Lagos Calling: Nigerian punk fashion fantasy photoset

"An anthropological study of African skinhead fashion from the early seventies." Images by photographer Clayton James Cubitt. Link to gallery.

Related: Photographer Pieter Hugo has updated his "Nigerian badasses series" -- Cubitt's term of endearment for Hugo's work. Link to Hugo's updated series. Cubitt gave Hugo credit in the magazine spread where "Lagos Calling" appeared, along with Nick Knight (who has done some amazing portraits of skinheads) and Malick Sidibe (Malian photographer, amazing portraits in general).


  1. ugh. I really hate seeing stuff (even cool grainy ’70s retrospective photography) that glamorizes dog fighting. I guess I’m sensitive on that stuff since it’s such a problem today. But.. ew.

  2. Perhaps you could explain how dog fighting is ‘badass’, ‘endearing’ or worth promoting at all in either the real or fantasy worlds?

  3. maybe i’m missing something, but where in any of the linked pictures is dog fighting galmorized (or even referenced)?

  4. In the collection of 18 pictures, that is the only one that contains a dog. I’m not qualified to comment on whether it pertains to dog fighting, but that is certainly not the theme of the set.

  5. The Nigerian Badass series concerns traveling performers, who depend on their animals for their livelihood. I’m not sure where you guys got the dogfighting thing, but it certainly wasn’t from the article accompanying the pictures.

  6. Well, for starters he has the dog attached to a stick (not a leash) that dog fighting handlers actually use to distance themselves from the dogs. Dog catchers also use these…so maybe he’s a dog catcher, though I’m kinda doubting it.

    And that’s a pit bull mix, which sadly are used as the preferred breed for dog fighting, but hey maybe it’s not about dog fighting. Maybe this chap is just out walking his dog (who doesn’t look that happy) while wearing punk fashions. And I’m just being a killjoy. But if my first reaction is that this was about dogfighting, I guess that’s kinda sad.

  7. The pictures in the Badass series don’t have any dogs in them either (although the article mentions that the troupe uses dogs for hunting).

  8. okay I’ll shut up now. Sorry for creating a mini-debate — is it the first one since the new comments went up? I guess as a dog owner every time I see a dog who looks kinda sad I instantly think fighting or abuse. Which in itself is pretty lame of me….

  9. First item on the front page 404’s, and the feed looking at it with Bloglines has videos attached at the end. WTF?

  10. Awesome pics. But is there some sort of article that goes with this? I’m so confused… and tired.


  11. Wait, is this actually an anthropological study from the 70’s?
    Or is it a styled photoshoot from the 2000’s?

  12. i don’t quite understand what “lagos calling” is. what’s the context? it seems like a fashion spread for a magazine. what does “fantasy” mean? are those “actual” people wearing their own clothes or are they models/actors portraying something?

    aside from that, the pieter hugo photos/”the hyena men” are very interesting

  13. Pieter’s photographs are phenomenal From what he told me, they’re not just travelling performers, they’re also money lenders / debt collectors. Hard to argue that you just need a little more time when there’s a slavering hyena on a chain in your house. Pieter’s also taken phenomenal photos of albinos, Ghanaian honey collectors (in homemade bee suits made of bark and leaves), Botswana’s high court judges including Unity Dow, (a story I was privileged to work with him on as part of his series on uniforms) and Rwanda ten years after the genocide. He’s one of South Africa’s hottest photographers. More amazing images at

  14. “okay I’ll shut up now.”


    “Sorry for creating a mini-debate — is it the first one since the new comments went up?”


    “I guess as a dog owner every time I see a dog who looks kinda sad I instantly think fighting or abuse. Which in itself is pretty lame of me….”


  15. Man, that one girl with the Chelsea, Fred Perry jacket and the beaded collar is so cute. I love skinheads and mods. They’re the snappiest dressers of all subcultures.

  16. “And that’s a pit bull mix, which sadly are used as the preferred breed for dog fighting”

    Well, in that picture, it looks more like a stocky whippet. It certainly appears to have little or no pitbull in it.

  17. Wow. OK. This is not an homage to dogfighting, it’s a reimagination of what would have existed if punk and ska and skinhead culture were born in Nigeria. IT’S A FASHION SHOOT. Not an actual documentary of 1970s punk scene in West Africa.

    It’s possible to explore visual ideas in this medium without advocating them. Hence the dog reference. He’s telling a story in images, not promoting dogfighting.

    I figured more folks would be upset by the racial implications of a fantasy photoset featuring skinheads in Lagos, but — yeah, this is not a pro-dogfighting photoset. Clayton is a dear pal of mine, he’s not into animal cruelty, and I just love his work, and I think this set is freakin fantastic.

    Also, did anyone else see Fela and Black Flag play that double-bill in Accra back in 1982? Fuckin’ awesome, and the King Sunny Ade / Dead Kennedys tour of Benin that followed was sold out.

  18. #14 “i don’t quite understand what “lagos calling” is”

    Well, in the literal sense, “Lagos Calling” is a sideways reference to the Clash, the album “London Calling.”

    In the generalized sense, I too was totally confused as to the documentary conceit being played. I was actually looking forward to checking out some cool old tyme photos of some niched scene: “skinhead” also refers to the legions of reggae bootboys and ska skins that had there own scenes, not just the pseudo-nazi muttonheads.

  19. WizardofMars, how do you promote a dogfight that happened a quarter-century ago?

  20. Umm, the Nigerian kid says why does everything relating to Africa have to be “Anthropological”?? Good ‘ol retro (or something) would do the trick. *sigh*

    I will now retreat to my village on the other side of the Jungle where my tribe is while you go to your town on the other side of the woods where your community is.

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