“Afro-Surrealism presupposes that beyond this visible world, there is an invisible world striving to manifest, and it is our job to uncover it.” This is what D. Scot Miller wrote in his famous 2009 Afro-surreal Manifesto.
And manifesting, as seen with Daniel Kons, it truly is.
You’re probably wondering why the photo above looks familiar and yet quirky. The twisted braided knots. The ‘futuristic’ eye-shadow. Heck, even white nail polish coupled with the tie and dyed shirt.
Well, it’s probably familiar because it’s a Daniel Kons photo of Ghanaian Afropop sweetheart Gyakie. But that itch on your brain? That avant-garde edge the photograph is giving? That’s Afro-surrealism.
Afro-surrealism entreats audiences to consider the past, the present and the probable future of the contemporary Black experience via a wide variety of art forms. From highlighting the absurdity of Black/White racial culture with satirical interpretations as seen in Jordan Peele’s Get Out to photographs of Black esthetics towing the line of ‘Not-is but What-could be’, Afro-surrealism is a subtle movement that’s taking over the world. The silver screen to music videos, paintings to fashion, and sculpture art to photography, no Black art form is taboo.
And one photographer giving us a taste of this artistic ambiguity in fashion is Nigerian-photographer and visual artist Daniel Kons. He’s worked with high-rolling celebrities such as Gyakie and B4Bonah and platforms such as Lagos Fashion Week, Style Temple, Studio 189 and DSTNGR.
One can see that through Daniel Kon’s photography that he has a fascination with highlighting the extraordinary in the seemingly mundane aspects of the African contemporary experience. Capturing day-to-day activities, his lens hyperboles on the overlooked strangeness of relatable characters. Innocent boyhood portraits, feminine individuality and African Heritage then-and-now, are some of the themes Daniel Kons’s evokes with his art. Especially more so with his fashion photography.
A wanderlust (as evident in his other landscape photo works), Daniel Kons’s colour scheming is a swash of Golden Hour lighting. Dawn and dusk and the shadows they cast are some of the elements his photos portray. That’s just the nature-lover in him finding expression in his art.
We centred in on Daniel Kons’ fashion photographs and couldn’t help but be inspired. Each fashion photo, albeit relatable, still carries the bizarre question of why? Why is this here? Why are the doing this? But never the question of, What are they doing? Using everyday activities to evoke such incohesive wonder is a deliberate and organic compliment of Daniel Kons photography.
Scroll down below to be inspired, as we are, by Daniel Kons’ Afrosurreal fashion photography.