Opeoluwa Olorode: "Photography is Drawing with Light"

If you don't draw with light, you are not a photographer, you are simply taking pictures. That is definitely the conviction of this talented Nigerian photographer we feature today.

Can you introduce yourself to our readers? Who are you?
My name is Opeoluwa Olorode. I am a portrait, fine art and editorial photographer based in Lagos, Nigeria. I am also the creative director at Otraphotography which is also based in Lagos Nigeria.

Tell us about your story as a photographer. How did it start?
My journey as a photographer started when I was in secondary school. My love for taking photographs of things, people and places in different ways was just there in my subconscious. I never knew I was going to make it a career. Every now and then I dropped the camera to do something else, I always found myself back to the camera. Then, in 2013, I finally took it up. It took a lot of mistakes to get to where I am today. I'm still making some because I'm still learning. Luckily, they are just not the ones I used to make.

family portrait by opeoluwa olorode

#FamilyPortrait | © Opeoluwa Olorode

What type of photography are you into? why?
I do all kinds of photography depending on the story I want to tell. But, it tends to be more of portraiture and fine art simply because many people at some points of their lives fantasize being different. Some succeed, others do not because of the circumstances. My aim as a portrait photographer is to make their fantasy come to life, even if it is only for a few hours in front of my camera. For those who are satisfied with who they are, I also love to photograph them in the full glory of who they really are and what they have come to be.
For fine art and editorial, I'm not good with words. I prefer showing what I am thinking as to why I had to shoot what I have shot. In a nutshell, almost all my images have a story around them.

What are you looking in a model when shooting a portrait?
What I look is the ability to literally interpret the idea behind the shoot. As the title implies, a model is supposed to portray the character chosen by the artist. So that ability to make imaginations come to life through their flexibility in thoughts and actions does it for me.

baby portrait by opeoluwa olorode

#GrownUpKid | © Opeoluwa Olorode

You play a lot with light and shadow effects, why?
I love drama! I love my images to make an impression. Whether people feel comfortable with them or not, they must make an impression, good or bad. That is why it is called art. And to me, photography is drawing with light. In my opinion, if you don't draw with light, it is not a photography, it just a picture.

There is this common say: ‘’men come into photography because of the girls’’ what is your answer to that?
(Laughter) And women come into photography for what? This is the first time I'm hearing that. The one I have heard is “people come into photography for the money”. About the women thing, I can only speak for myself and the answer is NO.

Do you think it is cliché to say that a great part of African photography today is about women and makeup?
Honestly, the truth of the matter is that it is the world we live in. Though it might not be a true statement depending on the genre of photography one is into.

model by opeoluwa olorode

#BeautyMermaid | © Opeoluwa Olorode

Where do you find your inspiration?
My inspiration comes from everywhere you can possibly imagine. From movies to songs to chatting with people, to personal experiences, even from other people's works. You name it, anywhere, it is not limited.

Tell us more about one of your best shots? Why does it stand out?
My best shot is the next one I'm going to make. This because I know better than the last good shot I made. I love all my works, especially personal projects.

Your definition of the perfect shot?
It is that one that captures the essence of the shoot and interprets itself to the viewer.

Tell us about your portfolio, people you have worked with, recognition or awards won.
Most of the images in my portfolio are editorials and portraits and most of them have a story behind them.
I have worked with photographers like Abu Salami, Ahmed Moore, Tobi Olajolo to mention. They are all based in Nigeria. I have also worked with other creatives here in Nigeria. I won't mind taking it out of the shores of the country and explore.
As for recognition and awards, none yet.

lady in the woods by opeoluwa olorode

#BlackAmazon | © Opeoluwa Olorode

Some people believe photography can be used as a tool for change. Do you agree? How can it serve that purpose?
Yes, it can be used as a tool for change. When you go to the western world and talk about Africa, the first thing that comes to their mind is suffering, hunger, and poverty. What happens to the beautiful places we have? That Is where photography comes into play. The superpower of photographers is to make people see what they want them to see. That is one of the sweetest parts of that job, bringing what you imagine to live.

Do you want to see more from Opeoluwa? Check him on Instagram and Facebook.


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