For Peter Usman, the journey into photography started from playing with Photoshop. This was while he was a final year student at the Kogi State University in Ayingba. “I started learning Photoshop from a set of tutorials I found on my sister’s laptop back then,” the Ebony-complexioned artist explained. “Then I started playing around with editing, photo manipulations, a bit of graphics and so on.”
Along the line, he acquired skills in creative lighting, Adobe Lightroom, colour grading, colour correction and high end retouching, among others.
But his real engagement with photography started with his resolve to make his own images rather than just edit what others had made. “That was the spark really that has brought me to this point in my career and, of course, there are other stories in between,” he explained. Nonetheless, it may not have been a cakewalk for the 2014 sociology and anthropology graduate. Still, help was always available from the people he met along the way.
Art had always been his passion while studying sociology was his way of giving to Caesar what was Caesar’s. After all, society expected him to get into a university and acquire a degree. “It’s not like before applying for sociology I had some other goals/career choice to pursue, but it’s just you know that nursery-primary-secondary -university process you had to complete. To be honest I didn’t even know what I wanted to really do career-wise with my life even until my final year at the university until I found photography. Photography as a medium helps fulfil my desire to be expressive and creative.”
Having come thus far with photography, Usman is intent on establishing a distinct brand, getting international recognition for his work and working with massive brands and platforms, among other things. He really hopes to go very far… “as far as I can go from where I started really.”
So far, the twenty-something Abuja-based photographer has earned money from taking shots at wedding ceremonies and all kinds of events as well as taking portraits of individuals. “Now, I’m beginning to earn money from shooting for my preferred clients in the fashion and beauty-cosmetic industry, which is really amazing and fulfilling.”
He has neither held a solo exhibition nor participated in a group show. To be able to feature in an exhibition, he believes he needs a body of really amazing works to share with his public. And that, he does not think he has enough of yet.
––Adepuji writes from Lagos.