An Interview with Mbiedabasi Ekpo Etim

POSTED IN Art history, Culture, Digital art, Photography
By Amara Iwuala
“Photography Allows Me to Express My Resourcefulness.” – Mbiedabasi Ekpo Etim
Mbiedabasi (Mb) Ekpo Etim is the Head Photographer at Carrot Photography, which was established in Uyo in 2013 whilst its Port Harcourt office was set up in 2017. He tells Amarachukwu Iwuala about his sojourn in this art and business.

 

 

 

 

As a young boy, Mb relished to see his own snapshots, but as he grew older, he rebuffed the idea of posing for pictures, having become a meticulous adolescent who noticed that the creativity of the photographers known to him was unsatisfactory.

 

 

 

As a child, he wanted to become a doctor but eventually studied Biochemistry at the University of Uyo. “At a very young age, I found myself collecting small animals and cutting them open to see how their systems looked. I wanted to become a medical doctor quite simply because I was doing well in the subject combination and at that time of my life, it was my idea of aiming high.”

 

 

 

 

It was as a young adult that he developed the love for Photography, Acting and Choreography, but finally settled for Photography. “I decided to become a photographer in 2009, when I served as a media assistant to the then President of the National Association of Nigerian Student, NANS. I did not go for any training before setting out. I just picked up a camera, studied the machine thoroughly and also got resources from the internet. There was a lot of trial and error.”
  • Mb combined Photography with schooling and confesses that those were not very easy times. “I sailed through by simply managing my time and devoting extra hours to academic pursuit.
  • “In 2014, I participated in the Samsung Photography Challenge, in which I placed second and went home with a brand new Samsung NX1000 Camera, bragging rights and some handshakes. The challenge involved taking photos within a space for a specified period of time and then displaying the pictures to the public, who determined the winner through their votes.”
  • According to Mb, “Photography allows me to express my resourcefulness. Portrait and Event Photography guarantee monetary rewards; I also handle other kinds of Photography. However, I really enjoy New-born, Landscape and Street Photography.” He is currently documenting life on the streets, for which he started the hashtag #streetnextturn in January 2018.
At the outset of his career, Ekpo Etim had an encounter that almost made him quit. “My neighbour came home with a welding machine and was trying to put together some pieces of metal into a burglar-proof. I got my camera and started clicking away. Then suddenly, the camera stopped working. It showed an error message, which meant the lens contact wasn’t sending or receiving signals from the camera.

 

 

 

“I couldn’t replace the lens and felt like giving up. On second thoughts, I decided to undertake more events so as to raise the cash required to replace my gear. If I came back home with 1,200 pictures from an event, it meant that I switched the camera off and on as many as 1,200 times. Looking back, I survived.”

 

 

 

He is delighted when he meets new people in the course of duty. He adds, “Nigerians are the happiest people on earth, they say, but as I have experienced in my work, that statement sometimes proves not to be true. Whereas some people are very accommodating and full of smiles, there are others who are quite unfriendly. Keeping my head afloat, waxing in positivity and making excuses for uncouth people is very helpful.”

 

 

 

In 2013, together with his partners, who prefer to remain in the background, Mb set up Carrot Photography in Uyo, where he grew up. Through doggedness and innovation, they became a household name there. In 2017, they branched out to Port Harcourt. Regarding their expansion, he says, “We are increasingly becoming a popular brand and are now spreading our reach by exploring opportunities in other places.”
Mb advises new entrants in Photography. “Photography is very broad. Explore all you can and settle for the area that best suits your personality. In all, never stop being creative.” He is yet to do any exhibitions but hopes to do one before the end of 2018.
Photos courtesy of Mbiedabasi Ekpo Etim
Facebook: Carrot Photography, Mbiedabasi Ekpo Etim
Instagram: @thecarrotpictures, @mbiedabasi
Twitter: @carrotpictures, @mbiedabasi
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