Stephen Tayo is a photographer who captures intimate portraits that reveal the sartorial flair and quiet dignity of his sitters. Focusing on their clothing and accessories, his work explores the multi-layered symbolism of fashion: what clothing says about identity and relations with family and community.
He also often trains his lens on everyday, commonplace but yet undocumented subcultures; elevating ordinary moments of his environment: at festivals, family celebrations, friendships, across Nigeria and beyond. His sitters are usually active participants in the act of picture taking; they perform along with the photographer or often times even set the tone. Adopting formal poses that were popular in the studio photography in West Africa in the 1950s and 1960s, his work is influenced by the portraits of Seydou Keita, Malick Sidibe and Samuel Fosso.
Stephan Tayo participated in an artist residency with the Arthouse Foundation in 2020. His residency project, What If?, which explores drag culture in Lagos, will debut in kó's exhibition in December 2020.