Over the past month, the media has had a keen interest in the London protests turned riots. Reminiscent of the Rodney King riots in Los Angeles, the violence and looting seem to be triggered by the fatal shooting of Mark Duggan, a Tottenheim resident. Like the Rodney King riots, a police brutality incident lit the fuse for already disenfranchised and angry protesters to act out against the establishment. Anti-cuts protests had been growing in solidarity and intensity for several months before the riots began.
For Ope, these conditions are ripe for documentary photographers. Ope Odueyungbo, a London native, is a now second year student at Ravensbourne University.
The ultra-talented young photographer captured the anti-cuts protests with an eye for the uncommon common ground. While other photographers are attempting to capture the most violent and brutal photographs of the conflict, seems to follow in photo documentary pioneer Bernie Boston’s footsteps (he was the guy who shot “Flower Power” a Pulitzer prize nominee).
The reason I mention this is that Ope, like Boston, tends to show a different part of conflict. He beautifully depicts the interesting moment when the two sides connect. He’s also brilliant at showing tension without action. The way he frames his shots, the subjects that he chooses, and his composition are all exceptional for such a young photographer. Here are just a few of his shots. You can check the rest of them out here.
We virtually sat down with Ope last week and asked him some questions about the protest, skipping class, and who he has an art crush on at Ravensbourne:
Youʼre a street doc photographer, living in England, during a time of much political
unrest. A lot of the photographs featured on The Aritician Magazine post you did last month had to do with the protests.
What was it like shooting amidst such tension?
For most of it I felt at ease because there was so much happening at the time. Not many
people noticed I was taking pictures. When the riot police were called in, protesters started
getting a lot more rowdy. There was a lot of chaos going on around me. With each shot I
took I had to watch my back because things were being thrown at police while I was
standing near them. It was overwhelming but Iʼm very pleased to have the shots in the
From what youʼve seen and captured, what are the major issues that
people are ﬁghting for?
Relating to my shots of the protest I believe the major issues which were causing conﬂict is
the government raising costs of various things, cutting funding and generally making it
harder for citizens to live. Many people couldn’t afford these changes, some resorted to
causing trouble for police.
Do you have any comment on who you believe is in the right?
I don’t agree with the changes the government made but I don’t think its an excuse for
people to vandalize and start causing trouble for police. In my opinion, it always makes
Your images are part art, part journalism. Itʼs a beautiful mix of the two. Do you think
that todayʼs artists have a responsibility to document current political or societal
I think if its your specialty, it has to be done. Whenever I know something is going for
example a big political/social event, I feel its a responsibility of mine to go shoot it even if I
don’t have to. Its a good chance to show others your view on a certain issue.
You found your medium at the age of 16 when you began working with digital
cameras. Do you study other art forms now that youʼre at Ravensbourne University?
In my ﬁrst (foundation) year at Ravensbourne I studied a range of different art forms, this
included: ﬁne art, fashion/textiles, illustration, graphic design and photography. At the
moment, its just digital photography which I very much enjoy.
What areas of study do you think will help you become a better photographer?
I think the technical side of photography is very important especially when out on the
streets, a lot of situations can pop up where quick thinking and technical knowledge of a
camera is required. Iʼm still learning in this area of study and believe that when I have
learned all that is needed to know, Iʼll be at a higher level.
Have you ever skipped class to get a good shot?
Haha, no I have never done that. Anytime I wanted to go shoot during lesson times, I was
always given permission.
Do you think going to college is important for artists?
I think it is important because its a place of opportunities where you’ll have the chance to
work with many creative individuals and meet industry people that can help you achieve
your goal. Itʼs a vital learning process where you learn through your mistakes and you
keep on improving.
Are you involved in any campus organizations?
Not at the moment but Iʼll be looking to get involved in something in my second year.