‘Photography is documenting life as it happens, it’s capturing the decisive, unexpected and unique.’ This is how Ope Odueyungbo, professionally known as Ope O, describes his craft. And he should know a thing or two. From working with the likes of Audi, Cadbury, and Puma to releasing his own book of photography Parallel Lines, Ope O is one of Lewisham’s success stories. We asked him whether he thought growing up in Lewisham had shaped him as an artist;
“I think people have a lot of negative connotations about South East London in general and the photography has given me the opportunity to subvert people expectations of the area. Growing up in Lewisham has definitely shaped me, it’s motivated me to do more and not just stick to people’s expectations.”
Ope O is a testament to Lewisham’s education system, growing up in New Cross and attending Crofton school in Brockley where his artistic spark was first ignited:
“Well, in primary school I had an interest in art quite early on – specifically painting and drawing – I can remember having a friend do so well and get so much praise in art from teachers and class- mates, I guess seeing that definitely made me want to recreate a sense of success for myself as well as pride in my artistic abilities.
Reaching secondary school my interest developed into digital art and graphic design. When I got to the decision of picking my subjects for college, I always knew graphic design was going to be my number one option and something I wanted to pursue. I went on to select two other courses Media and Photography purely out of curiosity. I later found that photography was the subject I was strongest at and decided to stick with it going into university where I did my first year in art foundation followed by my digital photography degree.”
Ope O graduated from Ravensbourne University in 2013 and has been working as a freelance photographer ever since, using Creative Enterprise zone SHAPESLewisham to showcase his talent. The zone was funded by the Mayor of London’s Borough of Culture programme and if we win the bid we will be able to support even more local artists.