By Daniel Alfred
Photography in recent time has been transformed to a laudable career but to many, it still remains the road side kind of job and business for the layman. This is following its initial practice where individual disregards its practitioners.
But today, the case is different because photography has began to command so much respect despite the fact that so many in the business never passed through the four walls of a class room.
In this case of John Kelechi Nmadueke popularly known by friends as “John the beloved and not the beheaded”, a nickname given to him from the story of John the Baptist in the Bible in which he uses as stage, as a musician.
Speaking on his life as photographer, the Imo state born, said he is indeed a photographer but have taken photography as a hubby as he only uses it to sponsor himself and his music career.
The young man in his early thirties recounts his earlier days before venturing into the world of photography as he describes his life as a life God is specially interested in.
According to him, “ It all started in 1999 when I first came to Lagos, I knew no one and was going to no bodies house. I left the village for Port-Harcourt and later to Lagos. On getting to Lagos, where the bus I boarded stopped me, was where I began my life.
I hawked water on the street and went around with touts just to make a living because I knew no one until I was able to get in contact with a church where I played instrument, that was how life for me kicked off haven learnt to survive in a world of no mother and father haven left them in the village to find a life more favourable in th city. As for my photography skills, I didn’t learn it from any body.
It all started when I lost my job, then I was working with a company but later began to have problems with the company and I was hearing the voice of God telling me to quit the job and start up my music (Gospel). After my resignation, I had nothing doing then so I was looking for something to do but to no avail. God finally used my former Pastor who gave me a picture camera. The camera was bad and he ask me to see if I can put it together and if I can, I should go ahead and take it. So, I collected it, repaired it, tested and found it was good.
I took a shot with it, printed it out and it was good. That became the beginning of photography in my life as I have ever since used it to cater for myself.
Not with standing the fact that every thing about life is full of challenges, he never failed to recount his as the cruel intimidation he faced from other photographers being, that he started photography from the scratch and knew little about the business
“ I never served any one and never went through any training. I just had the believe that I could do it myself and I believed that God will help me and that I can do it through Christ and ever since, I kept meeting different kinds person in the business. Some where kind to explain certain things to me and some who bullied me, saying that they spent a whole lot of money learning and have not come to teach some one else for free. I tried as much as possible amongst all the humiliation to make sure I get something good, so that at the end of the daypeople will see my job and accept it.
And ever since the sky has not only been my limit because right now as I speak, the business, I mean the wait and g et kind of photography popularly known as PAPAPA in Yoruba palance, has helped me in raising enough money to facilitate my music and as well put food on my table. I thank God for the Pa-pa-pa, it really helped me a whole lot and most times it is where I get money to help my other life activities”
He further added, speaking on his income rate on daily basis. “At times I make a lot of profit because one thing about the wait and take kind of photography is being courageous. We make a lot of profit from the business and in most cases, the reverse is the case.
And when you use analogue camera with film inside, you can use up about eight roles and that day you will make about 20,000 naira a day as profit, that is if God is really on your side.
But at times you loose because it is a game of risk. Most times when you come across an event where you have too many photographer, you will struggle and may end up snapping only one role which might end up giving you about three thousand naira a day. Though at times you end up not making any profit. It is just a game for the brave mind. We have to shuttle from the place of event to the lab and most times the labs are not usually very close to the place of event.
And because you don’t want to loose out, you must take the risk involved to make sure you get the pictures to the owners before the end of that days event. At times when we get to the lab and the lab is filled up, we have no choice than to take the fate in which ever way it comes”.
“We usually don’t get invites for events, we just search for places where event takes place and we just start snapping.
If they like you, they will snap from you and if not, you keep trying.
The business is really not an easy one and despite the fact that it is just a hobby for me, I don’t think I will give it up at all. Rather when I become famous, I will like to establish the business in a bigger way and use it to support my musical career”. He said.