Self-taught Gabonese photographer Yannis Davy Guibinga is known for portraits that highlight the diversity of cultures and identities in the African diaspora. His works are often richly hued, with subjects positioned against bright gradient backgrounds or adorned in warm tones.
In his project The Darkest Colour however, Guibinga moves away from his multi-colored photo shoots to focus entirely on the color black and its relationship to darkness, mourning, and death. The series is set in front of a matte black background and features two nude models whose skin has also been painted black. The works seek to unpack the negative aspects of the both the color and its symbolism.
“Black is generally the colour associated with tragedy, death, and mourning, and the act of passing away is considered to be a tragedy in many cultures,” Guibinga told “‘The Darkest Colour’ seeks to redefine association of black and death with tragedy and sadness by representing the act of passing away as more of a relaxing experience.”
Born in 1995, Yannis Davy Guibinga is a self-taught photographer from Libreville, Gabon who currently lives and works in Montréal, Canada. His fine art portraits examine the diversity of the African continent and diaspora.
Over three years of practice, Yannis Guibinga’s work began to concentrate on themes related to Africa. His work is a decolonisation of the portrayal of Africa, challenging stereotypical Western ideas. This focus on representative photography meant he had the opportunity to give a TED talk at the University of Toronto, where he discussed his work as a photographer and the role photography plays in activism.
Guibinga highlights the diversity found on the African continent and challenges the colonial, monolithic representation of the African population and diaspora. His portraits examine African identities through the intersection of gender, sexuality or socio-economic status, which allows him to offer an honest portrayal of the African continent. His works are characterised by their bold primary colour palettes and their futuristic atmosphere, and demonstrate the multiple identities of a modern Africa.
Guibinga has, at a young age, already had numerous solo and group exhibitions internationally. His fine art photography has been exhibited all across the world: in Russia, South Africa, Nigeria, and France to name just a few. He was awarded Photographer of the Year at the Nestlings Awards for young talents from the African continent and diaspora. (Profile photo taken by Benjamin Leblanc)
The 22-year-old photographer is currently a student in professional photography at Marsan College in Montreal. You can see more of his portraits, like his series 2050 which explores the future of fashion from a black woman’s perspective, on his website and Instagram.