From emerging as the winners of the maiden edition of a photographic workshop and competition, Vivian Nwobi and Kehinde Yusuf may step into the motion picture genre. Courtesy of Fashola Photographic Foundation, the two photographers, who picked first and second prizes respectively, are heading to New York Film Foundation, U.S. on sponsorship.
The Fashola Photographic Foundation, which was formally announced with workshop and exhibition at City Hall, Lagos Island, had works of shortlisted 13 participants on display during the ceremony. The foundation is established in honour of the father of Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola, Alhaji Ademola Fashola. The former governor of Lagos State, who addressed guests at the ceremony, noted that his father passed on four years ago, about a month before his 80th birthday. He recalled that his father was a man of many values and passions.
"Our father was a multi-brand," he said shortly before the winners were announced. "But we all agreed that photography was a passion of his." Fashola supported the collective position of the family by citing how, for example, he had a gift of camera from his father. "I got my first camera, as a 14th birthday gift from my father."
He noted that the camera was useful to him "throughout my university days." The Fashola Photographic Foundation started on a good note at its debut, "I am happy that there were over a thousand entries for this foundation," Fashola stated. "My father represented the fourth generation; I am the fifth and my children the sixth. All of us are lovers of photography."
Among his siblings present at the event was Dr. Adesola Keji Fashola, who delivered a welcome address. Earlier, veteran photographer and filmmaker, Tam Fiofori, who gave a lecture at the event, briefly touched on the history of photography in Nigeria. He also advised young professionals, particularly participants at the Fashola Photographic Foundation on the importance of specialisation.
"The era of Jack of all in photography is over." Describing photography as a noble profession, Fiofori listed expectations and ethics such as dedication, hard work, human relations among others that a professional photographer should watch out for.
"Your profession will earn you respect," he advised photographers. "Respect the privacy of people when they say 'No." Given the richness of Fiofori's presentation, Fashols advised that the texts should be included in the content of website for the Foundation.
Organised by Temple Management Company, the unveiling explained how the foundation would transform into a training institute to help young photographers and filmmakers grow their careers.
"I had no idea I would win in a class with 12 amazing photographers," Nwobi enthused. "I am super grateful to the foundation and Temple Management for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity."
Nwobi then shared her photography background as being formerly trained "although I am Lawyer." For her female counterpart and runners up, Yusuf, photography is a full time job. She was elated that two women emerged winners.
"As a full-time event and documentary photographer, I can tell you that women in photography put in that 'extra' to make our work stand out in a male-dominated event."
Yusuf was actually twice fortunate: an anonymous member of the audience volunteered to sponsor her as the second beneficiary to the New York Film Academy.
"We are convinced that the Fashola Photographic Foundation will produce photographers that Nigeria can be proud of," a representative of the organisers, Idris Olorunnimbe said. "At Temple Management Company, we value the confidence reposed in us by the Fashola family to curate the process and be part of history."
Among top personalities present at the event were Oba of Lagos, Rilwan Akiolu and former Inspector General of Police, Mr. Misiliu Smith.
Mrs. Yinka Fashola read the citation. Pa Ademola Fashola was born in Lagos in 1933. He was a former Advert Manager at Daily Times newspaper and a pioneer General Manager at Times Leisure Services. He was a lover of pictures and a politician. He passed on at the age of 79 in August 2013.