Brad Ogbonna, Photographer


Brad Ogbonna: I remember buying my first NYLON Magazine at the Walgreens in River Falls, Wisconsin in 2007 — my sophomore year of college. River Falls was a fun little college town nestled in a rural area outside of the Twin Cities. I really liked it there, but at the same time I felt so detached from my surroundings and had my eyes set on things happening in bigger cities like NYC, London, Los Angeles, etc...Especially the pockets of counter-culture starting to emerge. 

In my free time I would check out blogs from people in bigger cities as an escape and for inspiration. There was this great one I particularly enjoyed called "The Skullset" by this photographer Jack Siegel. I was always drawn to the tangible, so every month I would run to Walgreens to peruse their magazine aisle, and flip through everything they had to offer. I remember coming across a magazine called NYLON that I hadn't noticed before. The artwork on the cover stood out and felt so much different than the magazines next to it like Elle, Glamour, Vogue, GQ, and I even recognized Cory Kennedy on the cover from the Skullset blog. I was so excited that I immediately spent $5 on it, which may not seem like a significant amount, but at the time I was so broke I was literally splitting $5 footlongs with my roommate. 

The articles were generally geared to young women, but I was really drawn to the aesthetic and the imagery. The photos looked like the ones I'd seen on my favorite blogs and they covered a lot of unique people from cities all around the world. I don't remember who shot the cover, but I still have this copy and almost each one thereafter up until 2009, stored at my mom's house in Minnesota. 

I feel like my own work isn't that much different than a lot of the stuff I loved back then. Similar aesthetic but hopefully with my own twist. I try to focus more on the people that shape my world and what it looks like today.