LagosPhoto Summer School – A guest post by Eva Maria Ocherbauer
Following Érika Nimis’ article « Former la relève aux arts visuels, option photographie. Quelques initiatives venues de Lagos » (on teaching photography in Lagos), we asked Eva Maria Ocherbauer to give some insight into her experience as facilitator of the LagosPhoto Summer School which is about to open in a week in Lagos.
This workshop, a collaboration with African Artists’ Foundation offers a teaching programme aimed at young Nigerian photographers who are interested in developing their skills and careers as photographers. The long-term goal of the training is to set up a photography education programme to bridge the gap between photographic concern and realisation.
The programme covers conceptual project-based thinking through sequences of critiques and lectures as well as manual photography techniques and digital workflows. A major focus lies on developing ideas using contemporary visual practices and the process of editing pictures towards the production of a consistent and compelling narrative. The creation of larger bodies of work over a sustained period of time enables the students to move into professional discourses.
The teaching started in 2013 covering an exchange programme between LagosPhoto Foundation and Neue Schule für Fotografie Berlin, including a one month residency for emerging Nigerian photographers in Germany. In return graduate students of Neue Schule für Fotografie Berlin went to Lagos for the annual photography festival and part of the programme was building up the first LagosPhoto Summer School workshop. Meanwhile we have next to the Standard Class an Advanced Class for graduates, both workshops held twice a year.
Students get trained how to gain a conscious and intuitive understanding of the visual language of photography. They receive a broad technical foundation and they learn how to overcome visual and psychological preconceptions and conditionings in order to find their particular photographic signature. Strictly speaking the teachings include portfolio reviews, focusing on the relevance of the picture in relation to a coherent narrative within a body of work, previously done research regarding topics presupposed. Lectures on contemporary photography are vital, students get introduced to current acclaimed positions and acquainted to the prominence of the photobook. They learn how to search for significant blogs and online magazines, where to submit their work, how to to get in touch and stay connected with the vibrant world of photography. Also history of photography is important, specially history of African photography as a key area, they have to be aware where they’re coming from, acknowledging their roots.
Students practices are ranging from documentary photography to journalism, up to staged imagery and subjective perceptions in an artistic context, as it will appear through the samples mentioned below, introducing their works and various backgrounds.
Sulayman Afose was born in 1990 in Lagos.
After attending “The Silent Majority Project” which aimed to positively affect the lives of people in their own environment through arts and photography, started by Adolphus Opara and Olusola Otori in Makoko in 2010, Sulayman developed an ongoing interest in photography. He graduated from Nigerian Institute of Journalism in 2013 and works as a documentary photographer and web-designer.
Confusion towards my life tells about Emmanuel Jidonu, who was ones a student of Aiyetoro senior grammar school in Ebute Metta Lagos. He lived with his parent for some time before he drop-out from school and left maternal care. Emmanuel found it difficult to survive as a young boy, finally he thought of becoming a business man without the support of anyone.
Aisha Adeyemi was born in 1991 in Lagos.
Before discovering photography as her leading medium she studied architecture at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Kumasi, Ghana. She was previously trained at West African Examinations Council in technical drawings and languages.
Shadow of the day deals with the inevitability of death and a specific case of suicide.
Anthony Monday was born in 1991 in Lagos.
He also took part in “The Silent Majority Project”, where he got introduced to photography. Since then he depicts social issues, concerning his home district Makoko. He was awarded with a Certificate of Excellency by Etisalat Communication company, Nigeria in 2010.
Mr. Gramaticalogylisationalism Is The Boss depicts the mindset of Nigerian political leaders for attaining government offices, which is seen as a medium for looting the nation’s income with their big grammars, which ordinary people do not understand.
Obuh Christopher Nelson was born in 1988 in Delta City.
He got in touch with photography a year before attending our classes and intends to move into journalism, starting up with an ambitious project, documenting the development of Eko Atlantic city.
