Born on the 5th of June 1996 to Rev. Ben Alawode and Mrs Juliana Alawode in abule egba, attended Elias Nursery and Primary school before proceeding to receive his secondary school leaving certificate in 2013 at St. Joseph Secondary School,Agege. While In secondary school he developed an affection towards photography and started by taking pictures for his classmates with his Nokia 2700, and Naijavibe got the opportunity to have a close interview with the young,talented and also the executive director of Peter Alawode Photography and co-founder of Rex Media… Read the interview below
Can we meet you?
Can we get to know about your family?
Son to a retired civil engineer and business woman, Am the last born of 3, I attended Elias international nursery and primary school then went to St. Joseph secondary school, Agege.
What does photography mean to you?
Photography means Arts! It’s not an Avenue for strangers to make quick money, it’s a way to draw. Back as I kid, I was always jealous of my elder sister who could draw well and I was a poor fine arts student but now photography has given me a way to draw out my feelings just by a second click of the shutter
One of the main discussions about photographers is the use of digital cameras,do you use digital cameras?
As a photographer,do you need to connect yourself with your subject to bring out their true self?
Connecting myself with my subject is based on the scene and my reason for taking the image, if for example am shooting with a model, definitely I will connect but if its my candid portraits, it’s candid because am not asking for deliberate postures so most people don’t know am taking the image. As for my genre, Street photography, it’s optional to connect with your subject, if I find you interesting and with a cool face, I’ll approach you but in this part of the world, people are in a hurry and so don’t always have time for you and what they term jobless pictures
How well did your parents support or reprimand you for your chosen career?
My parents have been supportive from day 1,when I was seven I had a film camera, so you can see where my inspiration came from
For we that do not have an idea of photography, how do you set up a portrait?
Portraits are simple, set up your camera or any other device in that orientation then watch out for your edges, try to balance your subject in the frame, not making the person look small or cutting off his/her arm of head
You said something about street photography, so inspired you in that line of photography and what does street photography mean?
Street photography means documenting humanity. If there was nobody to take a photograph of Lagos in the 1950’s then we the new generation would not know what cars were used for then, *smiles* and of course how people dressed etc. So to keep it short and simple, documenting humanity. I got attracted into the genre when I bought my dslr, I needed to do something different than the random photographer. I’ve been able to document what I love most about my people everyday because of that bold step into the street. I am more social now, interact with everyone on the street
Going through your pictures, I see your love for black and white pictures, so how does black and white vs colour play into your work?
Black and white is the code of every Street photographer, I shoot colour too but black and white is needed in some images to bring beauty, images that talk about ancient times, or someone in our modern day acting like an old person. But I do take colours too, once I find the color combinations in the subject and background being complimentary I leave it coloured
What were the difficulties you encountered when you first started street photography?
Firstly, going out and getting close was a big problem, I started shooting from my comfort zone, in a public bus, I’ll sit by the window and do the Magic there, I got a few good images but I had lots of shitty ones. After overcoming fear, I had to face problem two, confrontations from people. “why are you taking my photo”, “who are you?” I just had to use my age to my advantage, am young so therefore I look harmless with the images I also made an ID card for other purposes
That’s a good way to overcome difficulties,so aside photography,what other things are you into?
Aside photography, am a video editor and television cameraman, work on the Nigerian Content and Monitoring Board weekly program, Nigerian Content weekly as the cameraman and assistant editor between November and March, I also sing and play the piano all which I got the skills at tenstrings music Institute, Nigeria’s best private music school
As a young aspiring photographer,have you had the opportunity to take pictures of celebrities and who?
I’ve had the pleasure of photographing Tolu of Mavin Records, Zik Zulu Okafor the president of Nigerian movie producers association, Baby fresh of mavin, amongst others.
Who is/are your role model(s)?
In the photography industry it’s definitely Bayo Omoboriowo, official photographer of Gen Muhammad Buhari, he’s gentle and advices me frequently then I’ve got jide Odukoya. Also Eric Kim who’s an international Street photographer also educating me frequently
How do you see the future of street photography in Nigeria?
I see Street photography in Nigeria getting to its peak before 2050. I’ve met over 3 other amateur Street photographers this year and I believe with time, it’s gonna increase. People appreciate my images and laugh at them cos I take it with a comic view or sometimes I connect into emotional realms and this drive the viewers to their heart roots
Are you going to take photography as a permanent career?
It’s already a career for me, but I’ll take it permanently when I’ve gotten all I need and I’ve discovered that I’ve got a standard monthly income from it that can keep family going
Word of advice for those with passion for photography
“keep shooting, shoot till you have taken that image that says, WAOH”
Oh really,well I hope when I call you to take a photo of me,you won’t hesitate?
Sure I won’t
Its been very wonderful and nice having this great interview with you.. At least I now have a full knowledge of what street photography is.. *smiles*
It’s my pleasure
Follow him on Twitter @PeterAlawode on instagram @PeterAlawode and www.peteralawode.wordpress.com
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