Posts Tagged ‘society’

The Impact of Photography on society and telling the African Story

Posted on: June 14th, 2017 by The Moderator 1 Comment

The Octagon: Welcome To The Octagon.

Let’s begin with some introductions before going into the discussion. Can everyone let us know who they are and share a bit about what they do?

Mo: Hi I’m Muhammad Yahaya , you can call me Mo. I’m an aspiring filmmaker/entrepreneur/inventor-innovator. I love to create, I’m in love with the idea of change and most importantly, sustainable change


Okolo: Hi, my name is Okolo Eboesomi. I run a photography outfit called ArcherConcepts Media which specializes in events photography services.


Solomon: I’m Solomon Abe, Creative Director of AFE Studios, I am a photographer with wedding and portrait photography as my forte, I also shoot other genre too. I tutor and mentor younger aspiring photographers.


Tokunbo: Hi everyone, I’m Ola-Tokunbo Aworinde. In the official photographer at the US Embassy, Nigeria.


Tayo: Hi everyone, I’m Temitayo Ige. I was a commercial photographer, but now it’s only a hobby.


Gideon: Hi Guys, My name is Gideon Gambo, am a Wedding, Lifestyle and Documentary Photographer based in Kaduna/Abuja.

Damilola: Hi , I am Damilola Onafuwa , a documentary photographer


The Octagon: Thanks for the introductions. Today’s topic is tagged “The Impact of Photography on society and telling the African Story.”

Nigeria and Africa has in last 5 years experienced the sudden emergence of a large number of what we can call pro-amateur photographers as a result of increased access to DSLR cameras and mobile devices with great camera technology. The conversion rate from amateur to professional photography has also spiked in last 2 years as more and more people are learning the necessary techniques and investing in equipment. Some have claimed said that the boom within the entertainment industry has also been responsible for this.

Regardless of the growth in the number of photographers, the African story is still not being told as it should and brands still look to foreign online stock stores to purchase images. It is difficult to find free or royalty images that capture the relevant views of Africa/Nigeria people or elements online.  

Are the people we have generally called pro photographers truly professional ? What are the top challenges pro photographers face in Nigeria?


Okolo: I believe a professional photographer is a photographer who earns most, if not all of his income from photography, and i think the major problem we have is that of specialization. You have one person doing 3-5 different aspects of photography and is all over the place creating poorly produced images.


Solomon: I think that a lot of persons venture into photography these days just to make ends meet, and not because they are passionate about creating great moments. Some of these people, haven’t harnessed the necessary skills as regards telling stories – they  just point and shoot.


Mo: I think they are professionals, and if not have the capacity to be professional. But the understanding of photography as a business is still quite limited. We have to acknowledge that it is an art first, and a business second. That will begin to widen perspective and create a variety of approach to developing a discipline or  a number of disciplines with regards to photography as an art and a business.


Tokunbo: In my opinion, the challenge photographers face at the moment is poor access to quality equipment, particularly due to the difficulty in accessing forex in the country.  As far as the use of the term “professional photographer” goes, I believe the issue is that anyone can call themselves a professional photographer without necessarily passing through a clear and defined curriculum or receiving a certification from a generally accepted authority.


Tayo: I think because there is no regulation of standards, almost everyone with a DSLR calls themselves professionals. If for example there was a level people were to attain before they can be called professionals then it would have been way better.


Tokunbo: This is as a result of the afore mentioned increase in access to DSLRs compared to the days of analogue photography and, more particularly, the better access to information through the internet and better networking and mentoring via social media and other digital platforms. All positives.


Solomon: You very correct, but I don’t think certification is the hallmark, because some people have gone through some programs and are not better than some self-taught or YouTube-taught photographers. I think it’s the ability to create stunning images (consistently) that makes you a pro, not certification.



Tayo: I think the reference to certification is basically about standards. A number of professional photographers do not hone true skills first. They do not find their niche before ‘coming out’


Okolo: I believe art is dynamic, it means different things to different people – What one person may consider bad, is what another will call exceptional. Just as Tayo stated, we should have a reference standard for all who practice the art of photography.


Tayo: As Okolo said, art is a case of beauty is in the eye of the beholder.


Mo: Standards are basically judged upon the principles of taste. And  taste is a wide spectrum, maintained only through the audiences/market for it.


The Octagon: More and more people who are taking great strides around the world seem to have been self taught or at least advanced their skill through this process of self teaching. Is it safe to say that anyone who commits over 50% of their time is professional or is it about how the public perceives what they create? or is it about earning a larger % of income from this.


Tayo: I know at least two top photographers that were computer scientists, who are determined not to settle in the field. They have continued to hone their skills over time. For some people, If they’re not driven by the art, then it’s going to be hard to produce stunning images People have undergone years of trainings, under study, one on one work critique, etc and we can see the results of all of that hard work and discipline.


Solomon: A person’s dedication to what he/she does (studying, shooting, post production). When a person dedicates his resources (time and money) into improving himself, then he can be called a professional photographer, it’s not about how much you make from photography, because that could easily be influenced by your marketing strategy.


Mo: Being professional is more about ethics and manners. Presentation. Being skillful however, is a totally different thing. Now when it comes to making a career out of it, I believe you have to be all in, 100%..


Okolo: Being a professional is not only about the % of income, there are other things like time spent on the trade. It’s just like the person who spends 5 yrs in the university, will come out with a BSC in the course of study. It doesn’t end there,  there is a constant self improvement aspect which involves certifications, and inventions. Also, skill and ethics is what differentiates one individual from another. Just like there are engineers who might not know the first thing about building a device. but they have the relevant degree.