No City for Poor Man
The Eko Atlantic city project started in 2010 when the Lagos state government attempted to reclaim 5 million square metres of land which was lost to the sea as a result of coastal erosion in the 50s. This sprawling land is about to be replaced by sky scrapers rising from the Atlantic Ocean. The new mega city will have 24 hours power supply provision, towers for security surveillance and 24 hours police presence and some other facilities which will be provided to the cities residence. Prior to this project, this settlement was home to thousands of less privileged Lagosians who made ends meet by engaging in petty trading. All of them were giving eviction notice, those who refused to leave had their belongings destroyed and thrown out to the streets. In the light of this event, the vast majority of Lagos’ inhabitants have been denied a chance to participate in the development of « modern society ».
Damilola Onafuwa was born in 1991 in Lagos.
He studied graphic design before becoming a photographer and opening up his own company called Dhammie concepts.
Granddad’s Possessions is a nostalgic approach to times when technics were not as advanced as today. Children are discovering their grandfathers goods, enjoying traveling back in time. One may question the rapid development of so called progress and where ceaseless production will lead to.
Ralph Eluehike was born in 1982 in Ndemili, Delta State.
He graduated from Ambrose Alli University, Edo State, Nigeria as a geophysicist in 2007 and moved to Lagos in 2008. In 2009, he gained a scholarship to acquire a Certificate in Creative New Media in School of Media and Communication, Pan Atlantic University. Meanwhile he’s running his own studio, making a living as a photographer.
There is an unrevealed story behind every image. A story that only the subjects can tell and no one else. It leaves the viewer in a random and wandering state. It’s a personal thing.
Rahima Gambo was born in 1986 in Yola Kohu, Adamawa State.
She has a master in Journalism from the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism from 2014, Gender and Social Policy from the London School of Economics gained in 2008 and a BA in Development Studies from the University of Manchester from 2007. Rahima completed a Magnum Foundation Emergency Fund Fellowship in 2014 and was awarded recently a grant by the International Women Journalist Foundation (Howard G. Buffet Fund) to pursue a long-term multimedia web project titled « Education is Forbidden » about students in Northeastern Nigeria, who have been impacted by the Boko Haram insurgency.
Back to Black is about the idea of transition. A point in someone’s life where things are shifting and changing either mentally or physically. It represents an in-between space that is fascinating in its ambiguity, something you can’t hold together in a definition. The series is a personal narrative about the ending of a relationship and its accompanying transformation. The images are about this strange, twilight space when a relationship is coming to an end.
We are aiming to promote students works widely. They will be displayed during LagosPhoto Festival, I will present our programme at Bamako Encounters and we are now collaborating with JournAfrica!, a news portal for journalism showing “The other image of Africa”. We will also participate in International Photo Festival Leiden and Camera Austria, an internationally acclaimed magazine for contemporary photography, will show an extensive article in their upcoming edition n. 132. Furthermore, I’m currently writing on LagosPhoto Summer School for Critical Interventions, the Journal of African Art History and Visual Culture, published by Sylvester Okwunodu Ogbechie.
Next to me, I do the main teachings, Ben Chislett instructs manual photography techniques and digital workflows.
Photographers based in Lagos, such as Abraham Oghobase and Uche Okpa-Iroha, director of Nlele Institute, an independent and autonomous art centre with focus on photography, video art and other lens/time based media, are invited as guest lecturers to present their works and give insights into the local photo scene.
Next classes will be held during LagosPhoto Festival from 19.10. – 28.10. 2015
For more information:
We’ve received funds by Federal Foreign Office, Germany, ifa – Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen and Goethe-Institut Nigeria to start up the project, containing the residency programme in the first year. The African Artists’ Foundation, founded in 2007 by Azu Nwagbogu, a non-profit organisation dedicated to the promotion and development of contemporary African art, is hosting the classes by offering space and facilities, and students are paying small fees for attending the teachings. For next year we’re planning a touring exhibition, catalog included, so we’re looking for funds to finance the project, moving on accordingly.
It has been a wonderful, rewarding experience so far and we’re constantly working on establishing an adequate educational structure for photography in Lagos.