THROUGH ERNEST'S EYES

Wednesday, February 07, 2018



Hey beautiful people, how are you all doing today?... Hope great! Welcome back here and if it's your first time? Welcome to The DvfStyleCollective, today I have a brilliant new interview that I could hardly wait till I could post it and share this goodness with you guys. 

I first found out about Ernest and his photography brand ShotByErnest when we followed each other on Instagram. Overtime I began to notice how strikingly beautiful his photos are and then I just couldn't stay away (laughs) I basically began to stalk his page, in a sea full of plenteous photography power houses in Nigeria, Ernest has managed to stand out , as a fast rising star photographer, his Nigerian celebrity customer base is certainly more than a hand full, in a short amount of time he has carved a niche for himself in photography, his photos seek to capture the very essence of every moment and I am super stoked to share my inspirational interview with him, here with you guys..... Have a lovely read everyone.

DVF: Welcome to the DvfstyleCollective Ernest, please tell me about yourself ?

Ernest: I like to think of myself as a purpose driven young man who is capable of choosing not to settle for less and relentless at chasing his dreams.

DVF: What was growing up like for you ? 

Ernest: Interesting. I grew up in Lagos surrounded by four (4 ) siblings and the most supportive parents, I would love to say it was normal but there were certain events that took place that turned life around for me negatively. I look back most times and I realize how different things were and how far I have come.

DVF: What kind of kid were you ? 

Ernest: Haha, I was rather stubborn to say the least, extremely energetic and full of misused creativity

DVF: When did you discover your love for photography?

Ernest: Roughly about eight (8) years ago when I was studying temporarily at ABU ZARIA

DVF: Was there a moment of epiphany or was it a love that grew over time ?

Ernest: It definitely grew over time, I mean I had instant interest but I wouldn’t describe it as love or passion. It was more or less a pass-time thing until I realized that this was an art that had longevity and could be used for self expression

DVF: What were your first steps towards chasing this career path?

Ernest: My friend Darlington Amadi occasionally lent his camera to me and I spent nights online trying to learn and develop basic skills. I also had to learn to push myself in other to take it from being just a passion to a sustainable career.

DVF: Tell me about your first camera and your early experiences as a newbie in the world of photography ?

Ernest: I saved up enough from my pocket money to buy a Sony Cybershot camera which cost about a 100 dollars , which I can promise I thought my photography game will change. In my mind I had gotten the best out of the best, the biggest meat in the pot of soup. I got the camera and started with nature photography. Nature is beautiful in itself and I couldn’t critic my work which made it an easy prey, when ever I got criticised then i would go out and snap a tree or bush and praise my angles and lighting

DVF: Any photography influences or mentors you look up to ?

Ernest: My all time fave is Tim Tadder , his work is effortlessly clean and incomparable, but there are a couple of others like Joel Grimes and Tobbinator

DVF: What were your major challenges when you began ?

Ernest: I
always felt like I wasn’t doing the best that I could with the opportunities that were given to me. I also had issues with.... say event photography , each moment moves by so fast that it takes a lot of wit and patience to capture the ones that are most memorable.

So the idea that the responsibility of making a moment last forever was placed in my hands filled me with fear at first. 

Now, I take each event as it comes and i’ve learned to calculate every moment even before it happens.

DVF: So how did you know the area or areas of photography that you wanted to venture into?

Ernest: You never really plan these things, with time you will find yourself engaging in a certain field and generating a lot of happiness from it and a lot of money. When four (4) hours of work seems like 20 minutes, then you have found your sphere

DVF: How would you describe your body of work, seeing that you do or have done a whole lot of diverse styles of photography ?

Ernest: Hmmm, I love to document events, so.... I would describe it as a body of work that's more documentary but infused with fashion photography

DVF: What is your favourite area of photography and why ?

Ernest: Definitely documentary shoots, when I do them, it brings with it a very happy and fulfilling feeling

DVF: You have worked with a whole lot celebrities in the Nigerian entertainment industry, which of them was the first?

Ernest: Crazeclown, A close friend of mine in med school introduced us and that's where it all started   

DVF: As I mentioned earlier, you have photographed a great deal of our celebrities, have you ever been star struck by any of them and if yes how was the whole experience like for you ?

