Pictures tell a thousand words and the Chief Photographer for the Africa International Film Festival (AFRIFF), Adeolu Adeniyi says his kind of photography, in relation to the event itself, tells the story of AFRIFF like a book.
In this interview with YNaija, he tells us about his trademark and the kind of things he chases to actually tell stories that should come after the ideas.
Tell us about yourself, your background
I started photography in 2012. After my training, I worked with a couple of people. And I decided to be on my own after they mentored me though.
The idea was to become a filmmaker but, then I could not afford to go school. So, I started with photography which was more affordable at that time.
My first formal job was in 2014 in Calabar. I just stormed on it on Television and decided to apply.
Before that time, I had a bit of camera assistance on set. When I got there I heard that there was a scholarship opportunity for some set of people and I put in more effort and was quite natural and, fortunately, I was able to make that training in the United States.
What qualified you to become the Chief Photographer for AFRIFF?
Basically, it was my work. I had entered for a competition that period and my work was everywhere. I was the only Nigerian left in the competition and I finished the third best.There is a way I document my work, just like a documentary, which was what they focused on when I was contacted.
Besides, I had done some work for the CEO of AFRIFF, Chioma Ude and so I was most likely in.
What are those artistic moments you are always eager to capture at AFRIFF?
One thing is always certain, it is hard to gather celebrities. So, we are always on our feet to see about three celebrities laughing together or something like that.The best thing though is to get to get candid pictures.
Most times, when I shoot you, you would most likely not be on my face when I do that. Also, to take what people are not seeing. Even people that are not celebrities, as long as they are laughing or having a fun moment.
For the 2017 edition, my best moment was getting a picture of the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed when he was leaving.
Capturing the people on stage, guests responding and all that.
How do you use photography to pass AFRIFF’s message?
AFRIFF is arguably the biggest film festival in Africa.
My job is to show the world how the network, the training, how effective the festival is.
It is not just to party but to show what else is there to learn in pictures.
Do you work full time or part-time?
I don’t work full time.
So AFRIFF diverted your career path?
No, AFRIFF launched my filmmaking. Trained me, sponsored me to the U.S. to learn more.
Do you usually encounter idea disputes with the kind of moments you should be taking?
If you are able to beat expectations, there would not be problems. But, there are basic things that you must just not miss.
Like, when a celebrity or a politician or some other young person looking good is on the red carpet.
At every point in time, there is a standard you must meet. It is as important as everyone that attends the event.
What is your trademark photography style?
My pictures most of the time are candid. I don’t like to be everywhere. And when you are taking a candid picture, you have to make sure it is coming out right.
Everything I shoot is a story, from the first photograph to the last can give the details of what happened in an event. When you check through you would be able to tell what happened.
It is like reading a book.
What important lesson have you learnt, working with AFRIFF?
Patience. One thing. Getting celebrities to take pictures is not easy.
Not because they are high-headed but it is because of the nature of what they do.
What are your expectations?
Well, AFRIFF met my expectations. At least my movies showed.
The movies that showed are great movies with great stories.
Photography is what I do, filmmaking is also what I do. I am gradually moving into documentary films, focusing on social issues.
One last one. I am open to any kind of photography of film business.