INTERVIEW WITH PHOTOGRAPHER EXTRAODINARE RODNEY 'AVO' OMEOKACHIE

Monday, December 19, 2016

Hey beautiful people, how are y'all doing today? Hope great! So I am back again this week with another awesome interview with Photographer extraordinaire and Creative Director Rodney 'Avo'Omeokachie.

I got to see his work and find out about him for the first time months ago through another blogger Bella of I AM BROWNIE he took some really nice photos of her and that endeared me to want to find out about the man behind it all and I am more than excited that I got to interview him and that I am able to share his amazing and inspirational story with you guys as well as blow your minds with his breathe-taking photos, Have a good read guys.

DVF: So tell me about yourself and background?

Rodney: My name is Rodney 'Avo'  Omeokachie, growing up I was a troublemaker and now, it all makes sense cause I'm a troublemaker creatively. I was always suspicious of authority and the set way of doing things that attitude got me into a lot of trouble but as it turns out, there's a method to my madness.  I've always been creatively inclined -- I drew, I was in the choir , I painted,  I wrote all through high school, instead of studying. Obviously my grades suffered at the time, it seemed like the end of the world but look who's laughing now.  In college, I got into music. I rapped, I sang, I produced. I had my studio in my dorm, I had a group of friends who used to have fun with me making music. I also shot music videos for our songs, I had a Vlog and radio show, and I dabbled in graphic design. By my final year, I decided to focus on photography as my creative outlet, I decided to master it instead of being a jack of all trades and the rest as they say is history.

I've never put a limit on myself. Where most say, "I can only do this" , or "I could never do that", I try to collect as many skills as possible, adding them to my Arsenal. I believe the future belongs to those who can learn more than one skill and mix them in creative ways, the possibilities open up in many new ways and the benefits are unimaginable.  Being skilled at photography, retouching and writing opened up doors for me that I'd never have imagined. 

DVF: Tell me how and when you discovered your love for photography?

Rodney: Back in 2011, I bought the then popular Samsung Galaxy Note. It had a stunningly beautiful big bright screen and a nice camera. Taking pictures on that phone got me interested in photography. After I graduated in 2012, I purchased my first camera, the Samsung NX 1000.

DVF: When did you get into it professionally and how was it like for you as a newbie in the world of photography?

Rodney: After University in South Africa, I spent a year learning photography and Photoshop. I taught myself by reading e-books and watching countless YouTube tutorials.

For 9 months, I was very anti-social. I didn't have a job, I didn't go out much, except it was to practice what I had learnt. Those 9 months in 2012 are the most important of my career till date. I was eager to learn and learning came easily to me because I was genuinely interested. I became professional in 2014 after my NYSC.

 

DVF: Tell me what inspires you the most to take photos?

Rodney: At this point in my career, I don't need inspiration. I have goals, I have ideas, I have creative desires that must be satisfied. If I'm not working for a client, I am doing personal projects that mean a lot to me. I have a vision and I simply try to make it happen.

Earlier in my career, especially when I was learning, I was inspired by the work of other master photographers around the world.  Now, not so much. I have my own style, I have the skills and I have goals, so I just do my thing.

DVF: Do you have any mentors in photography?

Rodney: Tricky question. When I got back to Nigeria, I wanted a mentor. I reached out to Kelechi Amadi-Obi through my Aunt who went to school with him, but he wasn't having that so I moved on. Photographers whose works I tried to copy in the beginning were Annie Leibowitz, John Wilhelm, Aaron Nacer, Glynn Dewis and Reze Bonna to name a few but as far a physical mentor, I had none 

DVF: How did you know what style or genre of photography you wanted to venture into?  

Rodney: Well, I can do any kind of photography but I particularly like portraiture anything that involves people. I have a unique taste as to how a beautiful image should be and I apply that to every type of photography I shoot. That way, I don't limit myself and I can tackle most projects with ease. My extensive portfolio, which can be seen here www.behance.net/avodavinci or on my Instagram, has everything from landscapes to still life.  Some are heavily retouched, some are simply photography, Some are conceptual, some are realistic, Some are documentary and some are advertising. I just go with whatever I feel will allow me push my skills to the limit.

DVF:  While you were learning about photography back in 2012 what aspect of it did you find most challenging?

Rodney: The biggest challenge was myself. I was alone most of the time and I had a lot of free time so there were days I would get easily bored or demotivated... And that's the thing about passion it keeps you going when no one can blame you for quitting.  

DVF:What has your experience generally been working with people/brands or models... how do you handle cases where people you're working with are making it difficult for you to do your job properly? 

Rodney: It's simple. I compensate for the shortcomings of others by planning well and being aware that it is in our nature to disappoint each other. As a result, I've grown extremely patient. Bigger brands are more organized and know the value of my time. Smaller brands tend to be more disorganized. In general, as long as human beings are involved, I try to stay above it all. 

DVF: What can you say photography has allowed you to do that generally on your own you wouldn't have done? 

Rodney: Photography has allowed me to see. Over time, you develop a set of eyes that see things very differently, both literally and figuratively. In photography, there's a saying "it's not about what you look at, it's about what you see'' .

As a result, i'm good at reading people, judging characters, seeing opportunities and more,

If you could see the world from my eyes, if you could see what I see... 

DVF: To you what is the craziest thing about being a photographer? 

