As a documentary photographer in northern Nigeria, I noticed that not many people understand that the power of photography can change the narratives in our society. So my team and I at Enovatelab, an organization for creatives and problem solvers who are tackling local challenges by using an innovative approach organized a three days Photocamp. We wanted to tell our community that there is more to photography than weddings and portraits which is more common. We wanted people to tell counter-narrative stories about happenings around them, we wanted them to show the beauty of their environment. Our goal was to open the eyes of people and photography enthusiast to opportunities like a product, sports, macro, urban photography and the likes.
Planning the Photocamp was not easy, that I must confess. However, it opened my eyes to the endless power in partnerships and collaborations. We had to look for the best people who will share our goal and understand why we are doing what we are doing. Luckily, Global Shapers Community Kano sponsored thirteen people to the Photocamp. We got the rest through publicity online and a little mix of traditional advertisements. On April 20th, 2018 my company launched Photocamp Kano, the first of its kind. I gave a welcome speech and introduced the facilitators. The first day was centered around camera settings, controls, lens and lighting. The facilitators showed them the camera and how to change settings in different modes and environments, they also showed participants the types of lenses and how to use them. Lighting was also part of the session and participants were amazed by how light forms perhaps the most crucial part of photography.
The second day was my favorite, guess why? We had a photo walk to amazing and cool places in the city. When I say cool I mean really awesome places rich in history and culture. We visited Gidan Makama which has since been turned into a national museum. While there I saw how the ancient Kano kingdom protected itself with gates surrounding the city. I heard it took thirty thousand (30,000) men to bring one of the gates down during an attack on the city. Don’t ask me for facts, that’s what I heard. It was quite sunny that day so we left for Gidan Dan Hausa, another historic site. I also heard it was the first building in northern Nigeria. We took some really nice pictures and moved into the streets to learn more streets photography lessons. Facilitators did a good job with each participant getting a one on one guidance on the best settings to use and the best positions to take breathtaking photos. One of the facilitators demonstrated this by lying on the floor to take pictures.
The highlight of day two was lunch together with all the participants including our chauffeur. It gave the photo walk a sense of oneness which was particularly what we wanted to achieve, a community of photographers who share and interact with each other in a friendly and respectable manner. After lunch, we visited Kano Dye Pits. One of the reasons the Dye Pits are unique is the fact that it was established more than 500 years ago. “Everybody you see here inherited this business, pit after pit from one generation to another for more than five centuries”, said Haruna who was the only one that could speak English among them. We explored the different type of pits including why their depth differs. In one occasion a participant almost fell into a pit and Haruna jokingly said, “Don’t worry, even if you fall inside the liquid is drinkable and will do you no harm”. We all laughed and continued our tour.
We left the Dye Pits some minutes after 4 pm. Our next destination was the Dala Hills (Dutsen Dala). Legend has it that the first settlers (Maguzawa) arrived at Dala (Ancient Kano) and that they once lived a goddess (Tsumburbura) and a priest (Barbushe) who the first settlers worshiped and made sacrifices to. One will argue if these legends are true, looking at the way Islam has engulfed and entrenched its roots into the Kano society for centuries. The view from the city was just out of this world, words cannot explain it but cameras do. Abeg look at these beautiful pictures below. Well, let’s just summarized what I saw with more of the pictures.
Ah! Laifin Dadi Karewa, meaning “The crime of joy is its ending” or at least something close to that translation. My point is the last day was about how to edit pictures from the second day using softwares like Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom. We had the facilitators also talk about the business side of photography and all the other areas our participants could explore. Emphasis was also laid on ethics and professionalism in the trade. We wrapped up with each participant receiving a certificate. We had some of our sponsors and partners also help give out the certificates. Just as the final click of the camera was taken, I couldn’t help but to give a sigh of relief and nod my head in gratitude. We did it, my team and I had made history and which is more we’ve created memories for people, memories that will last a lifetime. This no doubt is one of my greatest achievements this year, the thrill of impacting people can only be compared to the joy a mother feels when she holds her baby for the first time.