Kelechi Amadi-Obi, Onye Ubanatu and others inspire next-gen photographers at ProjectX

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Nigeria’s leading pictorial storytellers, with the aim of inspiring the next generation of photographers, shared their wealth of wisdom and experience during the recently concluded ProjectX.

The event, which was a collaboration between three former photographers from the Future Enterprise Support Scheme (TFESS) class of 2012, Aham Ibeleme, Emmanuel Oyeleke and Yagazie Eguare, is a burgeoning initiative targeting indigenous photographers.

According to the organizers, the two-day program was organized to inspire, coach and empower the next generation of photographers through structured training, mentorship and exceptional experiences.

Award-winning photographer, Kelechi Amadi-Obi; renowned photographer Hakeem Salaam; Founder; Poshclick Portraiture, Jokotade Shonowo; and creative entrepreneur Onye Ubanatu, expertly shared their stories and gave attendees career nuggets to realize their dream careers during a panel discussion moderated by Eguare and themed “Positioning Your Craft – Upgrading scale and sustainability”.

In an interview, Amadi-Obi, who tasked young creatives with strategically developing defined skills, building a client list, prioritizing on-the-job learning and scaling for maximum compensation, shared that success is a process.

He said: “Success is a journey, it’s when someone focuses on where they’re going and actively works to get to that place they’re focused on, whether they’re there or not. For me, success is a process of working towards a predetermined goal, not just dreaming.

About his photography, he said, “With photography, image making and content making, we call ourselves creative entrepreneurs. It’s not a factory where you get a formula and start marketing while selling the same product. As a creative entrepreneur, you will have the burden of constantly being innovative. For me, the first thing I do is to develop my creativity.

Speaking about his ‘Power’ collection which speaks to the authority of various African cultures, Ibeleme said: “The works I create are placed within the sphere of modernist art, hoping to make visible what is neglected in the historicization of African cultures. I focused on schematic tones of black, yellow and white while exploring the relationships between popular culture and the fine arts, with a critical view of social, political, and culture hidden in plain sight.

The program also served as a platform where coveners showcased selected artworks. Eguare tapped into feminine aesthetics to project the beauty of women’s “rhythmic life” across different seasons in her “Colour Me Beautiful” collection. Oyeleke has gleaned his life’s experiences over the past few years, punctuated with hints of future expectations in his collection titled “The Way I See It”.

A 10-year commemorative event marking their first contact with TFESS, they return to deliver a system that ensures process efficiency by harnessing the insight of already established photographers who have proven themselves in photography and have even branched out to conquer new other professional fields.

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