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Nigerian Photographer Cleverly Inserts Himself Into ‘The Godfather’ Movie Stills

Uche_Okpa-Iroha_Photography

© Uche Okpa-Iroha. Courtesy Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten, Amsterdam

Uche_Okpa-Iroha_Photography

© Uche Okpa-Iroha. Courtesy Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten, Amsterdam

For a project called The Plantation Boy, Lagos, Nigeria-based Uche Okpa-Iroha painstakingly placed himself as a “humorous intrusion” into 40 movie stills from the The Godfather. With this project, Okpa-Iroha brings to light the lack of representation of certain races or cultures, in this case African, and though the message behind the project is serious, the result is also clever and witty. Okpa-Iroha says, “In order to question this, I decided to intrude into this space using simulation as a form of representation by proxy.”

Okpa-Iroha chose The Godfather because it “…addresses some issues in society that border around marginal groups, especially in American society of the 1940s,” and provided an opportunity to both reenact and deconstruct. He painstakingly styled every last detail—period-appropriate costuming, lighting, facial expressions—and estimates 70% of the work was done in the studio, with post-production to insert himself into the frames accounting for the remaining 30%.

His efforts are effective in that, at first glance it is apparent that something is different, but he looks so much a part of the actual film that there is a momentary mind-trickery at play. Because the look is seamless, it is easy to accept his presence in the frame, and yet his presence is hugely subversive. Okpa-Iroha plans on doing a similar project with The Godfather parts two and three, as well as a project with Amistad.

Uche_Okpa-Iroha_Photography

© Uche Okpa-Iroha. Courtesy Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten, Amsterdam

Uche_Okpa-Iroha_Photography

© Uche Okpa-Iroha. Courtesy Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten, Amsterdam

Uche_Okpa-Iroha_Photography

© Uche Okpa-Iroha. Courtesy Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten, Amsterdam

Uche_Okpa-Iroha_Photography

© Uche Okpa-Iroha. Courtesy Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten, Amsterdam

Uche_Okpa-Iroha_Photography

© Uche Okpa-Iroha. Courtesy Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten, Amsterdam

Uche_Okpa-Iroha_Photography

© Uche Okpa-Iroha. Courtesy Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten, Amsterdam

Uche_Okpa-Iroha_Photography

© Uche Okpa-Iroha. Courtesy Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten, Amsterdam

Uche_Okpa-Iroha_Photography

© Uche Okpa-Iroha. Courtesy Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten, Amsterdam