Arts & Entertainment

Photography With Finesse

Michael Imomoh, popularly known as ‘The Fotobiker’ is one of the most sought-after photographers in Nigeria. In a chat with
Lukmon Oloyede, he spoke on the future of photography and its potentials for the market
Digital photography is one of the best things that technology has brought to mankind. Before the invention of photography around 1840, the production of visual imagery was the monopoly of artists – a few individuals who possessed the ability to replicate images by hand. With the invention
of a mechanical instrument capable of reproducing reality not once, but many times over, a new image era was born.
As a means of visual communication and expression, photography has distinct aesthetic capabilities. In today’s society, photography plays important roles in our visual minds. It commands a special status with the capacity to truthfully record history. Besides being a tool for recording personal moments in someone’s life, photography has become an extraordinary tool for advertising, news reporting, science, politics and various forms of entertainment.
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Photographic images, especially in this digital era, influence what we buy, help scientists project new theories, make politicians gain our support. The emergence of Smart phones, mobile devices, and tablets has affected photography in a myriad of ways both positive and negative.
In Nigeria, the diverse use of photography is growing in popularity. Talented photographers are gaining a strong foothold in the photography business in the country, thanks to her population and increasing patronage. While many professionals and amateurs mainly focus on Weddings, Fashion/
Studio, Portrait photography, Michael Imomoh, CEO of Michael Imomoh Photography popularly known as ‘The Fotobiker’ has called on photographers to think out of the box. By looking for ways to exploit other genre of photography such as aerial, underwater, architectural, wildlife, cloudscape, landscape and sports which are gaining more commercial attention globally.
In a chat with BrandiQ during the Nikon Nigeria Photo Summit held recently in Lagos, Imomoh said the sphere of photography is expanding although the industry is in the midst of a huge change. “Most new or aspiring photographers are generalists with very little quality consistency and no business experience whatsoever. They’ll shoot anything that allows them to, they will undercharge, and most of them will burn out in a year or two and leave the industry with very little effect for established professionals.
In Imomoh’s words, “Nigerians love taking pictures, but we are yet to fully harness the business opportunities of photography. A lot of photographers are afraid to think outside the box. Most times they just come and follow what they see in the industry. Also, the economic challenges also play a role. Basically, what a lot of photographers need in Nigeria is mentorship and training to be able to stretch the opportunities. Most Nigerian photographers focus on wedding and fashion. I think it’s time we go out and think of how we can meet up with global photography chances.”
Speaking on how photographers can make it big in Nigeria, Imomoh recommended the strategy of aggressive differentiation. He also agreed that the future of the industry in Nigeria is quite bright. “There will be plenty of new photographers who are going to come in strong, with high-quality images, with sustainable and profitable pricing, business savvy, and who are going to quickly join the ranks of successful professional photographers. These are the types of new photographers who we need to connect with and get to know, because they are going to be an asset to the photography industry. In Nigeria, a new generation of photographers is emerging”, he said.
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Imomoh created a niche for himself in the photography industry by turning the horrific traffic jam in Lagos to his advantage – procuring a power bike which enables him to deliver his job in no time. This, according to him made him stand out and also made him register his bike as ‘Fotobiker’. He explains further: “my style of photography is to be adventurous. My bike is part of my style; that makes me stand out in the industry. I started driving a power bike when I was living in FESTAC Town and the road from Mile 2 was very bad so because I have always been a fan of Moto GP, the bike race; so I decided to buy my own bike in 2008 and since that was just a year after I started my photography, many people banked on me because they know that I get to their events in a jiffy because I can easily avoid traffic so I became popular with it.
“To me, biking is freedom and photography is more freedom. So I wanted something that I can merge with the two things I love together so I came up with ‘Photo Biker’. The plate number of my bike is ‘foto’. I thought of it that – why not take pictures while on my bike? So I bought a helmet and place my camera on it. Therefore, my bike and camera became part of me. I have been driving my bike all across Nigeria”.
While studying Computer Science at Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye, Ogun State, his passion thrived in photography and before graduating from school he developed his technical, creative, and composition skills to become a professional. Today, very few photographers can outdo his works especially in street photography. Imomoh has had competent exposure in event photography by working on mega projects like MTV Base Nigeria, Akon’s Concert and Gulder Ultimate Search. He has also been retained as an event photographer on several brand activations for Samsung, Dana Air, NIMN, and Nigerian Breweries.
In September this year, Imomoh embarked on a project tagged: “The Footbiker’s 6 Days in 6 States”. He kicked off the tour from Ikeja, Lagos, on 13th September and completed it in Ado Ekiti on 18th September having visited Ogun, Oyo, Osun and Ondo states respectively.
According to him, the essence of the ride was to cover some beautiful, captivating, and storytelling images of unique places in the 6 states in the six geo political zones of Nigeria. He is also planning for an exhibition of the photo shot later this year. And a visit to other regions of the country in the future.
On his advise to talent photographers, Imomoh urged them to network with other successful professional photographers through online communities and form partnerships that can help them grow.

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