Rodney: This takes me back to the eyes thing. It's crazy how no two photographers would see and shoot the same way. I'm not referring to amateurs who are still in the copycat phase, who haven't found their style. I'm referring to photographers who know what they're doing. No two experienced photographers can produce the same work that's why the craft continues to thrive. Photographers keep finding new, exciting ways to create or document the same subject matter and that's what people pay for our unique point of view and style.

DVF: To you what is the most outstanding feature or quality that every or most of your photos posses that is unique to your photography?

Rodney: Dramatic lighting, I'm not as obsessed with perfectly exposed images as most photographers, most of my images have lighting effects that add drama to the image. It's something that stays constant no matter the genre of photography I shoot. 

 
DVF: There are obviously lots of amazing photographers in Nigeria, if you had the opportunity to, which photographer would you like to work with or collaborate with based on the fact that his/her work as a photographer speaks to your photo-graphical mind?

Rodney: I'd like to work with Gottay Photography. Gottay and I have worked together in the past and I always learn something from him. Every time we work together we always do something epic. We have similar tastes in photography and we help each other grow, that's more valuable than working with someone because they're celebrity.

 

DVF: Yes Gottay is great, I found out about his work recently when I interviewed a make up artist he frequently works with MakeupbyJaru who I also recently interviewed and I do see the similarity in both of your work, now I want to go off photography for a little bit and ask you some random questions. Okay so what's your favorite color?

Rodney: Favorite color is Red, started from childhood when I was obsessed with the Red Power Ranger

DVF: What's your favorite food?

Rodney: Favorite food is anything with chicken. Fried, grilled, boiled, roasted, shredded, wings, etc. I cannot go wrong with chicken. 

DVF: Where is the most awkward place or position you have been in when you got inspiration for a photo?

Rodney:  In church. I was about to receive Holy Communion when inspiration struck, call it divine intervention. 

DVF: Haha, very funny. Tell me what fashion means to you and how would you describe your style?

Rodney: Fashion is not something I think much about, honestly. I know what looks good, I appreciate what looks good on others but it's not something I give much mental space to and that reflects in my style.  Sometimes I just throw on whatever is the first thing I see in my closet other times, when the occasion calls for it, I put a little more effort and I come out swagging. 

Recently though, I've been collecting jewelry, rings, bracelets and necklaces. I like those a lot, I have a ring for every finger, necklaces for collars, v-necks, u-necks, turtlenecks and even when I want to show some chest (laughs).  Accessories have a way of making even the most ordinary outfit stand out.

DVF: What is the most stylish outfit or look you personally think you have ever worn?

Rodney: Unfortunately, I don't have a lot of photos of myself not to talk of when I'm swagged out so the attached image will have to do.

DVF: Yes, that's actually something I have always been curious about, how is it that photographers rarely are people with lots of photos? How is it possible that people who are immersed in the world of photography rarely have lots of photos of themselves?

Rodney:  I can't speak for everyone but it's just one of those things, spending a lot of time behind the camera usually makes one desensitized to being in front of it.

DVF: What genre or aspect of photography have you not ventured into that you would like to give a try?

Rodney: Drone/aerial photography, I don't wanna touch somebody's drone before I crash it and put myself in a weird situation. I'd rather wait till I get mine and then go HAM

DVF:When you are capturing an image at that moment what are the thoughts going through your head and what do you focus on the most?

Rodney: It varies, really. If it's a subject or a concept that I've shot a number of times in the past, I'm not as engaged, I just use muscle memory and shoot away, confident that I must have captured something decent. But if it's a new location, concept, subject or gear, that's when I'm fully engaged. I'm trying out new things, being conscious of the whole process, and being fully in the moment. I'm sure it's the same thing with most photographers. The more you shoot something, the less intense your focus is and you just leave everything to the sub conscious, while new situations make one alert and very involved.

 DVF: What technology/software/camera gear do you use and why have you chosen them?

 Rodney:  Earlier in my career I couldn't afford the best gear so I compensated by having the best software and a high IQ for retouching, meaning, I would make up for the shortcomings in my camera by being really good at editing and using natural lighting. These days, those habits have remained even though I have better gear.

My primary shooter is a Canon 7D MKII and my secondary shooter is a Samsung NX300. My workflow involves Photoshop and Lightroom as the two main software. The Canon is bulky and good in predictable situations where I don't have to worry about mobility. The Samsung is more compact and portable so it's excellent for spur of the moment shots.

 DVF: What has been a really high point in your career and a not so great time?

 Rodney: High point: Getting an invite by a gallery based in London to exhibit for their festival in 2015. Low Point: Having my gear stolen in 2015, let's just say 2015 was a weird year.

DVF: And finally what do you see as the future of your brand as a photographer?

Rodney: The future is to keep ''Working on Excellence'' (WOE). It's a sort of a motto or mantra I keep close as I go about my day. The brand is dedicated to helping my clients reach their creative goals by supplying them with great imagery, people underestimate the power of a good image and why it is so expensive. I want to keep putting out good stuff that makes it easier for the next generation to do their thing. I believe in doing the little things that allow others do the big things they're destined to do.


DVF: That's amazing, I am truly in awe, honestly. Thanks alot for this very enlightening interview and I hope I get the chance to work with you some day lol

Rodney: I'm glad. I enjoyed replying to your questions as well. Thanks for approaching me.

FOLLOW RODNEY ON INSTAGRAM AND ON FACEBOOK AND KEEP UP WITH ALL HIS AMAZING WORK HERE  & ALSO CHECK OUT HIS YOUTUBE CHANNEL BELOW

 

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