Roots and Routes

My unexpected encounter with Rapture occurred through his food delivery friend in Prague. Rapture hails from Nigeria, earned a master’s degree in International Economy and Business, and currently holds a full-time job in Prague to financially support his passion for rap.

Over several months of thorough conversations, from complete strangers, the relationship between the photographer and the photographed person grew closer over time. Rapture gradually opened up, allowing me to witness the vulnerability of his private life. Similar to other African countries, Nigeria is often portrayed through a lens of stereotypes, depicting slums, tribal conflicts, and poverty. Rarely do people speak of Nigerian lawyers, doctors, professors, or artists. I shared with him the issue of objectification of subjects and the colonial perspective in photography. As a Vietnamese, I am all too familiar with the influx of Western colonial photographers who travel to Vietnam and other Asian countries to exploit vulnerable indigenous subjects for their own gain, disregarding the ethical implications of such practices.

I invited Rapture to participate in various stages of the creative process to ensure his voice was prominently represented. Compromise, attentive listening, empathy, and respect were consistently upheld throughout the project. We collaboratively selected found images that could somewhat represent the people and the nation of Nigeria. In addition, all photographs and text are published with Rapture’s consent.

The body of work questions the power dynamics between the photographer and the subject, the objectivity of a story, and the ethical considerations in photographic practices. Additionally, it examines how the collaboration influences the outcomes of the project when the subject is actively involved in the creative process with the photographer.

This photo is Copyright by Vinh Tran. All rights reserved.