As I scroll through the abyss of Instagram feeds, specifically #Oslo, I’m often presented with a flash of angles from the Opera House, glances of street art along Akerselva, and designer-clad Westside folk with blinding white smiles. But occasionally something different pops up that spikes my interest. Recently it was a photo by @bomboclatleigh taken from inside a T-bane tunnel, staring down the track into the darkness. Real name Ousu Leigh, the photographer showed a solid and well-considered consistency of urban photography taken around Oslo, so I decided to get in touch with him. Here’s what he had to say…
Interview by Tom Lenartowicz
Hey man, tell us a bit about yourself…
My name is Ousu Leigh. I am a 17 year old photographer from Oslo, Norway, with parents fom Norway and The Gambia. I was born here and I’ve lived here my whole life. Considering that I’m only 17, I still go to school, but I also work for a Youth organisation called VIBRO during my free time, where I mainly work as a photographer.
What do you mostly take photos of?
I started taking pictures as a hobby about one year ago, and it all started out with me borrowing my mom’s camera and going out to shoot random stuff with some friends. After a while I developed my own style, but I always felt it was very important to be versatile, because if you always shoot the same stuff people might get tired in the end, so I try to never box myself in and always challenge myself to shoot different stuff. Right now I mostly shoot concerts, architechture, street photography, shoots with models and a whole lot of urban photography.
Do you have a particular style or influence?
I grab a lot of influence from bigger photographers that I follow on Instagram and Tumblr because I think that if you want to be the best, you got to learn from the best. Even though I take some influence from other photographers, I always remind myself that originality is a key word in photography, so I try to come up with my own ideas as often as possible.
Explain why you chose these photos. What do you like about them?
I chose these photos because I think they show how I capture Oslo in very different ways. I have some pictures taken under ground and some taken from rooftops, some pictures taken in an urban setting and some pictures of the modern and new buildings here in the city. This is because, as I mentioned, I feel it’s important to be versatile, in this case specifically because you will be able to se the same city, but captured from total different angles and different settings.
Is there a story behind the photos?
The picture with the biggest story behind it is the portrait I did of the old man. One day I was walking around the city with my camera, waiting for a friend. As I was walking I saw this begger sitting on a corner humming to himself and he looked very sad and serious, so I walked up to him and asked if I got take a couple pictures of him. He was cool with it, so I took a couple of pictures of him and turned around to leave. When I was about to walk away I remembered that I had some coins in my pocket, so I thought I could might as well give it to him. I showed him the pictures and gave him the coins. Suddenly that serious look turned it to a big smile! I felt good because that showed how much he appreciated a few coins, some pictures and actually just being noticed.
What do the photos say about you as a person?
I would say that one thing my photos say about me is that I am all over the city and shooting new places all the time. I will definitely continue exploring the city, because I am always hungry for finding new spots to shoot!