J. D. ‘Okhai Ojeikere was a prominent Nigerian photographer, famous for his photographs of women’s hairstyles. “Hairstyles are an art form. . . . All these hairstyles are ephemeral. I want my photographs to be noteworthy traces of them,” said Ojeikere. His striking black and white photographs not only record the many sculptural hairstyles of his native Nigeria, but they are also remarkable for their own intrinsic beauty as photographs. The textures and patterns of the hairstyles stand out against plain backgrounds; there is a simple beauty in these images. Other photographs, such as Coiling Penny Penny include the faces of the women, resulting in moving portraits.
Ojeikere’s photographs are a celebration of his craft as well as of his culture. Even more, they are celebrations of beauty. As he said, “I always wanted to record moments of beauty, moments of knowledge. Art is life. Without art, life would be frozen.” Several of Ojeikere’s works are on permenant display at the MOMA, New York, USA.