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How Do Nigerian Documentary Photographers Make Mon...

How Do Nigerian Documentary Photographers Make Money?

In a largely populated country like Nigeria, one which is blessed with abundance of talents scattered all over the fast-developing digital photography industry, many would think that all photographers are presented with similar opportunities but such is not the case.

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Generally, the primary goal for entrepreneurs and photographers alike is not only to be successful in their profession but to have enough financial power to show for the value they create. Therefore, among the various types of photographers in Nigeria, wedding photographers are predominant and the reason is obvious. There will always be a wedding ceremony every seven days and photographers are usually not short in demand and supply.

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However, it is important to note that unlike other types of photographers, Documentary photographers are adventurers who shoot vital images that are usually exclusive to them and always remain relevant in terms of the history of a people, culture, country, and the world. Some of the ways they make money include daring to be different, making their shoots creative, unique, engaging social media influencers, models, celebrities, individuals, politicians, communities, states, and countries in photoshoots that reflect critical moments in their lives. Based on the value created in documentary photography, the works of a documentary photographer easily go viral, and this helps to increase their demand and worth.

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In an interview with Adedayo Adejobi of THISDAY Newspapers, Nigerian-born, British-trained documentary, inventive photographer, and commercial photographer, Dayo Adedayo, when asked

“What informed your documenting Nigeria in pictures”? He responded this way “Through my work, I try to portray my country in a good light. Six years ago, if you Googled, you wouldn’t see any decent picture of Nigeria on the Internet. All over the world, pictures taken and used in the media, were done by the Europeans and Americans and not by Nigerians. How would the white man know my house more than I do? Unfortunately, the government is not seeing it that way because Nigeria is the most difficult to photograph place in the world. Immediately, you bring out a camera, civilians, paramilitary, and military officers get offensive. We can’t all be politicians, journalists, and doctors. I am a photographer and that’s all I will do till I die. That’s my contribution to Nigeria. Since the creation of Nigeria, nobody in history has ever done what I am doing. Nobody has travelled the whole country without a penny from government of our country. I will take that to my grave. The country has been kind to me because if you carry a Nigerian passport today, my works are on the pages of the Nigerian passport, and whoever is travelling today across Nigeria is carrying my work. If you have the N100 note, which doubles as Nigeria’s first digital currency, most of the pictures are my work. And so, for me, if I die today, I can say, ‘yes I have made a mark’ and people coming behind should be able to do better than that.”

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Nyancho Nwanri, a documentary photographer says:

“We make money from assignments, I believe. If an organisation commissions me to do a project/document something. Publishing as well, news agencies, magazines, papers.”

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Image Source: Nyancho Nwanri and Yagazie Emezi

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