My name is Lubabetu Abubakar or just ‘Lubee’, 19 year old Nigerian girl, currently studying Law at Durham University.
Technically, I started photography almost a year ago but i like to believe I started since i was much younger, I just didn’t know how to ‘vomit’ the mental pictures in my head. Photography for me is a language; it’s not just about telling a story, it’s important to me that the person at the receiving end feels something too; no matter how little or short that feeling is I always strive to impose an emotion.
A lot of people don’t realise just how beautiful it is to think about something, create or ‘make it happen’ and then have the opportunity to share that mental image you once had with people around you. It’s like letting them peek into your brain. started off using the Fujifilm finepix s2950, I was super excited about it, just the idea of getting a camera with a lens made me feel extremely cool! I got right down to the conceptual photography thing, with no exact idea what I was doing, I just asked my friends to help me out by posing, I was desperate to create something I imagined in my head. After a while I got the Canon 550D/Kiss X4, this was also influenced my another friend who had the same camera at the time and told me great things about it. I’ve never really been one to care too much about the quality of a picture, I think that is something you understand with experience. I’m more of the *i don’t care how noisy the picture looks as long as you get the message* kind of photographer. After a while, I realized that quality helps you enjoy the image even more. I saved up money, sold off some stuff and I got the NIKON D7000 with the 18-105mm lens. Not too long after that, I got the 50mm lens on ebay and that is what I currently use.
Although I do a lot of body language, I’m a huge fan of facial expressions, mainly because I believe they make the picture what it is. Just like any other artist/photographer I am always rooting for a reaction of some sort and the facial expression on the model says a lot about what the other might person feel. If for example, there is a picture of a burning house and a 4yr old girl standing right in front of it with a blue scarf around her face, everyone is thinking, ‘oh my! Poor girl.’ But if she’s smiling that changes everything.
So for me, conceptual photography is always about the expression, everything else is what I call ‘presentation’. I’ve been told before that my pictures come off looking ‘too sad for a 19year old girl’ but I think that ‘smiling’ or ‘joy’ or ‘happiness’ is really overrated. Maybe its just me but I never really believed that because someone is not unhappy then they must be happy. We only just taste happiness/joy, it never really lasts long enough, you see most people spend their whole lives trying to find happiness and when they do, it’s like how long do they really have it for? So i focus on the part that’s usually hidden, everyone has a story and true constant happiness is the end of their story, just like the saying ‘and they lived happily ever after’, I’m the part before the end of the story.
Growing up as an African, there is always so much you need to know, so many norms and values are set up for you. Being the first child out of four I’ve always been reminded about how it is important that I set a good example. The idea of being responsible, cultured and respectful definitely sunk in very early in life for me, even though I didn’t always live up to those expectations I always knew they were there. I think I’ve always been socially rebellious, I always questioned everything, I always had to doubt something because there is so much that never really adds up. That certainly played a huge role in my interest in photography and my approach to it, especially since I have such a big extended family; you share certain emotions with your family. You see an aunt or cousin breakdown at home and walk out of the house 30mins later smiling at the neighbours. Nigerians have this saying, it’s called the ‘suffering and smiling’ situation; I am just girl that looks beyond the smiling and steals/captures the emotion behind it.