WIZKID
BOVI
FALZ
SIMI
Ernest: Of course, all of them. God has done it all in a way that I have been able to work for the Kings and Queens as for the experience, it's always nothing short of mind blowing

OMAWUMI

BASKETMOUTH

RITA DOMINIC

DVF: You work alot with, and have also been on tour with Toke Makinwa for her book launch, from your own perspective as a photographer what was the experience like and what did you take out of it ? 

TOKE MAKINWA

Ernest: It was wonderful, Toke is more than what she seems on social media. She has an amazing personality, What I learned from it? Try make every shot count and if you will fly within Nigeria fly Med view (laughs)

 

DVF: What aspect of photography have you not tried or done before but you would absolutely love to venture into someday ?

Ernest: Product/Advert photography, I hope to eventually end up doing more of that

DVF: When you were learning about photography, what aspect of it did you find most challenging during this learning period ?

Ernest: Definitely posing the models, I remember downloading a PDF file with over 1000 poses and literally trying out all the poses on my then roommate Danjuma (laughs)

DVF: What has your experience been generally with people, models and brands also how do you handle situations where people that you're working with are making it difficult for you to do your job efficiently ?  

Ernest: My experience can not really be defined, some people are amazing, I mean you walk in on set and you are captivated by their aura, but some are not so easy to work around. I won’t say that I handle the “not so easy” clients well everytime, some get under my skin to be honest, I am only human

DVF: What can you say being a photographer has allowed you to discover about yourself that without photography, you wouldn't have known that you even had in you ?

Ernest: Hmm... that'll be that I have an eye for detail I guess, becoming a photographer made me realise that

 DVF: After a shoot yeah? How do you select the photos that make the final cut, is there a routine selection process that you go through or do you let the people/person you shot to select for themselves ?

Ernest: (Laughs) , culling you mean. It really depends on the type of shoot, is it a paid shoot or a project of mine ? My vision or theirs ? is the shoot sensitive to the client ? Say for example, I would not do say a nude shoot and go ahead to pick the pictures myself (laughs)         

DVF: (Laughs) true, I know that you have obviously done a whole lot of shoots and taken loads of photos but if you were to select a particular shoot from the totality of your current body of work... which shoot will that be and why ?

Ernest: Wow, this is a tough one..uhmmm definitely I would pick my Makoko pictures. Why? I love kids 

and that project gave me a week of bonding with kids that don't have the luxury of things that we take for granted.

Makoko is a neighbourhood across the 3rd Mainland Bridge located on the coast of mainland Lagos.
My going there was basically just a way of connecting with my purpose as a photographer, and when I got there I did make a connection which made it alot more difficult for me to shoot.

I met with a kid named Femi, Femi at the time would have been roughly six (6) years old, but he already understood the depths of poverty and suffering, the branches of it and even the crime aspect of it and they were many more kids like him. But what's beautiful is that even with all of that suffering, they are still able to dream, I remember one walked up to me and said he wanted to be an engineer, the project really changed my perspective on life

I felt the need to just re-connect so badly to the love and passion that I've got for my work, my ideas and subjects and Makoko just felt like the right place to really connect and get inspired

 

DVF: Speaking about your purpose, what do you personally feel like is your purpose as a photographer ?

Ernest: To learn, to be inspired

 

 

DVF: That's beautiful, so.... moving on ....What photography gear/editing software or apps do you use and why ?

Ernest: I don’t have a constant gear or software, I kind of just work with what I have at the moment and hope it works. For gears I shoot primarily with my phone, my sony A6300, my canon 5d mark or my Nikon d750. Alot of edits are done on my phone, the native photo editor that comes with an iPhone and then I also use photoshop

DVF: We live in a world where it is seemingly okay to alot of photographers out there to completely modify and alter a persons look or features to create that "perfect image" or that perfect quality/standard of photos.... what is your take and stand on that? And how does that apply to your work personally ?

Ernest: I do not have a problem with it, as long as it's done with the clients permission of course , in moderation and it's done well . Vanity is something quite common nowadays, almost every client wants  something tucked in or something made bigger, as a commercial photographer I think it's your job

DVF: Tell me about the ShotByErnest website, what did you have in mind when you were creating it ?

Ernest: I just wanted something different, something that stands out and something that shows my programming
http://shotbyernest.com/
 DVF: Asides from being an amazing photographer, what other secret talents do you have that people rarely know about ? 

