Between moment and emotion, Visual Identity lifts photography in Lagos
Photography workshop with the theme Visual Identity, covering conceptual project-based idea via lectures and critiques, returned to Lagos for it’s second edition.
Organised under FotoFactory, a project founded by Eva Maria Ocherbauer and Sylvester Okwunodu Ogbechie, the event added to the growing energy of photography enthusiasts and professionals in Lagos, so suggested the response of participants at Centre for Contemporary Art (CCA), Yaba.
Day one of the workshop had Ocherbauern taking participants on ‘Introduction.’ It was also an interactive session that featured tips and techniques of taking photographs. Also discussed were gains and benefits of dispensing photographic expression through the social media.
Ocherbauer shared more of her thoughts with select guests: “We have been doing this with some of the students since five years ago,” recalling how the projects started after her LagosPhoto experience. In 2014, Ocherbauer was in Lagos for Eko Atlantic project.
“African photography is being appreciated more in recent years at international scene,” she noted.At the CCA gallery space for the workshop, some of the participants shared their experience. Ralph Eluehike works on domestic subjects, using photography in performance concept to highlight issues that surround engagements of workers. The project, which he calls In Shadows of Domestic Work, features stage-captured scenes taken over a period of four to five years of the concept.
For Aisha Adeyemi, the disappearing architecture relics of pre-colonial Lagos, as well as the city’s new features are attractions to her camera lens. “I have been working on old, colonial era buildings around Marina for about three years,” Adeyemi stated. “Buildings are part of our history and we need to document them.”
More daring was the choice of Ayo Akinwande. He has been moving from one dangerous spot to another in some volatile parts of Nigeria.“Right now, I am working on the Southern Kaduna crisis by interviewing and taking photographs of the victims of violence there.”
He disclosed how his visit to Benue State also exposed him to realtime plights of victims of communal violence. In getting results amid the violence and frustrations of the affected people, the approach had to be well thought-out. Akinwande recalled how he almost experienced one of the violence scenes in the area with such a vast terrain. “I try to get personal with the people to get what I wanted.”
Facilitated by Ocherbauer, photographers Abraham Oghobase and Andrew Esiebo, the workshop, according to the organisers, featured students who were training on how to gain a conscious and intuitive understanding of the visual language of photography and develop a personal signature so as to foster ideas on contemporary visual practice, as well as the process of editing towards the production of a consistent and compelling narrative.
Ocherbauer is an internationally acclaimed Austrian photographer based in Berlin and lectures at the Neue Schule für Fotografie. Ogbechie specialises on the arts and visual culture of Africa and its Diasporas. He is Professor of History of Art and Architecture, University of California, Santa Barbara and Director of Aachron Knowledge Systems.
Oghobase is a Nigerian photographer and mentor based in Lagos. He is using a combination of performance and photography to explore urban identity and the ways that socio-economic dynamics shape people’s lives. Esiebo started out in photography by chronicling the rapid development of urban Nigeria, as well as the country’s rich cultures and heritage. He has been awarded a number of residencies, but is based in Lagos.
It was supported by The Femi Akinsanya African Art Collection and Aachron Incorporated. The facilitators, for example, noted that every photograph, irrespective of its category, is a reflection of one’s own sensitivity, the meeting point between a moment and an emotion.