A Show for Visual Storytellers



  Yinka Olatunbosun

Seven photographers who benefited from the three-month long Creative Photography Masterclass in visual storytelling recently showed their creative works at the Pyramid Art Centre in Ikoyi. This exhibition was the icing on the cake for these emerging photographers who studied five thematic courses in visual storytelling led by masters in photography namely, Kelechi Amadi Obi, Tam Fiofori, Uche James Iroha, Gbile Osadipe, Boye Ola, George Osodi, Adolphus Opara. Don Barber, Yetunde Ayeni Babaeko, Hakeem Salaam, David Asumah, Godwin Anaebonam, Andrew Esiebo and Toye Gbade.

As expected, the workshop was heavy on theory and practical. Several photography genres were explored, leading to individual projects in documentary, fashion, advertising, photojournalism, events and travel photography. In addition, the participants were exposed to other subject matters related to the art of photography such as post-production, intellectual property, copyright and image licensing laws.

With the theme, “Work in Progress’’, the works selected for this show cut across the photography genres, treating topics of interest for the polity such an environmental degradation, education, sexuality, migration and wildlife conservation. The artists at the show include Leke Dipe, Emeka Mbaebie, Samuel Dickson, Isreal Ophori, Gbemile Oluwatosin, Obue Peter and Toju Eyesan.

In the series of photography titled, “The Child and Education System’’ lies the sad story of a Nigerian child at a government-owned secondary school. Obue’s minimalist-styled pictures showed bare classroom floors and students with long faces. The images in this series serve not just as a pointer to the dilapidated state of infrastructure at public schools and the lack of commitment by the government to invest in the knowledge economy.

Eyesan’s series titled, “Brain Waste’’ is a documentary on the high rate of migration within young professionals from under-developed countries to the developed countries for greener pastures. The artist presented the visual storytelling through split-screen frames, with three pictures in each frame. A doctor, lawyer and an engineer where shown first in fetters, restricted by different circumstances but one common denominator: bad governance.

A freelance journalist amongst the lot, Gbemile Oluwatosin lived the story in his “Palm Oil Production’’ series. For about two weeks, he shuttled between Ibadan and Ago Owu in Osun state to capture first-hand the details of palm oil production with a view to restating its economic importance, medicinal value and advocate a return to farming to counter the growing rate of importation of farm produce that exists in abundance in Nigeria. Gbemile is both a researcher and realist, taking part in harvesting the palm kernel before grabbing his camera for more shots.

Looking very immaculate at the show’s opening was Leke Dipe whose works belong to fashion photography. Titled, “Sunday Look’’, the artist examines the fashion temperament in many Christian denominations from the modest to the extravagant.

The Delta-state born Ophori situated his visual narrative in Oporoma, a community in Southern Ijaw, Bayelsa state. Oporoma is the second place for the discovery of crude oil in commercial quantity in Bayelsa state and like many host communities, the ugly reality of environmental health negligence by oil-prospecting companies could not be overstated. Eight miniature photographs were shown to celebrate the everyday heroes of the Niger-Delta exploration as suggested by the title, “Women and Children of Oporoma’’.

Meanwhile, Samuel Dickson travelled on a different direction with his series titled, “Buff’’ that glorify masculinity. The pieces showed the process of body-building as well as muscular men’s routine. Dickson’s goal through this body of work is to extol the virtues of endurance, persistence and dedication.

As for Emeka Mbaebie, leaving his comfort zone to the wild was his game. With the series titled, “The Hunter and the Hunted,’’ Mbaebie’s visual story is set in Ago Ibowu, where the hunters live and Epe, where the bush meat market is. He aimed to communicate to his audience that nature and eco-system should be respected ahead of commercial interest.