An Interview with Adeolu Adeniyi

POSTED IN Art, Art history, Culture, Drawn art, Painting
By Amara Iwuala
“It is More Difficult When You Begin by Expecting to Make Money Very Quickly.” Adeolu Adeniyi
Adeolu Adeniyi studied Sociology and Anthropology at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, and holds a Post-Graduate Diploma in Mass Communication from the University of Lagos.



In 2015, he attended the Montana State University, Bozeman, Montana, USA, where he did a month-long workshop on Social Justice Documentary Film-making. The photographer and budding film-maker reveals his pursuits to Amarachukwu Iwuala.




At the 2015 Global Landscapes Forum Climate Change Award, Adeolu clinched one of the laurels, which ranked him among the top three global photographers in that regard and the only African amongst them.“I basically shoot concerts and weddings, but also document events like film festivals. I record documentary films and it is my involvement in shooting documentaries – photos and videos – that influences my style of shooting concerts and weddings.




“Over the years, the jobs I have done for individuals, organizations and governments have been recognized at home and abroad. I am thrilled by this because I’m not one of those who was born into artistic families, but while growing up, I treasured images, especially in films. I also loved posing for pictures, which I funnily don’t enjoy anymore. Yet, I never imagined that I will work behind the camera someday.



“I studied Digital Photography at the Shola Animashaun Photography Academy in 2013 and was mentored by Bayo Omoboriowo in the same year. In 2014 and 2015, I attended the Lagos African Artists Foundation Photo Summer School with Eva Maria Ocherbauer and Ben Chislett as facilitators.



“I am yet to do a solo exhibition but have been involved in a couple of open exhibitions where my works were displayed. I plan to do an exhibition towards the end of the year when I anticipate that my personal projects will be ready.”




For Adeolu, new photographers should learn as much as they can as they set out in their careers. “It is more difficult when you begin by expecting to make money very quickly. Decide where you will like to specialize and persevere as you face ups and downs.”




He is happy that he did not let initial encounters to frustrate him out of the Photography business. “When I began, I was told that photographers could be treated with disdain if they were not well-dressed or failed to behave professionally at weddings. So, I went for a wedding, dressed like a groom, clutching a gorgeous camera and mounting a big lens that I had borrowed. With all the confidence in the world, I approached some beautiful ladies in a bid to take their snapshots.




“One of them stopped me in my tracks, saying “‘Oga’, we don’t have N100:00 for a picture.” Really? With my 1 million-dollar dressing plus striking camera, do they think that I do ‘wait and get?’ The ladies were in no mood for explanations and I was discomfited. In fact, I almost abandoned Photography!”




He lists impudence and humiliation as some of the occupational hazards in Photography, especially for those who work at weddings. “Sometimes, people don’t appreciate what you do, thereby speaking to you rudely. I have lost count of the number of times that I have experienced this, it is actually the norm. The job requires a lot of amiability, though as humans, these things sometimes matter and can distress you.”



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