PHOTO TALE 2.0 – The chronicle of photographers using their photos to tell stories of the beautiful and crazy realities in today’s society
For months now, I have been slave to facts and research. Working on a documentary on the history of the Nigerian music industry, I needed content that helps me understand all the realities the industry has been through. I had sourced for several materials but still, I felt empty. I was craving for something extra; that I finally got when I came across this certain picture. All of a sudden, everything I had read and heard during my interviews with several industry puppet masters just made more sense.
As I was looking at the picture of Bobby Hotel, once located on Ikorodu road, Lagos, owned by Bobby Benson (the one they called the father of Nigerian music; the cardinal figure in the development of highlife music in Nigeria, the catalyst of modern day Nigerian music) everything suddenly came alive. This hotel once housed the Caban Bamboo Night Club; this was where what we could ascribe as Nigerian music was birthed. The more I looked at the photo, the more it looked like I was having a personal communion with the image.
This photo took me back in time. The memories of how the pioneering figures of the Nigerian jazz and highlife era once played at this place came flying all around me. Now you will pass through where this hotel was once located but you will feel nothing because someone had pulled down the building. All that is left for history of this hotel is through photos like this.
Depending on how and where you are looking from, the world keeps changing swiftly and all we are left with to guide and inspire us are the beautiful and crazy memories captured in various forms like photography. Some of those moments captured once formed the foundation or catalyst of whom we are and where we were or are as a nation. These memories will also give us a better interpretation of where we go next generally in the future.
Over the years, photographers through their various images have helped us to keep account of the realism in our history and they continue to do so in the present day. Like never before, we live in a world where images are paramount. Perceptions are now shaped with pictorial representation. Welcome to a world where everyone is molding their narratives with his or her images every split second on social media, including those craving for validation.
For better brand placement and representation, the need for professional photography has gone through the roof. This occupation that was once never perceived as reputable has produced several experts but has also welcomed bandwagons. Some joined in for the fame and cash, while others are using their craft to make art by using their photos to illustrate societal issues, capture the beauty of the environment and the people that live in it. Beyond the money and fame, these few are positively influencing the world. When the chips are down, these few are the ones that have helped us separate the men from the boys that fail to keep up with the standard and creativity that should be associated with the photography industry.
At Mystreetz magazine, we have dedicated one edition exclusively each year in review to support the photography industry by doing a cover editorial on the art of photography and some of the best photographers using their photos to tell intriguing stories. The first edition was epic. More like a photo-book; it spotlighted some of the greatest photography works and the minds behind them. We are back with Photo Tale 2.0, the chronicle of photographers using their photos to tell stories of the beautiful and crazy realities in today’s society. Some of the photographers here are among those who we classified as not just shooting photos but making art and addressing some social issue. They go beyond their comfort zones to capture the beautiful images and moments in the nooks and crannies of the country.
He’s one of the few in the industry that is constantly creating images that are breathtaking and deep in terms of interpretation. So unassuming, he’s in a league of his own. I have not seen him for close to two years but his work constantly connects us. He just has a way for generating photos that speaks volumes, one of the reasons one of his images made it to the cover of the first edition and ironically, this year’s edition as well.
Born in Abia state, Nigeria, Aham Ibeleme began his career as a professional photographer in Lagos, Nigeria. Upon his return to Nigeria after bagging an MSc degree from the University of Greenwich, UK, Aham bought his first camera and settled into becoming a freelance amateur photographer. In 2012, Aham decided to take his career professionally and focus on portrait, beauty and fashion photography. Since his move to Lagos, he has worked with all the numero-uno in the entertainment industry and also big players in the corporate world.
Sunmisola is one of the photographers in the country you never see coming when it comes to his works. His images are subtle but classic. I will describe him as the Burna Boy of the photography industry; he does what he likes and it always comes out right. Born in Ile-Ife, Osun state in Nigeria, Sunmisola’s love for photography developed at an early age as he observed his father’s love for portrait photography. This love inevitably evolved into a burning passion and crystallized into a blooming career in photography.
Sunmisola Olorunnisola’s photography embodies and portrays class, style, passion, and art. Capturing the imagination of all lovers of beauty, his works are artistic expressions of his subjects at their elegant best. Subjects with otherwise sordid themes are rendered with artistic charm and grace.
Although based in Calabar, his jobs are a reflection of the realities we live in in the entire world. If a photographer’s works can be put together as a photo soap opera, his will be chosen without any contest. As an experienced Nigerian graphics designer and photographer, Idorenyin Ekpa started his journey in the industry when he got his first camera. From that moment onward, he has traveled through life making images of all the experiences and beauty he has met along the way.
He started photography in his University days but only took it as a career in 2014 when he established Weeshotit. Since then he has published well over 700 photos. The best part of looking through his work is that you find random picture genres and not a particular kind, which speaks much about his versatility.
