure I will be back at showcasing her work here in the not too distant future as I haven’t felt this inspired in a long time. Love. x