She is one of those changing the narrative in the art space with her works which has been adjudged phenomenal from far and wide. Celebrity photographe
She is one of those changing the narrative in the art space with her works which has been adjudged phenomenal from far and wide. Celebrity photographer, TY Bello tells Nkarenyi Ukonu why it is imperative more women get involved in the photography business.
How would you describe your experience as a facilitator and judge at the inaugural edition of Days of Dorcas photography competition?
It has been a joy to share my knowledge but more than anything, I think I have been inspired by the amount of growth many of the participants in such a short time have garnered. And that says many things, one of which is that if we have more and more of stuffs like this, we can push the quality and they type of photography that is coming out of Nigeria forward. I love the fact that this is a workshop for women. I mean this (the project) is a way to have a voice and I am so glad that I have seen people who came here at the beginning with works of a certain kind, now being able to push forward on their own ideas and their own perspective of things. I think that is important and it has been a tremendously incredible workshop. I don’t think I have experienced anything like this.
Why are you particularly happy the workshop is exclusively for women?
I find that there is a vacuum in the narrative especially in the arts sphere in Nigeria. A lot of women that I know are not aware that photography is not just commercial. So I am happy because I think we are not enough, we are not telling enough stories. I believe that the narrative of the Nigerian woman is something that the world needs to hear. We are a different bunch of people and I feel like the more people are literate and understand how to use imagery, to push those stories and ideas, the better it is.
Of all the participants, which would you say blew your mind with her presentation?
Initially when I began scoring marks, I scored 4, 5 and then I began to give people higher and higher marks because I found that people were applying themselves and pushing hard. So for me, it is not even about how far people pushed. The people that interested me were those who already had an idea they were already following and caught a new wind. I mean if you already have an idea, it isn’t because you learnt something new you then dump what you have already. You should take what inspires you and find a better way to say it and for me, those were the strongest bodies of work.
After the training comes the period of mentorship. Do you get to decide who you take under your wings?
I guess it is based on each one’s strength. Different participants will be assigned to different facilitators. I believe I will be a great mentor for a documentary photographer.
We don’t get to see more of your work in documentary. Why is that?
Well because I have been working more as a portrait and as a conceptual photographer. I do documentary but they are all personal projects that I am still trying to put together into a book.
How is your partnership with photography giant, Canon?
Oh fantastic! And more than anything, it is an opportunity for me to talk to other photographers which I consider the biggest thing for me in teaching. I also love the fact that Canon is here in Africa and working so hard to connect and I love the fact that they came with the perspective of partnering and that is really going to help the industry.