We all long to hold onto the memory of our most precious moments so we turn to photographers to capture them with the aim of having the memories last for generations. This is true for most of humanity and especially true for Nigerians who love to celebrate and capture every moment of every celebration.
Thinking of the days when photographers went about with their point and shoot cameras, producing wash and take pictures, we can all agree that the profession has come really far. Today, it’s a whole new world of art, creativity, and aestheticism.
Photography is no longer a passion or a craft developed just as a means of survival, it has gone beyond that to become one of the most respectable art professions. Many have even chosen to leave highly paid corporate jobs in order to pursue their dream of capturing special moments.
While some photographers specialize in creating celebrity and model portfolios, others turn to photo-journalism, and some, quite simply, love to travel and capture the beauty of nature for networks like National Geographic. From runway to baby photography, real estate to aerial photography, the subcategories of this industry are as limitless as human passions can be.
Photography is no easy work as its pros will tell you any day, so talented photographers need to be celebrated, irrespective of the niche they’ve created for themselves. Today, we are doing just that as we round-up some of the best Nigerian photographers working within and outside the country.
Meet 16 of the top Nigerian photographers you should know…
Kelechi Amadi-Obi is a photographer and artist who has earned international acclaim for both his photography and paintings. After obtaining a law degree and being called to bar in 1993, he settled into full-time studio art and founded the Kelechi Amadi Obi Studios, where he uses his works to tell African stories.
His unique style and mastery of aesthetics and creative lighting in his paintings have been reinvented in his photography. This has helped to create dynamic and result-oriented photography for his clients, which include Guinness Nigeria Plc, Prima Garnet Ogilvy, PZ Nigeria plc amongst others. Whether it is the busy streets of Lagos, abandoned or broken down structures, or the watery slums of Lagos Creek, Amadi-Obi has a love for capturing special locations with or without human subjects. This gives his work, an air of originality and African authenticity. He is not only a photographer, he is a publisher and an image storyteller.
Toyin Sokefun-Bello, better known as TY Bello, is a Nigerian singer, songwriter, photographer and philanthropist. Prior to pursuing a solo career, she was a member of the defunct gospel band KUSH. TY Bello is also a member of the Nigerian photography collective, Depth of Field, and was the official photographer for President Goodluck Jonathan during his presidency.
One can’t talk about TY Bello and not remember her unique style, which includes her big Afro and hard-to-miss eyebrows. There is the story of Olajumoke, who came to the limelight when TY Bello was working doing a street shoot for British-Nigerian rapper, Tinie Tempah. She later discovered the remarkable-looking woman, Olajumoke, who showed up as a bread hawker in the background of one of the shots. Olajumoke went on to become a viral sensation.
Being a trained architect, Reze Bonna sure has the eye for capturing unique details. The multi-award-winning photographer was in 2017 awarded The Best Fashion Photographer Africa at the Abryanz Style and Fashion Awards. When it comes to his final output, Reze has mastered the art of understanding his client, the environment, and the brief.
Reze Bonna’s interests are as diverse as his skills. From shooting fashion runways to managing artists, his works have been featured in several international publications including Vogue Italia, GQ, and Architectural Digest. He has also been featured on CNN, Fashion One, Fashion TV, and Spice TV.
Ade ‘Àsìkò’ Okelarin is a London based African art photographer who creates portraiture and fashion imagery. As a visual artist, he expresses his ideas through photography and mixed media. Àsìkò, who is a self-taught photographer, has a portfolio that is constructed in the narrative that straddles between fantasy and reality as a response to his experiences of identity, culture, and heritage.
Seeing an Asiko image makes you wonder what emotions run through his mind as he creates these images. His work has been published in various publications and outlets like The Guardian, The BBC, IAM magazine, Vogue, Elle, ThisDay Style, etc., and exhibited at places like The Gallery of African Art in London, Rele Gallery in Lagos, and Truman’s Brewery in London.
Henry Nwaeze is an Abuja based photographer who goes by the brand name Big H. He is an international portrait photographer who, over the years, has developed a keen eye for fashion, landscape, and wedding photography. His journey into the world of photography started one day in 2011 when he decided to buy himself a new toy. Since then, Big H has built an enviable portfolio focusing on harnessing the use of light whilst relentlessly experimenting with different techniques and pushing his boundaries.
His work is admired for its bold colors and storytelling qualities. Big H tirelessly strives to create magical scenes, pushing his and that of his subject’s abilities to their limits.
Anietie Robert or Anny Robert as he is popularly known in the industry is a graphic artist turned photographer. His style of photography is clean, elegant, and unique. He is a free spirit and is relentless in telling his stories while promising timeless images.
Anny focuses on fashion and editorial shoots, as well as pre-wedding, events, and portrait photography. A quick look at the images he captures proves he is truly putting timeless content out there.
Prince Ubo Olagoke, popularly known as Prince Meyson, is a celebrity beauty, portrait, fashion, and lifestyle photographer based in Lagos. For Prince, photography is a hobby and a grand expression of the variety of traits that make up his being.
He is living proof that dreams are not as impossible as they may seem. If you believe and push yourself, you will eventually find success or it will find you.
