'The Standard' is a project that encompasses many of the overarching topics of my work particularly the Black gaze and my journey as a Black photographer shifting away from the Eurocentric beauty standards that I grew up with. Growing up in Minnesota, I will never forget being made fun of for my prominent nose, full lips and brown skin. At ten, I moved away from the heavy white media of the United States to the nation with the largest concentration of black people on the planet, Nigeria. Yet even though I moved halfway across the world I still could not escape the influence of the Eurocentric beauty standard. I remember in middle school having my parents and teachers arm twist me into using bleaching creams to get lighter, and almost burning my skin in the process. All because I began to believe what my friends at school, teachers and parents were saying. These experiences and many more inspired me to shift the narrative around Black features, that is why it is a central theme in my work to hone in on showing the beauty, regality, and poise of Black people. With this project, I want to show that there is also a space for us in High Fashion as well.

The Standard by Mark Khan
The Standard by Mark Khan

About the Artist

Mark Odumuyiwa also known as Mark Khan is a Nigerian-American portrait photographer and creative director. His work focuses on telling stories that interrogate ideas and introduce new narratives around the Black gaze, masculinity, the African diaspora, family, and race informed by his Nigerian/American background.


Outside of his more conceptual and storytelling pieces, he produces fashion photography where he seeks to showcase new standards of beauty through shooting with more non-traditional faces. In 2019, he started a clothing brand; Universal Rejects as another means of creative expression for stories of the African diaspora, which are dear to him to be told through clothing.


Creative Credits

Photographer: Mark “Mark Khan” Odumuyiwa / @iam_markkhan
Stylist: Sololiya Baisa / @sololiya_
Makeup by: Abigail Asarie / @abigailasarie
Movement Director: Taoheed Bayo / @tbuzzgram
Assist by: Justin Oforiatta / @justinoforiatta and Margaret Odumuyiwa / @xxmiss_magzxx


join our Family List!

Preview our visual story drops on ITA and get the inside scoop on the happenings within the OSENGWA Creative Collective.

You’ll also receive a discount code for your next purchase on OSENGWA. A little thank you for coming on this journey with us.