He started as a pencil artist before taking it digital as a computer graphic artist and now a photo artist. He wants every picture he takes to tell a story just like artworks do. He got his international status in 2015 on his first world tour and just concluded a second to the USA, Middle East and major cities in Nigeria. He has collaborated with international photographers and bloggers within and outside the country. Last year he successfully organized the Calabar Photography and Art Calabash in collaboration with the British Council in Cross River. His work also saw him appointed as a UNDP Global Goals Champion for No Poverty. Idy is a graduate of the University of Calabar and heads one of the biggest studios in Calabar, the Weeshotit Studios, recently opened in the heart of the city.
IG: weeshotit Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
If photography will help us tell the story of all that is going on in the country, then it will have to travel far and wide the remotest parts of the northern and earthen regions of Nigeria to bring back images that give us the slightest idea of where we are as a country. The works of this lad is one that has some of those covered. From the backdrop in the studio to market places and road paths, his images speak volumes.
“My name is Yitschaq Abia and I am a photographer with bias for art and the African culture. I have always been a lover of art and I saw photography as a means of expressing it. I started photography in 2012 and it has been a super exciting experience. My interest lies in storytelling, I believe I can inspire, motivate and evoke change with my style of photography. I believe photography can be used as a tool to tell stories that drive action for social change. I also strongly believe in the saying, ‘If photography doesn’t change the world, it can change the consciousness of men and women who will then change the world.’”
He epitomizes everything great the Nigerian art and entertainment industry has achieved in the past decades from the photography and the music industry circle. If anyone deserves a hall of fame award for their sheer contribution to the Nigerian music industry, few can match his record. I was blown away recently when I came across the 1992 photo he shot for Daniel Wilson & Lemi Ghariokwu for the release of the hit single ‘Omo Lakeji.’ If you take away the contribution of all his projects that includes the musical show ‘Music Africa’ from the Nigerian music industry, you will understand how empty the history of this modern day industry will be.
Hardly will you encounter an enigma like Philip Trimnell; MD/CEO of the Philip Trimnell Consortium. For over two decades, Mr. Philip Trimnell, an adequate blend of artistry and modesty, continues to reinvent himself, maintaining his reputation as a dominant force in photography and television production. An old boy of the prestigious Loyola College, Ibadan and St. St. Gregory’s College, Lagos, he advanced his educational career by earning a Ba in arts in University of Ibadan, before enrolling for a Master program in film and television from Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles, USA. At a time when most Nigerians were seeking for greener pastures abroad, Philip moved back to Lagos, Nigeria, rolled up his sleeves and launched out his photography company in 1985 specializing mainly in corporate and industrial photography. Within a short period of time, his client base included foremost blue chip companies and conglomerates like; Nestle Nigeria PLC,PZ Industries, Unilever PLC, State numerous advertising organization, Cadbury Nigeria LTD, Shell Nigeria PLC, Mobil Nigeria PLC, to name a few.
The evolution of Nigerian music videos, its quantum leaps and boundless success stories cannot be complete without the pioneering roles played by the likes of Philip, who did not only direct and produced musical hit videos for Nigerian mavericks and song divas like Majek Fashek, Onyeka Onwenu, The Mandators and Mike Okri,. He masterminded ‘Music Africa’, a pivotal Music TV programme currently running on STV Network with over 15 years of airing and still counting.
Today he is more into landscapes, dishing visually stimulating and artistically compelling photographs cum digital art infusions. Philip likes to project the beautiful landscapes of Africa, its people, sights and sounds through the eyes of his lenses and digital brush of his pen. According to him, “My picture brings hope and aspiration.”
In the photography circle, he’s like a one-man army, a one-man wrecking ball creating his own rules, records and breaking them all over again. According to some of his colleagues I spoke to, he was every photographer’s dream photographer, so respected around the industry. The aesthetics that come with his works, put him head above shoulders.
Imole “Tobbie” Balogun is an award winning Lagos based commercial photographer. After studying Graphics Design and Digital Film Making, he ventured into professional photography full time. Tobbie is the lead photographer at TCD Concepts. His areas of interest range from Music to Fashion, Travel, Documentaries, Lifestyle and Traditional portraiture. His mission is to merge technical proficiency with aesthetic intuition to produce rich, beautiful and effective high quality photographs suitable for print, web and other platforms. He delivers his services with a personal approach and a genuine willingness to add value and enhance the marketing power of his client’s future. Tobbie’s broad capabilities and diverse range of styles have allowed him provide creative services for a wide array of clientele.
Over the years, special moment when professional photographers like Okwuchukwu Martins Abanobi exhibit their art, have made the industry count. Photographers have contributed massively to successful image of celebrities. In a world like today where image is everything, I can tell you that photographers are becoming the most instrumental part of our daily lives.
Popularly known in the industry as Amazing Klef, he’s among the handful of photographers in Nigeria that have worked with the crème-dela-crème of today’s industry.
‘I am an Urban Photographer & Graphic/Web Design Artist. Started Photography one year ago. Worked on creative projects with top names in the industry like Ice Prince, DJ Spinall, Orezi, Kiss Daniel, Sugarboy, DJ Kaywise, Solidstar, Skiibii, Harrysong, Yung6ix & more. What makes me different from every other creative photographer is my simplicity & love for my craft’ – in his words.
– Cover story by Sesan Adeniji
Cover model – @colouredchild