Sunday, 24 January 2010

Obebe… the foto man!

Yinka Obebe is responsible for the content on Nigezie. He is also a great hand when it comes to photography. He speaks on his life, job and everything. Kenneth Oliko sounds him out:


Who is Yinka Obebe?
I was born in the 80s somewhere in the northern part of Nigeria, Kainji, New Bussa, to be precise. I attended NEPA Senior Staff School, Government College Ibadan, Federal Government College, Minna, and I hold a Bachelor’s degree in engineering (electrical) from the University of Ilorin. I like to describe myself, as proactive and intensely passionate, not because it sounds like a cool way to describe myself, but I have come to know this is me and I am stuck with myself, so what can I do?

How long have you worked with Nigezie?

Well, adding up my initial working years, excluding the MIA period, (yep I left at a point) and the present, (since I got back). I guess it’s been about three years.

Describe your work?
My work is pretty simple but it gets a little complicated in delivery. I manage the creative and production system at Nigezie and other platforms owned by Virtual Media Network. I’m involved all the way from conception to birth — creating new ones, producing the existing shows, overseeing its production and post production as well as creative direction for branding them and the channel as a whole. I also get to prepare proposals and hold meetings with clients or potential sponsors with regards to new shows like every producer should, this and more, as they relate to the creative and production side of the organisation. In addition, I double in the HR department (well, if you would call it that), but to me I’d say I simply shop from time to time for young, creative, skilled and motivated individuals, bring them into the team, from presenters to editors, and so on so we can get the job done.

Tell us more about Yinka Obebe Photography?
This is a strong thing o; I can sit with you all day talking about it. Simply put, it is an attempt at expressing an essential and ‘a so close to my heart’ part of me. It is a creative company that offers photography services. Our forte is fashion and art photography and we like to work only when the assignment is interesting.

Who have you worked with (some of the people you have photographed)?
Who I have photographed to me may not be the most interesting part of my photographic life, but if you had asked what images I have made, I would not say a work but take you out to lunch and probably bore you with my images. No I will share the best part of my existence with you! But you asked for names, so, I’d say most recently, it’s been Timi Dakolo for his singles and Tuface Idibia for his album cover. I am not allowed to say too much about that.

What are the challenges you face everyday mixing your photography work with your day job?
The interesting part of the two is that they are cousins — brothers from the same mother. Have I mixed it up? Okay, they are brothers and sisters, so, I can say I don’t face any challenges in terms of inspiration or thought process, but I wish I could clone myself or better still, buy surrogates and operate both lives simultaneously.

How do you reconcile all of this with family life?
The word ‘family life’ still startles me a bit; I mean, I have been married for only a few months, but it’s real and it’s true that ‘he that finds a wife, finds a good thing and obtains favour from the lord’. My wife is the best that has happened to me till date. Yes! I have to work harder and expand my income, plus drive or walk looking straight ahead and politely sensor ‘some phone calls’. The fact remains I am now responsible for a whole human being and very soon will be responsible for a young man with the mandate to mentor him. This has forced me to think back the other way, as I should have. As for work, it’s not a problem, as I am now the bionic man and my family is my steroid.

Did you receive any formal training in photography?
Who dash me? I thought the question was did you try to get any formal education? I did try. I guess I can still recite all the photography schools in America, London and even India. It was either too expensive, bank wasn’t lending or I didn’t have any collateral. So, to answer your question, no I did not have any formal training. If buying old Vogues, Elle and XXL at Marina or gisting and travelling with Kelechi Amadi Obi are forms of education, then I would say I did have some education.

How were you able to become so good at your work?
Become so good? That sounds so cool, my head is swelling o. I look at foreign magazines, consume the Internet, was inspired by Kelechi Amadi Obi and above all I believe in myself and never for one moment doubt that I had the eye, yes, the eye.

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