You are welcome to Stars Connect Network, a Subsidiary of Jetheights Services. Stars Connect network is a programme that brings together entrepreneurs, business owners, inspirational speakers, pastors, and leaders in the society, upcoming artistes, NGOs, people giving back to the society and the world at large. We conduct interview sessions to find out everything we can about their journey to stardom, we hope to bring together stars who can be of benefit to one another and who can synergize with Jetheights in other to impact the community. Once again you are welcome to Stars Connect.
Could you please introduce yourself to the stars connect community?
My name is Akinpelu Olamidipupo Akinfenwa. I’m in my early 30’s. I’m a fighter and have more grounds to cover.
Mr Akinpelu Olamidipupo at Jetheights Reception
Tell us about your personality
Dipo is just a young guy, native of Oyo town, Akinmorin, I studied Statistics in the Federal Polytechnic, Ede, that was actually where the nick name Olere sprang up from, that is whatever you do has a kind of a certain reward. I just thank God that the name has really given back to the society and we are a testimony today.
Tell us about your Educational Background
I finished from Standing ground grammar school, which is now a female only school, I actually passed through technical school, I studied engineering, then I realized that my strength in engineering was not that strong, so I was trying to see some other things I could do, but because I was unable to get any. My dream was to become an electrical engineer, but it was my second option, so I went for Statistics, you know, let’s just leave home and go to school. But later on, I realized that Statistics also is not an easy job. Though, I finished my ND but I realized there’s more I could do, because if you don’t have capacity to actually do what you really want to do, what else can you fall back on. Presently, am still running my Bsc. Programme, am doing Psychology in UI, am in 400L.
Mr Olusayo welcoming Mr Akinpelu Olamidipupo to Jetheights
Why venture into Psychology?
Back in the days, if you ask most of our fathers, did you do photography; they will tell you yes, I did photography just to pay my bills and get to do some things. Back in those days, photography was just an option for guys who don’t have so much to fund themselves in school. So, they fell back to Photography after which they finish school, they get white collar jobs, they pick their cameras into one room and that’s all. I have like 5 different kinds of people that are presently my clients. Someone actually opened his wardrobe for me and I saw lots of cameras, lot of lenses. I was like … God, so, when it’s so hard to actually do some things in life and you are like what else can I do, I actually ventured into photography as a beggar, then I met Dr Gboyega Elemide, he’s a veterinary doctor, he does Photography right from his University days till now. So, that’s was the person who trained me. In exchange for computer desktop publishing which I actually know about, we rubbed minds together. It was a kind of a trade by barter thing. Though, he was paying for the period of time I was with him. It was a wonderful experience being under.
Mr Akinpelu Olamidipupo during the interview session
For how long have you been a Photographer and how did you get your start in the industry?
Five years now in business. The journey has not been on easy one. There are lots of task ahead and it’s a kind of business that is now very competitive and if you really want to do more about photography, you really have to spend more, so it’s a kind of a thing that everybody really want to be a part of. Most especially when you have smart phones that can actually take a picture that is so clear than a digital camera that people are always carrying around. It’s a kind of a crazy thing, it’s kind of challenging, but if you are creative and dynamic, you will still find yourself a place to stand in the business.
C.E.O of Olere Photography and Staff of Jetheights Sevices
How did you get your start in the industry?
I’m not that fortunate, me seeing someone to give me some thing, like take this before you start your business. I’m not fortunate in that environment, the reason why I said that is because I don’t know why, I just get gift. I started so rough and have met so many great men that really encourage me. People like Emmanuel Jebe, Toyese Ogunmola, Henry T, Tadoze’s family, most especially, the aspect of church; those are the kind of people and areas that actually strengthen the business to be stable at this time.
What do you love most about Photography?
When i was growing up, my dream job was to be a problem solver, just to be a white collar job person, to solve people’s problems like to work in a government office or people have problems, solve it for them. Just making sure you give answers to people. But when I started Photography, I realized for everybody to invite you to do a particular project; they actually want you to solve a problem. I realized am now going to get a thank you after which I must have charged them. It’s a relief for me because I see myself solving a lot of people’s problems and it’s a perfect and ideal thing for me to be doing right now.
Why are you going into Psychology and not something related to Photography?
Well, my wife actually asked me the same kind of question and I was like let me tell you one thing, Photography is a kind of an act and there’s a Psychology behind it. Now, I have a 6 month old daughter that if you show her a phone, like you want to take a picture, she’s going to give you attention, I can’t be explaining the Psychology behind it. The biology in it but basically, you gains respect. Buhari as a president presently sees a camera; he’s going to give an honour to the camera man and to the camera, because everybody wants to have their moments being recorded and Photography is a kind of artistic work that documents moments.
