The latest content and news from the Barbican. Book tickets at
The latest content and news from the Barbican. Book tickets at

Barbican Meets: Tobi Shinobi

One of our favourite things about Instagram is having the opportunity to see how our visitors see the Barbican and the surrounding area. From the architecture of the high walks and the hidden corners of the foyers to our installations and performances – there are so many angles to the Barbican that can be captured through the lens that help us learn how you see the Barbican.

To celebrate this, we’ve launched an Instagrammer in Residence project to invite emerging Instagrammers from around London to experience life at the Barbican and share their photography on our social channels and also in a digital exhibition throughout the Centre.

Our first Instagrammer in Residence, and helping us judge your submissions, is London based architectural photographer, Tobi Shinobi (@tobishinobi).


How did you first get into photography?

‘About 5 years ago, a friend had suggested that I needed to show more of my creative side and my brother had just bought a camera so I thought why not? I had previously thought of photography as something only the well-off could afford but I dismissed this notion and bought my first camera. Prior to this I had always had a camera phone from the huge Nokia 7650 to the Sony Ericsson T68i, I was fascinated with the idea of having a camera on me whenever and wherever.’

What drew you to Instagram as a platform for your photography?

‘The same friend who suggested I be more creative introduced me to Instagram. I liked having somewhere to be creative and share this with other like-minded individuals as well as being able to get feedback and inspiration. It’s a great place to connect with people see new techniques and places you’ve never been to.’

‘I think our backgrounds tend to shape our view of the world and this can play out in our photography’



How would you describe the style of your photography?

‘I think my style is about perspective. I think our backgrounds tend to shape our view of the world and this can play out in our photography. Geometry and symmetry play a large part in this and architecture is something I really appreciate. Whilst I’m not known for it I like street and portraiture as well as fashion, abstract and fine art photography. I don’t think a person should be limited or labelled as one thing. Shoot what you love and love what you shoot.’

The Barbican’s leading lines and geometry are an architectural playground…

What inspires you about the Barbican and the surrounding area?

‘I’ve travelled all over the world and seen some spectacular places and I can honestly say there’s nothing quite like the Barbican. The brutalist architecture gives it a retro futuristic feel that can’t be seen anywhere else. It’s central location provide a unique backdrop and a juxtaposition of old versus new that photographs really well. Its leading lines and geometry are an architectural playground and there’s a lot to capture.’


As our first Instagrammer in Residence what can people expect from your Barbican Instagram takeover?

‘I’m honoured to be the inaugural Instagrammer in Residence and needed to show this in my work. The estate has been described as a utopian ideal for city dwellers and I wanted to capture that as best I could from my perspective. The fact that the work would be showcased in the Barbican as Europe’s biggest centre of arts and culture, is of massive importance and moreover I wanted those who live in the area to see the beauty in their surroundings. Many people walked past me wondering what I was taking pictures of while I was doing this project, for me I’d love for them to see what I see.’


Do you have any advice for people interested in getting into photography?
‘I’d like to say that if you’re interested in anything, be it photography, music, sport, business or whatever, just do it and don’t be afraid to fail. We all make mistakes on the way. These are all necessary on the path to success. People stay stuck where they are doing things that they don’t like for reasons that they don’t often know. I think it’s key to remember that you can fail at doing something that you don’t like so why not fail doing something that you do like doing instead? Don’t wait until tomorrow to start that project you want to do, tomorrow never comes. You have a duty to yourself to chase your happiness so start now.’


What other projects are you working on at the moment?

‘My friend Ron Timehin and I feature in a short documentary I Take Photos in which we talk about our journey and transition from past careers to where we are now. The shoot was directed by our other friend Ollie Lister of Really Bright Media and has been really well received on the film festival scene having won several awards. It will be available to see by the end of November and we’re excited to share it with everyone.’

Which other Instagrammers do you admire?
‘The list is longer than this but I’ll keep it short:

@juicylucyham for her ability to capture emotion and moments in time so effortlessly. It’s amazing to see her growth as a photographer and I expect big things from her in the future

@maxleitner pushes the boundaries not just in terms of his skill but also his limits and is not afraid to break the rules and it shows in his astounding photography

@leahminium has a consistent quality which I love and is recognisable from a distance. It’s versatile but very her and it’s great to see her range.

@rontimehin can turn his hand to anything and make it work. Nature, Street, portraiture is all taken in his stride. He’s wise beyond his years and it shows in his work.

@crissibeth and I started a trend two years back that helped us get recognition. Her research and knowledge are second to none.

Despite being so young @greatarsenal is the godfather of the London Instagram scene as he was doing this to a high level long before anyone else was. His work and reputation are without question but what makes him special is that he makes time for everyone and is humble despite all his accomplishments.’

Follow us on Instagram @barbicancentre to see more of Tobi’s photography in the coming weeks.

Would you like to be one of our Instagrammers in Residence in 2017? Share your photos of the Barbican on Instagram #barbicanandbeyond.

Full details and T&Cs on:

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