For Nigerian photographer Ima Mfon, heritage is about pride -- and unity. His series "Nigerian Identity" is a celebration of those who share that bond with him.
The subjects came from all lines of work -- accountants, consultants, even a custom stationery designer. George, seen here, is a student getting his master's in urban planning.
Mfon told all of his subjects to look into the camera as if they were looking at a person, creating a connection with the viewer. Mfon told CNN that he is currently trying to expand the project to include people both older and younger than his own generation.
Anthony is a financial analyst. He is pictured wearing a traditional Nigerian cap.
Many of the subjects said their Nigerian identity stems from their families, upbringing or names.
Mfon explained that his rich culture isn't apparent to most people passing him on the street. "Regardless of my unique heritage, I am reduced to being just black," he says.
Miriam is a filmmaker and director based in New York City.
Niji, a fashion designer, is photographed one of the scarves he created based on traditional Nigerian methods and patterns.
Mfon said he chose Ese as a subject because she also understands the frustration behind Nigerian identity, and how hard it is to assert one's own values.
Donald is a musician in New York City. Mfon explained that Donald's earring and tattoo would be frowned upon in traditional Nigerian culture, but they do not make him any more or less Nigerian.
For now, his series features mostly young people from New York and a few from Texas. He hopes to travel to other countries to find larger populations of Nigerians to include in his work.
Folayan is a friend who has felt frustration living as a black man in America. "A lot of times black people are not necessarily portrayed in the best light in the media," Mfon says, "I wanted to create pictures that had a sense of pride and elegance to them."