Photographers across the country converged last week at The Exhibition Pavilion in Garki, for the Abuja International Photo Festival 2018. The event, which began on October 15 and ended yesterday featured town hall sessions, photography masterclasses, dance, music and more.

Masterclasses

If there’s one thing photographers and those aspiring to be shouldn’t have missed at the Photo Festival, it’s the masterclasses. These classes focused on how to build a successful wedding photography career and documentary career. Also, fashion and travel photography, a class for beginners, how to price art, photo editing and more.

The event, which was convened by Osaze Ekhator, brought in several industry professionals within and outside Abuja who tutored participants. One of them was Jide Odukoya, who’s works focus on social urbanisation, immigration, domestic issues and conceptual work. His works have been widely featured in a lot of photo festivals around the world.

Another was Uche James-Iroha who taught a class on building a successful documentary photography career. He fuses the creative language of imagery with the documentation of everyday reality, while addressing wide-ranging issues from economic imperialism to the brutal relationships between races, social class and gender.

Town Hall Sessions

The Town Hall sessions revolved around the role of visual storytelling in peace promotion, conflict resolution and poverty eradication. Also, how photography promotes national development and so on.

In one of the sessions with three panellists, themed ‘The future of photography: Are smart phone cameras a threat to DSLR? Don Barber pointed out that times have changed and a full-length documentary has been shot with a mobile phone. “Mobile phones are here to stay,” he said.

Another photographer, Amina Wakawa, who specialises in shooting pictures with her phone stressed that it helps with the kind of shots she takes. “Sometimes, I fiddle with my phone in public and it’s hard to know I am actually taking a picture,” she said about taking sensitive photographs.

Although Rodney Omeokachi described using phones as a beautiful alternative, he said he doesn’t see the smartphone being a threat to the camera.

However, a photographer in the audience who once used a mobile phone narrated how he was unable to do business at a point because prospective clients didn’t take him seriously.

There was a priceless digression in the discussion when Barber emphasised that photographers must always retain credit for their work and price high depending on what the photograph he or she takes would be used for. Participants

An aspiring photographer from Maiduguri, Khadijah Usman, appreciated the fact that the event created a platform for participants to meet and interact with professionals in the industry. “These are people that would have been difficult for some of us to have access to,” she said. “They talked about their experience. This encouraged beginners like us.”

Kano-based Umar Aliyu Tijjani, who is interested in landscape, fashion and portrait photography was thrilled by the calibre of professionals at the event. “The convener of the event did a good job by making entry free of charge, apart from feeding and accommodation,” he said.

Exhibitions

Nine exhibitors showcased their work at the Photo Festival. One from Olumide Akingbade captured a career woman in suit. Akindele Aremu-Cole went rural with the photograph of a woman breaking firewood, an axe above her head. Gbenga Saka’s was of a man watching his cow graze. There was a similar art by Obinna Odunze, but he’s showed a couple of boys herding cattle, unlike Saka’s mysterious looking herder who seemed to be wearing a mask under his hat.

There was a softer side to the seriousness that came with masterclasses and panel discussions at the 2018 Abuja International Photo Festival. There was also dance, music, games and comedy. If you love photographs and photography and missed this year’s event, next year isn’t that far off.

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