Kojo Dwimoh does his ting differently, you can ask the man himself, he's not joking. Looking at his work, it's clear he's definitely not playing around, the photographer's unique editing style of piecing different pictures together create striking collages that catch your attention from the first moment you see them. Kojo's a badman, the streets certify this.
Pure is dead? Read below and find out.
First and most important question, why are you a fucking badman?
*Oh he bad BAD!*
“It’s not even like that. I’m just trying to do it differently, it’s not complicated. It’s crazy, I need to tell people to stop calling me that.”
But your way of editing is different, the way the edits look so crisp and clean, different scenes put together and it just works, it’s so sick.
“I’m just trying to portray whatever I’m capturing. I’m lucky to have come across this edit style, being able to manipulate my pictures this way and when it comes to grime, it works fluidly with it.”
What’s been your favourite campaign that you’ve been involved with?
“Lemme think...probably Novelist init, designing the cover for his ‘Inferno’ EP. That night which was a Rinse FM event where the photos were taken I think are my favourite photos. I was with him throughout the whole day capturing the vibes, yeah that’s what I’d said was my favourite campaign.”
So how did you and Novelist link up then?
“I’m friends with his younger brother but while he’d seen my face a lot of times at events and bumping into him on the streets, he knew I was his brother’s friend but he didn’t know I was a photographer. Rinse FM had an event in August last year and Nov was there performing, then at the end of it, I took a pic of him. I didn’t do the edit until like two months later, I posted it on my Instagram then he asked to DM the edit to him...wait lemme track back, we’re tracking back now. Three or four years ago, I created some work with him in it for my Art GCSE final piece, posted it and then he hit me up saying we were going to work together in the future but there was a time after that where we didn’t talk but from when he asked for the edit last year, we’ve been close. It’s weird, I went from a fan to his friend, yeah it’s a weird one but it’s sick that it’s come to that.”
To do the come up, you have to go through that faze of being a fan before you get to know the artists. Then you can see what if you click or not and then the works can happen.
“Literally, literally that.”
Why do you think music and photography go together so well?
“I feel like you need something to capture the moment, videography captures it well but it only tells so much of the story, it can’t capture every angle but with photos, you can let the viewer use their imagination to create their own narrative.”
Who inspires you now in 2020 and who inspired you when you were first starting out?
“I think I’ve had the same inspiration from the start. The first person I saw do my collage style was Jack Donlon, he used to work with A-COLD-WALL. He used to do a very similar collage style capturing London's youth, he was killing it but then he stopped doing them, but I still wanted to see that style so I did one piece, gave him all the credit saying that he inspired it and then he was like “yeah this is sick!” and from there, I decided to continue what he did.
In doing that, I found my own style. Mine is all about hidden secrets. Within each collage, there’s always something there you wouldn’t see unless you looked twice. I try to add hidden aspects where you don’t see them straight away. I’m always trying to reinvent to make them different from the last one.”
How do you deal with adversity when the editing isn’t going to plan?
“You mean like a creative block?”
Yeah, you could say that.
“I get creative blocks all of the time, some weeks I’ll be uploading every other day but then when I look back at those uploads, I think they’re not my best uploads. I’ll want to archive them but I never do. The creative blocks come when I don’t feel an attachment to my pictures, I shot at Lockoff & Logan Sama’s Xmas event last year but I wasn’t really vibing with the pictures at first, I’ve had them developed for a while but recently, I looked at them again and thought they were cold and as soon as I felt that like they were cold, I was mashing the works non-stop, going back and forth with the edits. These edits made my laptop crash three times doing them.”
BLOOODDDCLAAARRRTTT! The steeze! The laptop couldn’t handle the steeze!
“It’s like I recreated them but better the next time.”
Man’s having to tell the laptop to hold it down!
*hold it down!*
“Literally! Plus on top of that, I had to think which artists I was giving a full frame for and that’s when the creative block comes. When that happens, I don’t look for which artists to pick, I go by the energy of the pictures, how it translates what I’m trying to communicate. So if it’s grime, I want you to hear the reload just by looking at them. Seeing past what’s stopping me is how I get over the creative block.”
What are the compositions you go for not just for a single edit but for a group of them together, it must be like a jigsaw puzzle piecing everything together?
“My thought process varies from edit to edit. But generally the main subject should be the first image. With my Logan Sama edits, he’s my main subject so he’s in the first picture. For example I was shooting at The Den (Frisco’s night) and although I had shots of goats such as Skepta and JME etc, SBK although being the youngest MC shelled it down the most that night, so I put him at the forefront of the edit.
Say I have ten slides for each Instagram frame which means that’s ten individual edits, I have to think about the visual time journey of how the event goes down. I want the viewer to always be captivated by what is going on, if they see one edit and think it’s boring, they’ll want to go to the next one because they think it’ll be harder. My timeline will be the main subject first and then the coldest pictures but then the coldest pictures don’t always mean they’re going to be the best edits, sometimes it doesn’t work like that.”
You just have to treat every situation/event/picture for what it is, don’t try to copy the process for one thing for another.
“Yeah, that’s spot on.”
How would you describe your style, if you can do that?
“What’s my style?...take a second look. My style is underground, put it like that, it’s London. Apart from when I sway off into afrobeats and more experimental artists, my style really is just capturing youth life in London, capturing shelly MCs. How could I describe my style?..."
...do you think you have a style?
“Yeah, do I have a style? I know the style I like...my style is natural, I don’t tell people to pose, it’s organic. I need to start preparing for when I start answering questions next haha, what is my style, I haven’t asked myself that before.”
Do you shoot in different ways depending on what genre of music you’re around, is there a certain energy you get from grime that you don’t get from afrobeats for example?
“Yeah sure, 100%. When you see grime photos, you’re seeing gunfingers. The only way I can take a picture and it pops is at a grime rave, when I went to a Headie One show for NME Magazine, there was no energy in the pictures I took. The crowd was going crazy but it’s just another mosh pit, there’s no story to the actual images. What I have a passion for is what I’ll shoot for."
So genre doesn’t matter, as long as there’s something there you connect to.
What are your future plans for this year?
“There’s big works on the table as of now, my main plan is to work with paq, a creative agency based in South London, they saw my work on Insta and hit me up, I’ve been working with them a lot just on creative stuff such as with the Trim-It app on their creative outlet. We're also working on a new music platform called rap.in.paper which merges the art form of print design and music. People have compared it to Colors but I think this is our London version, it’s going to be better, it resonates more with artists because we’ve put more effort in behind the scenes styling-wise, design-wise, photography-wise and all round production wise if I'm being honest. For now, this is the biggest thing I’m working on.”
Last question, why are you a fucking badman?
“Haha, I’m not bad at all!”
Why are you so greezy with it?
“I’m not in this to be a clout chaser. I see a lot of photographers who don't seem to have much passion for their craft, they can't look at a picture they've taken and analyse the composition etc, but rather care more about who is in the picture. If you don't want to make history and enhance your creative ability as a photographer or even stand out from the rest, I believe acquiring so called greeze is near impossible. I bumped into Hyperfrank one time at Wireless Festival and from there, she showed me love, telling me how I can get to the top, all she really said was do something different, do something to be remembered for.”
Follow Kojo on Instagram (@kwimoh).