It was the year 2012 and I had gone to the French Institute to summit my entry for the photo contest and i remember what the French lady said when she looked at my picture. She described it as ‘honest’. My entry went on to win the best picture which automatically catapulted me to the status of award winning photographer. I never knew in this life that I’ll end up a photographer and long before i even ventured into photography, there were three Nigerian photographers i admired their works. They were Aisha Kuta, Atumbi and Kelechi Amadi Obi. They remain my earliest photography influences.
I’ve never really seen me as an artistic person, rather i see me as a creative individual who is constantly drawn to art. I’ve always admired and respected anybody in the creative world, be it singer, guitarist, painter or photographer. Because am constantly drawn to art, I often wondered how i was going to find myself in the creative world, while having at the back of my mind that i don’t possess the skill for art. Looking back now i wonder who put that idea in my head. But all that changed on my journey to self discovery in Easter 2010. While in that public transport heading to the eastern part of Nigeria, the inspiration to go into media and photography came to me.
On my return to Abuja less than a week later, i began my search for a media house to work for. I eventually found a weekly newspaper around late May 2010. I was engaged as an entertainment correspondent without pay. Reason was because they originally didn’t have plans for entertainment section in their news paper. It was supposed to be strictly political and human interest news paper. On the last week of August 2010 I was able to raise the capital i needed to buy my first camera. I starting shooting first week of September 2010 without any sort of training or mentorship. But that’s a story for another day.
Over the years my style of photography has evolved without me knowing. I honestly didn’t know my photography had a style. From the angles, to the composition to editing some people could tell it was my work and i didn’t even know. A number of my close associates told me they could recognize my work even without seeing the water mark on it. My friend Iyke Ibeh one day took his time to explain to me things about my works i didn’t even take notice of.
The beauty of any piece of art is that it could mean different things to different people at different times. Others may have their interpretation or view of my work but I’ll interpret my works as clean, natural, honest, simple, creative, playful, classic, timeless and most especially candid. I strongly believe as creatives, our work should be a reflection or an extension of us.
Muse : Titi of Zahara Models Manager
By Ejike Manny