Gradwatch 2022: Jeremiah Babatunde, Ravensbourne College

Jeremiah Babatunde graduated from the digital photography course at Ravensbourne University in London, where he learned the ins and outs of producing digital imagery and working in a studio. “When the pandemic came through it was hard at first because I was used to face-to-face learning,” he recalls. Logging into Zoom every day didn’t quite have the same effect, and it could be difficult to concentrate, but he got used to it after a while.

Part-way through the course, Babatunde started to identify what he was most drawn to as a photographer: portraiture. His natural affinity shows in the work. There’s an air of ease and familiarity to his images of people, making space for their personalities to come through, whether that’s strength or vulnerability or cheekiness.

Taking portraits was something Babatunde had to learn through practice. “I developed this confidence by going around London every day and introducing myself as a photographer and what I’m working on,” he says. “Doing this constantly built my confidence.”

At the heart of his process is communication. “I was once told to always ask, it doesn’t matter if they say yes or no,” he says. “Because they might say yes, but the guilt of not asking will be stuck with me.” It’s a moral standard that still evades many street photographers, documentarians and candid portraitists, and stands him in good stead for working in an industry that’s under increased pressure to work in ethical ways.

Since graduating, Babatunde has been busy planning a personal project, which will be called City to City, he tells us. As a lover of travel, he hopes to make the series in different towns and cities around England and ideally publish it one day. Doing so would tick off one of his future ambitions – releasing his own photo book – but for now, he has his sights set on getting a job in the creative industries and continuing to do what he loves most: taking pictures.