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‘How dad’s love for picture made me a photographer’ – Amna Fadoul

It all began with her father’s love for the art, and being “daddy’s girl” it was no surprise when she picked up her camera too……

It all began with her father’s love for the art, and being “daddy’s girl” it was no surprise when she picked up her camera too…

How did photography begin for you?

One of the best things I can remember from when I was young is how my dad was able to capture our most beautiful and precious moments through his passion for photography. He would always take us to the park on weekends, capturing candid moments and I’ve always been fascinated by it.

As a daddy’s girl, it came as no surprise when I grew to share his passion.

Since then, my keen interest in photography slowly became my own way of processing what goes on around me, and after my degree in Mass Communication, I knew I had to chase my dream by expressing myself from behind the lens.

How would you describe your photography?

My style is all about being original as I seek to create art through the eyes I see it from. Therefore, my photography is all about perspective in the sense that I create my own art intentionally while leaving room for my audience to decide what it means to them.

Do you have any professional training in photography? How did you learn the art?

Yes, I trained with BigH Studios in Abuja. I attended his annual photography classes for six weeks, then he took me as an intern and after a year of training, I was given an offer to be a staff of the company and I’ve been working with the company ever since.

Although you dabble into almost all aspects of photography from documentary, portrait and the like, which appeals to you the most and why?

Baby and kids’ photography. I love babies. They make me happy. Yet most of my photos are documentary, that’s because I’m not sure how parents will feel about publishing their children’s images online without their consent.

Amna Fadoul

In what ways do you try to make your own style of photography stand out from the rest?

By seeking inspiration, educating myself on different photography styles, then creating my own images. My photographs are a visual representation of me. I always try to be true to myself while still adding a unique edge to my work.

How would you describe the feeling you get when people appreciate your work?

I honestly feel out of this world because there are few words to describe how it feels when you are deeply appreciated for your dedication to your passion. At the same time, I feel like I need to do better, be better and express my art to the best of my abilities.

If you weren’t a photographer, what other profession do you think you would have excelled at?

It’s Interior design. I love the idea of providing a soul to a building and making it more pleasant.

In what ways do you think photography can be more appreciated in Nigeria?

Introducing it in schools is the first major step towards sensitizing people and raising awareness on the need to appreciate photography. Generally speaking, there needs to be more appreciation for the arts and photography as art transcends the visual by being a way we remember our history and memories. Photography has shaped the society in so many ways such that some parts of history are widely known and remembered thanks to it.

What are the main challenges you encounter and how do you tackle them?

Firstly, clients. Some clients are not willing to pay for work as most have this ideology of photography being an easy job. Some even go ahead and add, “It is just a shot”. It’s actually demoralizing. Secondly, gear is very expensive. A major problem in Nigeria is the affordability and availability of gear. Then also, photographers are devalued and underappreciated as art is viewed more as a hobby than a means of livelihood.

What does it take to be a successful photographer?

Passion is the most important thing, and really the only thing that will keep you going long-term. You must love creating your pictures so much that you are brought back to it again and again. Then experience. If you have the passion and discipline, then you will stick with your art long term, and accumulate the experience that you need to be good.

Support is also very important. There are two parts to this. Support from family and friends and then professional support. Because it takes such a long time and many hours of practice to become a good photographer, time that you could spend cleaning the house, doing the laundry, hanging out with family or friends, and the like. You really need family and friends who support you through all of the years when your work looks horrible and you are agonizing over it. You need people that believe in you and can see that eventually you will gain the ability to express what you see.

Also, marketing. You need to put your work out there for the world to see. Social media platforms are the most common and fastest to circulate, and also art galleries and photo exhibitions. Then consistency. That’s the only way to grow and perfect your art.

Who are your role models and why?

They are Ana Brant, Russ Jackson, Kelly Brown, Kath V, Lola Melani, Henry Nwaeze, Aisha Augie Kuta and TY Bello. The first five photographers are international photographers I look up to. They’re all in my field and I aspire to get to their level in photography, In sha Allah.

What advice would you give to upcoming photographers on how to do well in the field?

Find a mentor. I cannot emphasize that enough. Then network and build relationships. The bulk of paid work and opportunities you will get will come from referrals. Also shoot, shoot and shoot. Find your uniqueness and master it, then shoot some more. Practice and consistency makes perfect.

Where do you see yourself in the years to come?

I hope to focus on newborn, maternity and family portraits and have my own studio space, where I will hold workshops nationally and internationally. I want to be recognized. I would like to refine my skills further and really become confident in my work and style.

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