If you weren’t a Photographer, what else would you do?
I don’t know, maybe am going to be a secretary or P.A to an official.
What are the biggest challenges Photographers have to face?
Well, basically the problem Photographers face right now is a very big one, i have to tell you that. Reason is that we don’t have the same educational background, so, our understanding differs. You can imagine taking a picture of an environment, for instance cultural centre which is a landmark in Ibadan. I can remember doing a project, someone just said what you doing, why are you taking the picture, and my question was, this is a government property this is our property, I can take the picture and document it, so why are asking me that kind of a question. He went further and asked, do you have the right to take pictures, and we don’t have the same knowledge. Though, there are some areas you can’t take cameras to take pictures which every professional photographer understands. But in a public environment government property, you should be able to have access to it. Just for documentation but even when there’s a problem of racism or terrorist. I still have one of my students in U.K doing street Photography and he posts pictures every day. Nobody accuses him or question him about taking pictures in a particular environment. The knowledge which we people have is my challenge towards Photographers because it’s more than we just showcasing an environment. It’s documentation for people coming behind us to actually say, oh, this is how Mokola roundabout was before we had the bridge.
Mr Akinpelu Olamidipupo during the interview session
What skills are important for a successful career in Photography?
The skills you require are to know yourself. For instance, I can’t say I want to be like Ty Bello, she has her own style of Photography, and she developed it herself. You have to learn, read, then develop your own skill because there’s no one new thing in Photography, we are just recycling. Tell me that project that has not been done before.
Which of the Photographers influenced you and how did they influence your thinking, Photography and career path?
I will say Ty Bello, she doesn’t know me in person but i actually followed her, I followed her work and I see a lot of things she does. She is different in her delivery and I so much appreciate seeing her do photography and for me am being able to tap from her. Another person is Kelechi Amadiobi, he’s a great artist, then Mat Gyle, Freeland, there are a lot of them because this world is not about you alone, and it’s about people around you and people you actually want to drink from their wells of knowledge. I read a lot; i follow a lot of Photographers. I read their blogs, I see their projects, U-tube, I get a lot of things from that angle. Those are the kind of things that really motivates me even if you want to do a project; I sit back and actually think of a person that has done that project in another location. I learnt from that, so after learning from that, I can now strategize, oh, this is how I can solve this kind of problem; this is how I can actually get this kind of project done.
Mr Akinpelu during the interview session
What motivates you to continue taking pictures economically, politically, intellectually or emotionally?
Well, basically I will tell you that I find myself in Photography when I met Dr Gboyega Elemide. I remembered I said, I moved into Photography as a beggar, I just wanted to go to event every Saturday, take pictures and sell. Dr Gboyega Elemide taught me to be a king in the business. He said we are not beggars, we are professional Photographers, Presidents, Governors, Commissioners, Kings that beautiful attention they give to you, you now want to sell it very cheap, and it doesn’t make any sense. This is the time to rebrand yourself on delivery and basically i realized that a lot of Photographers that doesn’t do with daily pay, what they do is an art work, taking pictures, put it somewhere then, somebody sees it after five years and say I like this picture and the picture is sold for about 1.5 million and the person says I want 10 copies of it, that is 15 million, a good deal for you. In the next one year, you can be relaxing. I can remember Ty Bello sold an art work on sun set for about a million naira. Photography is an art so it depends on how you see it. If an individual see it as a daily pay job, fine, if you see it as an art work, that it will really pay you in the nearest future, then you see it that way. Then, Pastor Francis Madujaye said if a painter paints a house for 10 to 15 years and after the 15 years, he was unable to climb or he was climbing and he fell, and he broke his spinal cord, what else will he do/ Will he say he will get the contract and sublet it, which is really going to reduce his gain as a painter or he will look for a job after 15 years of labour. The same happened to photographers if you lose your two eyes, your sense of reason what will actually be there for you its more than we just keeping records, getting daily pay its about the history we document that can actually give us some kind of relief when we are about to retire.
How do you educate yourself to take better pictures?