Jide Odukoya, the CEO and Head Photographer, Jide Odukoya Photography, was not one of those who had a lot of photographs of themselves as kids. Now, he delights in capturing that special, rare moment in the lives of others and has become well known for his wedding photography.
His photography style is contemporary, urban, artistic, and photojournalistic. A look at the wedding pictures taken by JOP Studios would have you wishing your wedding day was near or wrestle with thoughts of taking a fresh set of wedding pictures. Jide sure knows how to capture that very moment you would like to see in a hundred years.
Idongesit Smart Usanga is a Lagos-based photographer with a focus on fashion, portrait, and art photography. Also known by his brand name, Image Faculty, Smart is also the man who changed the face of photography in Akwa Ibom State. He has been honored as an ambassador in his State (Akwa Ibom) and also has his photography work printed on the Guinness Book of Records 2015 edition.
From weddings to fine art, Smart has mastered the art of capturing the fine details as he lives to make pictures walk, talk, jump, and dance.
Jide Alakija is a British-born Nigerian photographer who decided to follow his love for capturing moments and has gone on to become one of the most respected and highly demanded wedding photographers, both in Nigeria and in the UK.
Jide loves to tell stories using his amazing photography skills. He believes that there is a story in nearly every situation one encounters. He has an interest in creating photographic art and presenting images so that when working, he prefers not to interfere with the event. Capturing reality is his focus. These experiences, these encounters are the very elements that have developed his images. He finds great pleasure in weddings, events, and other documentary projects.
Ahamefula Ibeleme, who started out as a freelance amateur photographer, is today one of the most sought-after photographers in Nigeria. In 2012, Aham decided to take his career professionally and focus on portrait, beauty and fashion photography.
Aham specializes in commercial work that includes portraiture, fashion, beauty, editorial, events, and corporate photography. Ahamefula Ibeleme started off making films and then decided to dabble in photography. He loved it and kept at it. According to him, “I’m just amazed at how one can capture life’s amazing moments visually and that’s the driving force for me in these arts”.
George Okoro is an award-winning wedding photographer and the Editor-in-chief and publisher of George Okoro Wedding Lifestyle Magazine. George’s work as a wedding photographer has seen him capture some of the most breath-taking and captivating nuptial moments in the Nigerian events industry. His photography aims to tell unforgettable stories and capture beautiful memories.
In 2016, George Okoro was bestowed with the title of Sarkin Masuhoton Galadiman Zazzau (King of photographers Zazzau) in Zaria. The coronation ceremony took place at the Palace of the Galadiman Zaria Emirate, in the presence of the top Kingmakers of the Zaria Emirate: Wazirin Zazzau, Alhaji Ibrahim Aminu, Makaman Zazzau Alhaji Fibrin Mijinyawa, and the Sarkin Fadan Zazzau Alhaji Abbass Ahmad. George is now officially a part of the great Zazzau Emirate as the Sarkin Masuhoton Zazzau.
Tope Adenola of Horpload Works was inspired to get into photography because of his love for nature and his desire to be the best photographer in the world. He describes himself as a photographer, an enthusiast and a partaker, who sees through his lens and makes every frame count.
Tope sure knows how to make every frame count, as he creates images that make you want to be his muse. With a focus on fashion and art direction, Tope has also worked with a number of Nigerian designers for their collections.
Emmanuel Oyeleke is a Photographer and a Tech Enthusiast who has worked on fashion magazines, editorials, look-books and beauty and lifestyle campaigns for international brands, high profile events and portfolio work for Non-profit organizations.
His photography predominantly reflects elements of art, fashion, and beauty. To summarise simply, Emmanuel is a lifestyle photographer with an unwavering interest in fashion, wedding, and beauty photography.
Lakin Ogunbanwo is a multi-talented photographer who first began practicing while at a Law school in the UK. The self-taught fashion photographer then made his way to Paris, where he fine-tuned his talent at the Speos Photography Institute. He is a versatile artist with an eye for color.
His work goes against the status quo with remarkable confidence, challenging the conservative culture of his country with thought-provoking imageries that can be described as vivid and sometimes suggestive. His work boasts of a very meticulous approach that allows for visually stunning imagery. Being a man of few words, he allows pictures to do the talking. Lakin has garnered a buzz in the fashion industry for his ability to capture extraordinary beauty in his own provocative fashion. This has earned him a top spot on CNN’s profile of “Africa’s Most Exciting New Photographers”.
Emmanuel Arewa of Spotlight Photos and Imagery is a freelance photographer who started as a wedding photographer in 2009, but later caught interest in photojournalism. This led to him obtaining a proficiency certificate in photojournalism in 2011.
His work ranges from photojournalism to documentary, events to portraits. Emmanuel’s captivating images are a delight to behold, whether he’s working as a Photojournalist, Documentarian, or Wedding Photographer. His compositions are simply awe-inspiring. Some of his works have received an audience through local and international media, such as The New York Times, The Guardian UK, The Guardian Nigeria, Daily Trust Nigeria, MSNBC, Google news, Afripol, Bay Ledger, and many more.
Did your favorite photographer make the list? Do tell us in the ‘Rave box’ below.
Cover Photo credit: Instagram | Anny Robert
Originally published November 2, 2019.
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