Project X: Celebrating a decade of excellence in photography

In 2012, three young Nigerian photographers pulled their resources and skills together, amid a burning desire to push boundaries for their loving profession.

Today and 10 years down the line, Aham Ibeleme (Aham Ibeleme Studios), Emmanuel Oyeleke (EOP Studios), and Ysgazie Eguare (Gazmadu) are celebrating their 10 years of passion, purpose and impact in the field of photography in Nigeria.

To mark the one decade anniversary they organized a six-day project with exciting activities including; exhibition, panel sessions, workshops for photographers and creative people, networking opportunities, among others.

The project tagged Project X is aimed at inspiring young talents to keep growing and reinventing themselves, empower them to live out their dreams and contribute effectively to the overall growth of the photography industry and the country at large.

“Project X is curated to inspire, coach, and empower the generation of photographers through structured training, mentorship and uncommon experiences. It also commemorates a decade of artistic growth, excellence, transformation, relevance and impact on the Nigerian photographers industry”, the organisers explained.

Trailing their days of little beginning, the three recalled that 10 years ago, precisely in 2012, they (Ibeleme, Oyeleye and Eguare) came together and forged a creative bond at a photography training of the Future Enterprise Support Scheme, organised by Red Media, Nigeria, where they developed early passion for photography in line with the international best practices.

Speaking at the Project X event, which was held from June 20-25, 2022, at Radisson Blu Hotel, Ikeja, Lagos, the founders explained that photography is a worthy profession, amid many opportunities and they are proud of it today.

Read also: Trailing Ibe Ananaba’s diverse artistic expressions

Also, some members of panel sessions of front line photographers in Nigeria were present to tell their success stories to encourage upcoming photographers.

Eguare, a renowned professional photographer and founder of GazMadu Studios, advised the participants at the forum that photography as technology has given practitioners a diverse form for improvement to make fantastic delivery to their clients.

“Create something new for your customers; give a beautiful caption for your clients. People want you to do better with the trends of the digital age”, Eguare said.

Eguare, whose unique portrait style is enabling thousands of clients to change the way they see themselves by recognizing the endless possibilities of what they can do or have, urged the audience photographers to make good profits with their works to justify their professionalism.

“Go back to your work and cost your work. Time has become so valuable and ensures you are well remunerated and rewarded for your investment in photography”, she stressed.

For Akin Salami, a photographer and one of the panelists, there is a paradigm shift in photography with the trends of technology, adding that photographers should be in tune with current trends to remain relevant in the business.

Salami predicted that in the coming years, cameras would have more picas that would stimulate change in the photography industry. He observed that with technological advancements in photography, nothing would take the profession out of business.

“The technology of photography is shifting. You have to be on the learning of photography to remain relevant. You need to remain a student in order not to fall aside. Photography would remain relevant despite digital transformation in the industry”, Salami assured.

“Nowadays, things are going beyond two dimensions because cameras are evolving. Things that were not possible yesterday are possible now and technology would be more affordable even with the advent of phones.”

Veteran photographer and university lecturer, Kelechi Amadiobi told the gathering to look inwards and explore the opportunities offered by the digital technology in photography so as to be relevant in the business.

He described photography as a serious business in the current generation due to a shift from the norm.

On her part, Esther Ukandu of corporate communication of Radisson Blu Hotel Ikeja Lagos, host of the exhibition, disclosed that the hotel partnered in Project X to support the vision of the photographers, photography academy and the profession generally.

“Radisson Blu has a tradition of giving support to Project X to enable the photography academy meet its set goals and objectives. We will continue to support them by providing the training venues.”

Speaking about the Project X, Emmanuel Oyeleke, one of the three organisers of the event, explained the role of the project since inception, saying it has been able to impact the current generation of photographers through training with global technologies in photography.

Oyeleke spoke about the driving force of the academy, as he identified “passion, purpose and impact,” which the organisation has used for manpower development of a new generation of photographers in the country.

He noted that the new technology in photography has given the industry a wide opportunity to improve on the business so that the local photographers could match the standards of the rest of the world.

Oyeleke, a Canon ambassador in Nigeria, gave insight into what Project X would be in the next decade.

“In ten years to come, we want to consolidate our gains and initiate programmes that will impact more on upcoming photographers”, Oyeleke said.

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