Well, behind every picture there is a result and every photographer always have this at the back of their mind, this is what I actually want to get taking this picture and there are many ways to a picture. There are thousand reasons behind you wanting to take a picture and there are thousands of interpretations behind a particular picture. Let’s say this fan is looking at us 90 degree, if am seeing the fan 180 degree or 60 degree am saying a different thing entirely. Your prospective matters, behind every shot, I know what I want to get. Taking it I know my result already. It’s not for me to now calculate my aperture, my speed, oh my eyes, oh the lighting, oh the environment, after which I get the picture and my post productions matters most because that is when the beauty of the work comes out when we sit down and decide, this is how this should go or this is what we should put to this. So, every photographer has their result before taking a picture except if you are not precise enough. To me to take a picture, I know how far it will go. I don’t take a picture for this particular reason; I take it because I know this picture can be used for another thing. I could remember when I was taking pictures for former Senate president when he was Kwara State governor. When I was taking the picture, he was like take it like this, I said sorry can I take one more, he looked at me and said, Oh, thank you, I never thought a photographer like this could actually think there’s something behind this newspaper and eventually we have the pictures everywhere, found in different magazines, not for the newspaper alone and the picture was very useful at that particular moment and I still have the picture till date.
C.E.O of Olere Photography during the Interview session
Among your works, which one is your favourite, why?
I can’t say this is my favourite work because all images are spectacular to me, because they pass through the same processes, the process of me thinking, taking the pictures and process of getting back to do my post-production. Though, they might have different values but they pass through the same process, so that process is very valuable for me. I can’t say this is my favourite work because I cherish all my images and i don’t delete pictures, I still have pictures of about 5 years ago. The reason I will delete a picture is when the image is over 10 years, I can now pick the relevant and delete the rest. That’s how I keep images. All my images are so precious, so I don’t joke with my Gadgets, my hard discs and my systems.
As a photographer, what are the worst decisions you have ever made and what did it teach you?
The worst decision I ever took was when I left Ibadan for Ilorin to work with one studio, I was about managing. That was about 5 years ago, when I registered my business and then we’ve been making waves in Ibadan and sometimes we even go to Lagos, so I just realized I need to go to Ilorin to do some things, then i realized it was not a good move for me because I did not really enjoy my move to Ilorin. Then, it was a kind of crazy move , but at the end of the day, I realized that there was nothing to lose, since you learnt something and you met a lot of people, and it’s a testimony when you can say things like, Oh, I worked with that guy, Oh, I managed that studio, I passed through that guy. I don’t think I’ve ever made any worst decision.
What is your greatest achievement so far?
I have people that are really making sense in the business. Akin Ajayi Photography in Lagos, Tip tap Photography, Adedayo Agboola, i have a lot of them that I’ve really inspired and sometimes i just relax and say this is what I want and everyone start working. Oh, this is what oga wants, oga wants this, oga wants that. I really cherish that achievement that i was able to share my knowledge with people that actually need my help and are actually making a lot of difference.
How do you stay up to date with Photography?
The reason is i never stopped reading, work, i never stopped reading other people’s blog, i never stopped seeing other people’s project, i just never stopped looking into new things, i like new things, i like new gadgets, so every new gadget that comes out, i quickly regard it, even if i don’t have the money to buy them now, i read the reviews, i desire it and dream of having it.
What are your plans for the future?
My plans for the future is to never stop affecting lives. I believe in Photography, you can raise a lot of armies, people that will do lots of great images. People that will do something we’ve not actually been thinking of doing. The world is in evolutions, new things will never stop springing up. So, i wouldn’t mind sharing my ideas, sharing my visions and giving them the part of mee to actually do more, and more.
Mr Akinfenwa with staff of Jetheights
How do you relax being a busy person?
I give myself 3 to 5 days off from work, whereby i just try to recycle and bring out some things; just things have done wrong and correct them.
What is your advice for young and aspiring Photographers reading this interview?
To the aspiring Photographers, they’ve been good competitors, because most of the time we both see our works and we say, oh, this is beautiful, oh, this is nice, and oh this is great. They should never stop doing what they do best. And to the young ones coming into the business, i will tell them, Photography is actually an art they can venture into. Nobody is an Island, the knowledge can still flow through them, and they can still pass the knowledge to another person because the knowledge which was passed to us is what we actually are sharing and we still need to give it to another person, and another person gives it to another person, so that there will be some kind of thing that we are actually transferring from generation to generation, they should just try and get a very good mentor, read respective books that will actually help their creativity because there are a lot of books on Photography.
How do people reach out to you?
Facebook: Akinpelu Olamidipupo Akinfenwa
Phone no: – 07032622643
For more information about StarsConnect:
Phone No: 09050888890