Zeitgeist: David Uzochukwu

Fantasy and reality collide in the works of David Uzochukwu, who is entirely self-taught yet already creating projects with the likes of FKA twigs and Pharrell

At 21, David Uzochukwu is entirely self-taught, his passion for image-making starting when he was just 11. “I’d vaguely been into art, collecting small shiny things, and dancing. I started shooting on phones, lomography cameras, and point-and-shoots,” he says. “Aged 13, I took my first self-portraits, and that really tied me to the medium. It felt so personal all of a sudden, like I’d managed to finally grasp a thought I would only sneak around before.”

By beginning his creative journey so early, the photographer accepted that he’d “make a lot of bad work, and produce a lot and share little”, but he soon learned to trust his gut, so much so that by the time he graduated from high school he was comfortable with his photo-graphic process. Others were too, with the photographer landing a couple of magazine commissions from the likes of Wonderland and Hunger during his time in school.

Top: Gleam, 2019, From the series Drown in My Magic; Above: Slab 2019, From the series Drown in My Magic. All images © David Uzochukwu

It seemed likely that Uzochukwu would then attend art school to work on his craft, but something stopped him. “On the one hand I didn’t want to study anything too technical and wanted broader knowledge. On the other hand, I did half-heartedly apply to an art school, but I was too scared to come in for the part that required live drawing, and to a film school, having not made a film yet,” he says. Instead the photographer is currently studying for a BA in philosophy at Humboldt University of Berlin, the more “comfortable choice” for him right now.