Onyinye Ubah

Eureka! That is the shout I give when I find a shot that is not common to human perception. Whenever, I hold the camera, which is the idea I look out for. I didn’t start out to become a photographer. It all started when Instagram was created for the sole aim of posting photos taken by iphones. So, when I got the iphone4, I realized it took great pictures. I joined the wave of taking pictures with increased interest as the days went by. One day, a colleague of mine saw the pictures and advised I should go for a pro camera.  The more I became serious with it, the more my interest grew as well.

In time, I broadened my horizon in different kinds of photography and I can state that there isn’t a clear fusion as it were. There is a story behind all of them.

First of all, the portrait: There was no way I would be into photography and not do portraits. I have a family and every now and then, there would be a need for a portrait though my style is still evolving. Then, to learn portrait, there would be need to practice with a muse. I began using the option close to me – my children. After about five minutes or so, they would get bored. Children will always be children.

In order to improve, I started hunting for a muse that would stay for at least one hour and not complain. That was when I ventured into food photography. I could practice taking photos with food elements and would not get any complaints. At least, non living object have no right to do that. It was in that process I got a contract with Dee’s Cake Diary from France. They had a three-day session in Lagos in August last year. I shot all the recipes they made for three days. It was surreal. I got to understand that any recipe – be it exquisite, local, simple and complex can look pretty once they are pictured from the right angle.

For Landscape photography, this came from travelling a lot. My job has taken me to lots of places in Africa. I got to Sierra Leone once and the sunsets are to die for. You know they are the ‘Westest’ part of Africa and since the sun sets in the West, you get beautiful images there. In addition, my involvement with Google Local Guide Program kept my love for landscape photography. In 2015, I started adding reviews of places I went on Google maps. This earned me points and improved my level on the program. People like me were called Local Guides. It is a voluntary service with no monetary value. I did it for fun. It occurred to me to use Google maps to show beautiful scenes and places in my community. Before now, most pictures of Nigeria were mostly hideous. Now, I am a Local Guide with close to 6000 photos on Google maps and these photos have a combined 29 million views.

Every other thing about photography is bearable except Lagos. It is difficult to take Landscape photos in Lagos as it dangerous. You are at risk. If it is not the area boys, it is the police. If it is not both, it is the Local government officers. I did a series on the Ikoyi-Lekki Bridge and got arrested by the police for taking pictures of the bridge. Of course, he couldn’t prove it as a crime but imagine I didn’t stand my grounds. The next series I did, in order not to get delays of any sort, I went to the closest Police station and informed them of my intentions. Also, photography is a very expensive craft for the required gears.

In all, the therapeutic side of the craft is the driving force. Once I feel sad or somewhat down, a lift of my camera brightens me up.

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