Tayo: I agree. There’s skill and the there’s ethics.



The Octagon: How much in your opinion has photography in general (professional or amateur) impacted the Nigerian society?



Okolo: I’d like to answer that based on the different sectors. In fashion and entertainment,  it has played a very significant role in building brands and showcasing our works. However, in other sectors, I’m afraid we have not even scratched the surface.


The Gender Equality Question

Posted on: August 1st, 2016 by The Moderator 3 Comments

Welcome to The Octagon

See the profile of our guests in this Octagon room conversation

The Octagon: Let’s begin with introductions. Please let us know who you are and what you do. After that we will go into the conversation.

Wakeji: My name is Wakeji, officially known as Mary W. Gani. I’m a lawyer/academic/creative writer who is currently on a foray into communications. I manage the communications desk for an international charity.

Titilope: My name is Titilope Sonuga. I’m a performance poet, writer & actor. I’m Intel’s She Will Connect ambassador for Nigeria.

Jibril: Hello all my name is Jibril a civil servant and academic.

Ihotu: I’m Ihotu Amuta, I am an idea strategist and enterprise educator. I run a company called The Scratch Board focused on business strategy, startup incubation and organisational design. I also run Jewels Network aimed at women’s enhancement. I write, I speak and I mentor kids in Secondary school

Nimah: Hiya, I’m Nimah Arigbabu currently Studying politics and security. I worked as a project manager with an NGO prior to my current study.

Venya: Hey everyone, Im Ven Lannap, a passionate individual that hates any form of injustice. Lead at Bo SITA MADE, a youth developmental ngo that is active in the fight against sex trafficking and the Director of Before and After School Academy, Jos

Jake: Jake Okechukwu Effoduh, I Have Been A Human Rights Lawyer For 6 Years And A National Radio Presenter For A Decade Now.

Blessing: My name is Blessing Oyeleye. I am a Chemical Engineer and Global Energy Consultant. I am a working mother and try to find balance at home and at work.

The Octagon: The lines between what is feminine and what is masculine are drawn from birth. Little girls are wrapped in pink blankets and little boys in blue. Treating men and women as different is so intrinsic to Global Culture that most of us think nothing of it. While in developed countries it often takes the form of unequal pay, glass ceilings and lack of childcare provisions, in developing countries it’s evident in the tradition of child marriage, female infanticide, female genital mutilation and barriers to education for girls.

The Ooni of Ife’s wife recently said “The modern pattern of feminism has succeeded in limiting women of the heights they could reach; gender equality is unrealistic. We can never be equal with men, we are here for a great purpose, we have our roles to play we are powerful and we are a force of nature. Relationships are suffering today, because women want to be men”

To what extent do you think that the educational system tries to push (or unconsciously pushes) people into traditionally “female” and “male” roles?  Do you think women really get the ‘short end of the stick’ in Society, or is this a Myth ? Finally, Is Gender Equality Possible ?

Jake: Gender equality is feasible. It has happened; is happening; and will happen if we make it happen. Women will soon stop demanding quotas and will dictate what they want. They will not matter if they are 10% or 40% but will ensure that whoever is representing them In every level is mindful of their interest 100%. The Ooni’s wife spoke for herself. She can’t speak for women. So I need not reply her, or comment on her statement.

Ihotu: I think the concept of gender equality has been misrepresented in societal discuss. I do not completely agree with the Ooni’s wife but I understand her perspective. Women can do what men can but should they? Every society will evolve into gender equity or equality at different times based on its exposure.

Titilope: I don’t think it’s so simple. If it were happening we wouldn’t still be having this conversation. Being a feminist or demanding gender equality does not equate a woman wanting to be a man. The comment from the Ooni’s wife (who we should actually be calling by her own name) illustrates that people don’t actually understand the importance of gender equality and do not see the subtle ways we consistently relegate women in our society.

Wakeji: I’ve heard it said that equity and equality are different concepts. This may be just semantics, but the different words may be useful for the purpose of context. The comments by the Ooni’s wife may have been made on the basis of her concern for certain societal norms that she considers to have been eroded. The question, in my mind, is whether some of those norms are incompatible with gender equality. Some of these norms may be childcare and home making. The way I see it, gender equality, and these norms that people feel are being eroded are certainly not incompatible.

Venya: Hmm…interesting, each of the gender has a unique role to play, respecting that is what would give balance to the society. God created man and woman to give that balance undertaking that is what ‘equality’ in gender should be. And, most people’s opinions are mostly contextual, so I can understand with Ooni’s wife.

Nimah: You see the problem with people like ooni’s wife is they are too ignorant to pick up a book. A lot of us have forgotten what roles feminism has played in our lives and how it has shaped our society. I don’t think she knows people like Efunsetan, Moremi, Oya, F. Ransom Kuti etc. Without these women we won’t be able to do the things other women see as ” basic things” if she wants to see what gender inequality is I suggest she sees what happens with the women in Saudi.

Ihotu: Even today I go for some management level meetings and there are less women in the room than men and some of the men try to shut you down or are condescending. Is that society’s fault or should every man take responsibility for his actions? Or are there women refusing to go past a level in their careers because of the assumed “gender” issues posed by society

The Octagon: For clarification purposes. Gender inequality swings both ways – affects men and women . So, for the men in the group – Society tells you that you can’t be “too emotional”, you need to achieve status by earning lots of money, resolve conflict with violence, choose mechanical and analytical jobs, etc. When a man decides he wants to be a Make up artist, he’s often viewed as Effeminate. This being said, the focus when Gender equality is being discussed is women (not so much men). Why do you think this is?


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