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Know your worth as a photographer to earn prestige – Ali Dahiru

Ali Dahiru Ali is a graduate of Theatre and Performing Arts from the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria. In an interview, Ali spoke about his work…

Ali Dahiru Ali is a graduate of Theatre and Performing Arts from the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria.

In an interview, Ali spoke about his work as a portrait, fine art, fashion and documentary photography.

How would you describe your kind of work?

I would describe my work as artistic, refreshing, and also contemporary.

My work is a reflection of my thoughts and imagination.

I photograph things and people I find interesting or things I connect with and the motive is to make art that’s undiluted and interesting for people to enjoy and be inspired by.


Why did you choose documentary and lifestyle photography?

I have always loved photographing things I found interesting and beautiful.

I started documentaries during my NYSC because I was surrounded by interesting people with beautiful stories, so I had to photograph them and that’s how my documentary journey started.

As for fashion that was out of necessity.

I was not really satisfied with how fashion was being photographed where I’m from so I decided to photograph it how I felt it should be and thankfully people like it as much as I do.


Can you explain your work flow?

Well, I like to get most of my settings from the camera so when it’s time to edit I don’t have to do so much to the image.

I use Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop, but I don’t really do much in post- production.


How do you improve on your skills?

Practice really.

I shoot a lot, so it helps me to get better at it and I like to look out for other photographers I admire so I can learn from them.


What are some of the projects you have worked on?

I have worked on a couple of projects like Phoenix, Jiku, Kalakuta, and Blessing to name a few.

The projects have done well for themselves.

Some of the photos from these projects have been published on Italian Vogue and Gucci Beauty.

I think Kalakuta is my current favourite because it was a self-portrait and it has the highest amount of models I have worked with on a single project.

The whole experience was really interesting because of the amount of work myself and my team had to put into it.

Plus the shoot was about celebrating Fela who I believe is still the biggest artist to come out of Africa and it also pays tribute to the Kalakuta queens and all the black lives lost through racism.


Any exhibition yet?

My project, Phoenix was exhibited at Blank Wall Gallery in Greece, from July 3 to 15, 2020.

Some of my works can be found on Instagram via @alidahiru_


Whose work has influenced you the most?

So far I think the works of Albert Watson have inspired me, because of the amount of detail his works have and he has also taken a lot of timeless photos in the fashion and documentary industry.


What is the one thing you wish you knew when you started?

I can’t really think of anything because it’s a process and sometimes you’re probably not ready for some type of information.


What is the place of art such as yours in Nigeria?

I feel the place of my work in the society is to inspire people.

To make people fall in love with art, beauty, and themselves.

And to also add beauty and spice to life.


What is the future for documentary photography in Nigeria and where do you see yourself in the future?

The future for documentary photography in Nigeria is really bright because time after time, the society looks up to documentaries for information, but photographers need to know their worth in order for the profession to be lucrative.

Because at the end of the day there’s capitalism. In the future, I see myself being one of the best to ever do photography and hopefully inspire the younger generation.


Does photography pay the bills?

Photography pays the bills contrary to what people think.

Everything depends on what you want for yourself and the amount of work you’re ready to put in.


How has social media helped your work?

Social media has really helped photography because now you have the ability to show the whole world your creation.

It has also made the business aspect of photography a lot better because people would always need content.

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