Bade Fuwa – The Surreal Photography of a Grieving Artist

by Rubén Palma
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Bade Fuwa, is a photographer living and working in Lagos, Nigeria. Bade began taking portraits of people after he was paralyzed from an injury. His mother who took care of him during his paralysis till he got better shortly died afterwards. He now uses photography as a way to grieve.

Bade explores concepts of preserving the past within his portraiture, as well as beauty and its connection to his personal stories. Bade is entirely self-taught and relies on his eye and natural instinct when creating. 

Through surreal and fantastical narratives, he delves into the drama and chaos of his life, creating a body of work that reflects both personal catharsis and a deep connection to the intricacies of the natural.

Hi Bade! Thank you for sitting down with me. First question. Growing up, what kind of kid were you? What did you enjoy doing, and how did you spend your time?

I was a curious lad. I did spoil all the electronics we had at home because I always wanted to know what was inside. I loved digging up the soils with a shovel or with my hands. I always had trouble sleeping because I used to have nightmares, but now they have stopped. I enjoy having nightmares now because they make me feel something.

Gotya, so what’s the photography / art scene like in Nigeria? 

Its pretty decent. There are tons of creative people around and the enthusiasm to work is great. Just everyone positive for the best.

I know that your journey in photography started when your mother passed away. Can you tell me about that period in your life? 

It was quite crazy. I remember not feeling anything for anyone after that moment and not being able to smile. I thing over time I used photography as a way to express the pain. I’m grateful for the pain because it made me stronger but I’m not happy for my loss.

Thank you for sharing that Bade. So you’re self taught..- how did you get introduced to photography? What was the early days like? How did you first start out practicing with your camera? And when did your journey start for real?

I was big into doing fashion… I was in university and I always had this eclectic style. After i completed my degree i went to fashion school, and that was when i got paralyzed and lost my mum. During my period in fashion school i made a number of friends who were all photographers: Adeolu Osibodu, Adedolapo Boluwatife and Ariwodola Dolapo. We planned a visit to the Osun Oshogbo festival where i fell in love with capturing the present and remaining in the present moment. Since then, photography has been a way for me to keep sane. 

How do you choose your subjects? And what are your inspiration for the various scenes in your photos?

I just wait. I have learnt in life not to try to force or control anything. I just wait for the concept to come to me as an idea, it all comes together organically.

With that in mind. Your photos often have some deep titles. What’s the story there? And what are you hoping to convey?

I’m just talking about personal things going on in my life in the present or in the past. I feel like I’m trying to document time.

How important is authenticity in your work? And can a picture still be good, if it does’t have any?

I think its all about telling your own personal story. No two people can have the same story.

How do you choose your subjects?

I mostly use friends.

Can you walk me through your creative process. From beginning, to end result? 

Sleep. Have a dream. Or most times an idea randomly. Wake up and write it in my note on my phone. And plan to shoot it. Pretty basic xd

With that in mind, how do you deal with creative blocks? 

I don’t consider myself a creative person and I don’t care to be…  So, I don’t think there’s been a time I’ve had a block.  It gets easy for me knowing I just want to take pictures of things that comes to my mind without questioning them and record how I feel or how I’ve felt.

What makes photography your prefered medium of expressing yourself?

I don’t know, I think it came to me not like I experimented with other styles before choosing it. Even if I was a painter ill still express myself with it the best way possible. I do enjoy photography.

Other than the camera and lens. Are there any essential items that you always bring with you when shooting?

Just my camera and lens are fine. The rest is in my head.

What are your biggest fears? 

Honestly, I’m scared of nothing and I think that’s what scares me.

What motivates and inspires you?

Knowing that I might die anytime and there would be nothing left of me in the world. I’m just trying to leave something behind.

How would you describe a perfect day?

Classical music, money in my account, a good breakfast, someone to cuddle, then sleep all day.

Anybody you look up to?


Who is your favorite photographer(s) and why? 

I do enjoy works of Irving Penn and Peter Newton

What does the future look like for Bade Fuwa?

I’m just trying to enjoy the whole process make new friends and tell new stories.

Alright Bade. I always ask these two questions at the end of an interview. The first is. What’s your favorite movie(s) and why?

Interstellar and eternal sunshine of a spotless mind. I think they both talked about love in a strange way.

The second is. What song(s) are you currently listening to the most right now?

Polo G – Deep wounds

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