lululemon men: Tobi Shinobi

The East London photographer turns urban environments into balanced works of art

Sponsored by lululemon

Tobi Shonibare, better known by his social media moniker Tobi Shinobi, is obsessed with balance and symmetry. The self-taught architecture photographer’s Instagram account is an inspiring stream of mesmerizing spirals, echoed lines and kaleidoscopic landscapes which draw the viewer in through equal parts awe and appreciation. Shinobi’s knack for capturing the mundane from a fresh perspective stems from his previous profession as a lawyer; he applies the same principles to taking photos as he did any legal matter—make a strong point, pay attention to details and maintain professionalism—but finds his new occupation a much more fulfilling vocation.

“I grew up in East London and worked in law for many years before I decided I wanted to do something more creative,” he says. “I always had the creative urge but never really found time for it. I tried different things hanging around friends in the creative industry, but ultimately it wasn’t enough to satisfy the hunger so I started doing photography.”

Shinobi’s powerful images provide an ideal backdrop for showcasing the new men’s outerwear pieces from Vancouver-based lululemon. The brand’s Einn Shell, Surge Thermo Vest and Stay Puff Parka are the upshot of two parallel design components: a sophisticated aesthetic and full functionality. This shining combination plays wonderfully with Shinobi’s camera mastery and elevated perspective.

“I knew that people already had a certain idea that sprang to mind when they heard the name lululemon,” says Shinobi. “I wanted to do something different, but at the same time, stay true to the clean aesthetic of the clothing.” While the streamlined silhouettes and technical elegance of each piece inspired Shinobi’s creative thinking, what resonated most with the influential photographer came from an Oliver Wendell Holmes quote he found emblazoned on each piece: “Man’s mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions.”

Shinobi says every time he shoots he pushes himself to find a new viewpoint and must remain flexible since outdoor scenes are often beyond his control. “Given the nature of my style of photography, you need to be ready to deal with change at any moment. We had three locations that I originally intended to shoot at fall through at the last minute, but after some thought I remembered a location which I had yet to use but would work well—not just with the colors but the design of the apparel. Fortunately the weather was perfect and it wasn’t too busy, so we were blessed with amazing light perfect for the look I wanted.”

Images by Tobi Shonibare