Josef Adamu by Justin Amoafo
As told by Jayde Stuckey
Josef Adamu is multi-faceted. Once dubbed a 'model-ographer' by a friend, Adamu creative directs and stars in the majority of his concepts. During one of his few visits to New York, the 24 year-old content creator was captured by photographer Justin Amoafo in the OXOSI Studio.
EYESPY is a creative approach to style and perspective, capturing Adamu in a game of peek-a-boo between himself and the photographer.
H e starts with a moodboard. He gets a location. He finds a photographer. He styles the subjects. For the most part, he is the subject. Shrouded in mystery, Josef Adamu has curated concepts that have global reach all from the comfort of his hometown. "People think I have a big-city image. Whenever you think people are doing well, you think big-city. So I [hear that I'm from] London and New York the most...People say, 'Oh, you're in London.' They say, 'You must be in Africa [in this image] because the background is yellow.' But to be honest with you, I haven't left home," he admits. His home, though often mistaken, is Ontario, Canada.
Having worked with Nike, Canon Canada, and Squarespace, the Nigerian content creator has mastered his own aesthetic whether in front of the camera or behind the concept. Adamu, creator of ssunday.co, met many of his colleagues in the same fashion he met Ghanian photographer Justin Amoafo: virtually. While visiting family in Toronto, Amoafo finally connected with Adamu and their creative chemistry was evident. "It was like a brotherhood after a while. People with the same vision, but across countries. It's the idea of being in the same world, but in different places physically." The beauty of Adamu's work lies in its mystery, simplicity, and, most of all, its organicity.
Living in a suburb outside of Toronto, Adamu believes that being away from the city has been a driving factor in his creative process. He finds excitement in utilizing obscure locations that can only be found on the outskirts of major cities like London, New York, and Toronto. Inevitably increasing the mystique of his work, he's meticulous in the planning, editing, and releasing of his concepts. Adamu at work is comparable to nothing short of a well-rehearsed dance. Essentially using his body and models as props, he works closely enough with chosen photographers to create self-portraits through their lens. Wearing Spring/Summer from MaXhosa in the OXOSI Studio, Amoafo and Adamu created EYESPY — a concept that ironically speaks to his art form.
"When I think of African imagery, I think of color, which influences the work I do. A lot of what I make involves color-blocking, a lot of bold colors, a lot of vibrance. It's very natural in my work."
As his following grows, the Canadian-born creative no longer desires to be the muse. A Jack-of-all-trades, Adamu admits, "There are people I can learn from. I have to bring in new people and new ideas to offer a bit of change." At any given moment, he'd choose directing over modeling. Still, when the art is this dependent on the precision of the subject, color, and perspective, that task remains easier said than done.