Ernest: I write poems🙈

DVF: Oh... that's cool (smiles) , okay... so If you weren't a photographer , what else would you most likely be doing now ?

Ernest: I am a doctor, so I most likely would be practising

DVF: Right! About that, you studied Medicine in Ukraine and you graduated.... now knowing what a typical Nigerian family is like, how did your family handle the fact that you chose photography over practising medicine ?

SIKA OSEI
Ernest: Family didn't handle it well, I felt like my siblings of my generation would understand but most of them thought that I had gotten charmed, I remember there was a Prayer and fasting done concerning this issue, my family went on a fast and me too. A pastor also came over to our home to conduct a deliverance on me, it was that serious 
  
DVF: Did you have it at the back of your mind that you wouldn't practise medicine as a career when you would be through with your University education or was your initial intention to actually become a doctor ?
STEPHANIE COKER

Ernest: Actually I did not know that I wouldn't practise, it was until my fourth (4th) year , summer after my internship that was when I decided that I couldn't live the life of a Nigerian Doctor

DVF: Wow! Pretty intense situation but you said the life of a "Nigerian" doctor, so does this mean that if you were still back in Ukraine or overseas, you would have practised?

 
Ernest: To be honest, yes... I would 

DVF: As a kid ... growing up, was becoming a Doctor your childhood dream ? 

Ernest: As a kid I had the most unrealisitic ambition, I wanted to become a wrestler (laughs) . I had designed my custume and everything, it was an all red custume, no cape so the bad guy wouldn't catch me fast (laughs)

DVF: (Laughs) you really thought it through 

Ernest: No joke (laughs) , soon after though I fell inlove with medicine and I even did Vetinary doctoring for about a year and a half before doing the proper medicine, the idea of solving medical puzzles was mind blowing to me 
DVF: So your childhood dreams were nothing close to medicine or photography, it's so funny how life works though

Ernest: Nope! It wasn't close, as kids we all wanted ridiculous things, my sister wanted to be a barbie Doll (laughs) but on a serious note though I frankly love medicine and still read about it from time to time. But the life of a doctor isn't for me, for now

DVF: You said for now, so does that mean that you would maybe one day be willing to give it a try again ?

Ernest: Yes, definitely! I plan to practise medicine in a couple of years for just a short time, to be able to say that I did it but that will be after I have specialised fully in not just photography but other stuff like, I have to be accomplished, photography is great but I need to ensure that I have alternatives. I will specialise in film and also photography and be like Kemi Adetiba (laughs) so basically Film Making is part of the current expansion that the ShotByErnest brand is going through

  DVF: ShotByErnest films, I like the sound of that, so at the end of it all, how were you able to finally  get your family on board with things or do they still think you're spelled ? (laughs)

 
Ernest: Hehe generally people don't care about you, until you make it and become succesfull, i'm not saying that I have made it yet though but I am for sure not where I used to be so I kind of have, but I used my progress to sway them from the whole spelled thing a little (laughs) 

DVF: Hahaha.... thank God for all the greatness that you have achieved within this short time, well..... moving on, as a commercial photographer which brand will be a dream come true for you to work with ? 

Ernest: Internationally a car brand, I love the Mercedes /Audi brands

DVF: Finally what are your future hopes/ plans for the Shotbyernest Brand and what projects should we be expectant of in the near future ?   
Ernest: Alot actually, I hope to expand the brand to other cities, recruit precisely four ( 4) extra hands to join the brand to be able to fully carter to the celebrity needs. I want to also do free photo workshops within Lagos and to spread across the country and then Africa 

In the near future ShotbyErnest intends to go into movie productions, skits and music video productions too

DVF: All amazing, amazing stuff, I wish you the best with everything and thanks again for this awesome interview.

Ernest: You're most welcome bro. 

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2 comments

  1. I have to say your interviews come alive! I'm from United States and don't know these people you interview but after reading them I want to get to know them more! I also take photography and own a Canon 5D Mark III what i found fascinating was he also owns a Nikon. Here usually you are either a Canon or Nikon person not both. His portraits are amazing it makes me want to pick up my camera and go shoot some people! Thank you again for the great interview.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks you so very much Sherry for your amazing and kind words

    ReplyDelete

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