Robin Hammond who photographed life in Lagos, Nigeria, for the story “Africa’s First City” that appears in the January 2015 issue of National Geographic magazine, shares a series of his images with Proof. With snapshots of the city, he chronicles this city of contrasts that is fast becoming Africa’s hub of creativity, fashion and business.


Hammond visits Dolphin Estate and writes:

“I went to Dolphin because it looked poor—the type of place where people could only go up. The buildings are ramshackle, there is rarely electricity, water must be delivered by hand, the streets are often flooded. If you were driving by, you would assume that this was a concrete slum. But that would be wrong. A closer investigation reveals more. Multiple satellite dishes hang off every building, men with briefcases and women in skirt suits come and go; the cars parked on the road outside the apartments are all modern and shiny. Come early in the morning and you would see them being cleaned. Stay a little longer and you would see that those cleaning the cars are the drivers employed to chauffeur the cars’ owners.”


Hammond documents the people he gets to speak to and their stories while in search of the middle class in Africa’s most populous city—with an estimated 21 million inhabitants, which also boasts the biggest economy of any city in Africa.

“One of the reasons I decided to make this project about Lagos was that I wanted to make work that challenged our view of the continent. So often, people describe Africa like a single country with a single culture. I’m often asked by well-meaning people to explain the African mentality towards such and such, or what do Africans think about this or that? On a continent with a population nearing a billion, and 54 countries and many, many more cultures, there is no single answer” Hammond says of his project.

View more of his work

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