Welcome to Light by Photographers.NG a multimedia interview series with established and upcoming photographers in Nigeria.Our goal is to get photographers in Nigeria to talk about their arts and share insightful tips with the community & put them in the spotlight. E :firstname.lastname@example.org
- Can you tell us about your background and how you got into photography?
Ayo: I am the first child in my family and my only sibling (brother) was born when I was 13 years old. I was raised mainly in Abesan Estate at Ipaja, Lagos and my experience there later made me who I am. I made friends with the rich and poor and it made me see more about life. I’m from an average family and we lived a comfortable life. I attended very good schools like Doregos, Christ The King International School and Babcock University.
My grandfather was then the President of the Association of Photographer’s Lagos Chapter before his death in 1996. So my dad had a photo colour printing lab after his death. And the manager of the lab usually bought me small film cameras like Kodak and Agfa, which I used it to document my trips and events I attended; Then I’d give the film to my dad’s photo color lab manager to help me print it.
It all came to my consciousness when I bought my Nokia N8 phone in 2010 and I started creating images with it and posting to my Flickr stream (Flickr is a photo site owned by Yahoo). My western followers saw it and loved the way I composed my shots and encouraged me. Also my friend, Bayo Lawson also called Blawz encouraged me. Blawz as at that time just started his journey into photography. He is a wedding photographer and Videographer now. I kept on posting photographs with my Nokia phone and somehow Nokia noticed my work because I always tagged it with #NokiaN8 on twitter and Facebook.
One day, they did a blog post on one of my portraits with the phone. Nokia N8 as a device broke my boundaries in mobile photography and it raised the bar. At the end of the day, it isn’t just the camera but the person behind the lens that matters more. From then on I got my DSLR and the rest is history!
- Who are some of you favorite photographers past or present?
Ayo: Past: Kelechi Amadi-Obi, Obi Somto, Platon, Jeremy Cowart | Present : Joey Lawrence, Annie Leibovitz, Peter Hurley
- How did you light the picture?
Ayo: I most times use one or two lights. The key light I use are mostly from a Octabox or a parabolic Umbrella and the Fill light is a softbox.
- You seem to have the ability to make the subject relax and reveal a candid side to them through your photography. Do you have any tips to achieve this?
Ayo: Know the subject, interact with them. Never forget to make them laugh also!!!
- Your view about the photographic industry in Nigeria? Trends to watch out for?
Ayo: The industry is expanding rapidly especially the wedding and events genre which is the most sought after genre by Nigerians. New barriers are been broken. Personally, I’m watching out for a regulation in our industry
- Is there something you can’t do without in your shots?
Ayo: Fill Light
- What was your first camera?
Ayo: Nikon D5100
- Your view on national & international assignments for our local Photographers?
Ayo: Well I’d say just about 10% of the photographers in Nigerian can take up commercial assignments and deliver the same quality with those on the international scene.
- What is the state of our photographic industry in Nigeria?
Ayo: Well the industry is growing rapidly, you know it is a time you say “What a Time To Be Alive” Also generally Photography and Photographers are been respected and this has really added value!
- What do you currently have in your bag?
Ayo: Nikon D5100 and a Nikkor 50mm
- We noticed you built a camera strap for photographers and also make backgrounds for photographers? What inspired that and how is the demand for your products like?
Ayo: There was a need for the straps and backdrops and I wanted to fill that void. Also the economic situation was also a trigger for it. Many photographers couldn’t afford the imported variants and so I decided to produce them locally at a cheaper price. They have both been well received!
- Any tips for amateur & semi professional photographers considering photography as a career path?
Ayo: Well if they want to make it a career they should learn and study the business of photography first of all!
Thank you Ayo!