At a photography conference sponsored by Zenith Bank, tagged theyouthwanttoknow, experts envision new heights for the industry, AKEEM LASISI writes
Two Nigerian photographers, Busayo Okosi and Oritse Emore, recently rallied many photographers and enthusiasts to Terra Kulture, Lagos, where a conference organised by the duo was held. With experts not leaving any stone unturned about the state of the art in Nigeria, it was a day cameras lay low for their owners to appreciate the hard truths that tumbled down from the podium. The event was powered by Zenith Bank, which noted that its involvement was part of its commitment to the development of the creative industry.
On the motive behind the conference, Okosi explained that it was a platform for young photographers from various sectors to share ideas, experiences and also discuss issues faced during the course of their jobs.
Guest speakers – all photographers – included Kelechi Amadi Obi, Emmanuel Oyeleke, Tobinator, Prince Meyson and Yomi Akanni of Yoms Studio.
Among the main issues discussed are the absence of a union bringing Nigerian photographers together and what the stakeholders called the paucity of diversity in outputs. Besides, the conference sought ways to bridge the gap between seasoned photographers and emerging talents. Some believe that the veterans are not carrying the amateurs along.
Akanni noted that photography was still growing in Nigeria. According to him, people are not really appreciative of it. He lamented that there were no standard institutions for the profession in the country, thus limiting the practitioners’ potential.
On why there is no lack of diversity in the Nigeria photography arena, he said, “I don’t want to be biased. But I think that some of us photographers are lazy. We do not want to be trendsetters. Rather, we wait for someone else to start so we can follow. As we can see, it is either wedding photography or portrait, or fashion photography. Other areas such as landscape or wildlife are not exploited much.”
On his part, Oyeleke wants stakeholders to be proactive on the union that may be formed.
“I think that the objective of the union intends to achieve is of paramount importance. If it creates a liaison with the government and it benefits the people, then it’s a welcome idea. But if the union is just there as a figurehead, then there is no need for it,” he noted.
He does not see anything strange in the gap between some photographers and others. According to him, this obtains in other sectors, too. He added, “There will always be people leading and those following. The real thing is the need to be a good follower. Photography is all about art; there will always be a gap, and people more successful than others. There is always a process, you will first learn, then grow.”
Oyeleke, however, advised successful photographers to always give back whenever they are opportune to.
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