Photography Stephen Tayo

Two young photographers share how they’ve kept creative over lockdown

Stephen Tayo and Raffaele Cariou reflect on life in Lagos and London, and shoot the Club C Maison Margiela sneaker at home.

by i-D Staff
|
16 March 2021, 3:00pm

Photography Stephen Tayo

The ability to freely travel has been a crucial factor in cultivating the rich cultural landscapes we all benefit from today. It’s something that we all took for granted before the arrival of lockdowns around the world, but the effects of a global block on free movement have been particularly acutely felt by young fashion creatives. For photographers, stylists, directors, producers and models alike, travelling for a job was widely perceived as a token of career success. Once accustomed to life on the road -- hopping from city to city, from shoot to shoot -- and drawing inspiration from the places they passed through, creatives have had to recalibrate every aspect of how they work. 

That’s certainly the case for two members of i-D’s global creative community, photographers Stephen Tayo and Raffaele Cariou. Locked down in Lagos and London respectively, we asked them to share their experiences of slowing and reconnecting to the cities they’ve called home for the past year; of the benefits and drawbacks that staying put has had on their creative practices. We sent both of them the Club C Maison Margiela sneaker in black and white -- the result of a marriage between Reebok’s iconic Club C silhouette and the Parisian fashion house’s iconic trompe l’oeil technique, launching on March 24th -- asking them to capture the shoe in the spaces, places and contexts that they’re now creating in. Here’s what they had to say.

Raffaele Cariou for Reebok x Margiela

Raffaele Cariou

Where are you currently?

London.

How have you adjusted to living and working more locally over lockdown?

It's been a really weird experience, and a very introspective one, in a way. We're not really built to live the way we currently are, so there have been points where I've really had to dig deep within to find a sense of balance. That said, I definitely think it’s been a good time to think deeply about what I want to do, and how I want to do it. You can see things in two ways -- either that you've all been forced to stay inside and you're deprived of our freedom, or that you’re suddenly able to do and think about things that you don’t usually have time for -- because you’re too busy with work or travelling, for example. 

Raffaele Cariou for Reebok x Margiela

How has the past year affected your relationship to London and the community that you're part of there?

It's made me miss Paris a lot! I grew up there, and I haven’t been there as much as I usually would be. When you're in a city too long, you just want to be somewhere else. And when you're away from your hometown, you miss it so much -- and I almost miss Paris to the point that I’m thinking of moving back! What I've always found most interesting about London is the people, but it's tricky pretty tricky to meet new people these days…

On the whole, do you think the impact on your work has been beneficial?

It's tricky, because travelling and changing landscape was something I always found really stimulating. Being stuck in London has made it a bit harder to feel inspired -- I’ve really had to dig deep to find new ideas. That said, it has made me think more about shooting still life. It's something I’ve always wanted to explore, but just haven’t had the time for. In that sense, yeah, I think this is time has opened my eyes to new possibilities.

Raffaele Cariou for Reebok x Margiela

How did you approach shooting the Club C Maison Margiela sneaker?

It took me a few days to come up with something, as I didn't want to do something too simple. But I eventually settled on creating three pictures that kind of answer to each other. They work as a kind of triptych, they're almost like one picture. And, from my point of view, I think there's some humour there, a comment on freedom and how to keep sane. It was good fun to work on! 

Ayanfe Olarinde shot by Stephen Tayo for Reebok x Margiela

Stephen Tayo

Where are you currently?

Lagos. 

How have you adjusted to living and working more locally over lockdown?

Like everybody else, I’ve just had to accept that travel can't happen at the moment. I really miss it, especially the sense of relief and escape from life's chaos that it brings, but we don't have that luxury right now. I've adjusted by being more appreciative of what's around me right now, much more so than I was before.

How has the past year affected your relationship to Lagos and the community that you're part of there?

I've really started paying attention to what’s around me, and I’m now more invested in conversations beyond fashion and style. I want to open dialogues with communities that I might not normally have been in contact with before. And, more than ever before, I've been reaching out to connect with local creatives like myself -- just doing stuff like going to the beach, or having drinks or dinner. We're not too busy at the moment, so it’s important to show ourselves some love.

Ayanfe Olarinde shot by Stephen Tayo for Reebok x Margiela

On the whole, do you think the impact on your work has been beneficial?

I think there have definitely been benefits to it. I can see that I'm more of a problem solver than ever before. And I’ve been using this time to pay attention to the people around me and learn new skills from them -- like graphics or Photoshop. I've also invested more time in working with collage, which you can see in the most recent body of work. It’s about drug culture in Nigeria and it was the first time I'd experimented with the medium.

How did you approach shooting the Club C Maison Margiela sneaker?

I knew that I wanted to photograph another local young creative, Ayanfe Olarinde. She's a real multidisciplinary artist -- a painter, photographer and dancer -- and I just love her vibe right now. I wanted there to be a real home-y feel to the images, for them to be really relaxed. That also because I wanted to represent what's happening all over the world right now. We're all thinking more about the idea of locality and community.

The Club C Maison Margiela sneaker will be available to buy on 24th of March on reebok.commaisonmargiela.com and in Maison Margiela boutiques worldwide.

Credits


Stephen Tayo images

Photography Stephen Tayo
Model Ayanfe Olarinde

Raffaele Cariou images

Photography Raffaele Cariou
Set Design Louis Gibson
Retouch Artpost London

Tagged:
Fashion
Reebok
maison margiela
Stephen Tayo