Friday, March 31, 2017

 Hey beautiful people, hope you're all great! It's been a while since I posted an interview and thanks to all y'all who sent me messages that you were expectant of a fresh interview cause this right here is one that is going to really Wow you guys. Iju Asonibe is a very young photographer both in age and experience but don't let that fool you at all because when it comes to photography her skills and artistry are nothing short of impeccable, with just a little over a years experience she is already a trail blazing photographer and I am over the roof excited to have had this interview with her and be able to share it with you guys, have a good read, get inspired and thank me later lol.

DVF: Tell me about yourself and background?

Njc: My name is Iju Asonibe, I'm a photographer, lover of art, freelance writer, spoken word recitist and a creator of beautiful visual concepts.
I'm a foodie, I love puff puff 🙈 and all things sweet. I love fashion too and I like to consider myself as someone who has quite a unique sense of style.
I sadly have no musical talents 😭
I'm not that much of a reader, but I love to watch TV, mostly series and I love to hang out with friends.
One of my favorite things to do is create mood boards and create concepts.
I was raised by a single mum and I have one sibling, a sister
I'm igbo, I was born in Lagos but I lived in the UK from when I was five to age nine and then came back to Lagos.

DVF: What was your childhood like? And also your childhood fundests memories?

 Njc:. I would say I had a very fulfilling childhood, I wasn't spoilt but I was given everything I needed plus more.
My aunty always tells me stories of how I always used to talk a lot as a child, I always had one story or another, fiction or non fiction to tell and I always acted much older than my age.
I honestly can't say if I can remember certain "fondest memories" but I know I always loved going shopping with my mum and sister, from when I was 5, I guess I can say that's what started my love for fashion.

DVF: When and how did you discover your love for photography?

Njc: I discovered my love for photography about a year ago, I always used to love watching a show on E! "fashion bloggers" and I was inspired by three of the ladies, Zanita Whittington, Margaret Zhang and Amanda Shadforth who are photographers as well as bloggers, for me, they made it look very interesting and somewhat glamorous. 

DVF: Was there a particular moment of epiphany for you?

Njc: Funny enough, there was actually, I must have watched like 5 episodes of the first season of the show and then realized "OMG.. I can do this"

DVF: That's so awesome, I also got inspired to blog after watching Fashion Bloggers on E! I obviously always had love for it but that was my major push lol that show has no idea what it's done

 Njc: They seriously need to do a season three lol

DVF: When did you officially decide to take photography on as a career?

Njc: Interesting question.. It was actually never really just a hobby, I knew I was going to make money from it but money was not what kept me going, it was passion, I was just more interested in making my art more interesting and growing and exploring new aspects of my creativity and people started hiring me. I actually never made a conscious decision to make it a career, the thought was always there (I really hope that made sense 🙈)

DVF: What were the beginning stages of your career like for you and what were your experiences? 

Njc: The beginning stages were really interesting. I guess I realized photography was more than I bargained for 😄 but because I had and still have and probably will always have love for it, it was easier to take on the challenges, my initial challenges were learning the ropes, and learning to master the technical aspects of photography.
I am self taught, so I personally made a lot of mistakes and I was able to learn from them. I practiced a lot, and I had lots of interesting experiences while practicing.

DVF: How did you know what genre and  photography you wanted to take on?

Njc: I honestly think it came to me naturally, I've always had a thing for fashion, colours, styles, trends.. It's always interested me and since I was inspired by a fashion based show it just felt right 
And I shoot mostly outdoor because I love to play with elements in my environment. I'm generally a playful and outdoorsy person so everything just fell into place.

I shoot street style mostly at fashion shows because I love how people express their personal style and I love to interpret that.

DVF: Tell me about the first photo you took or shot that made you go "Yes I am really good at this and have to keep doing this" 

Njc: Hmmmm it was sometime in January with my friend who was going into modelling who also happened to live 10 minutes away. So I called her up one day and said "let's shoot" and I went over to her house and we shot on her street. The pictures got a lot of recognition and even people I didn't know started telling her that I'm quite good but there was a particular one that made me feel like " wow I can really do this"

 DVF: When you are at fashion events shooting street style fashion, there are obviously alot of fashionistas and fashionisters coming through,  how do you decide? Like okay this is who I have to shoot and no I won't shoot that person?

 Njc: First, if your outfit interests me or if you're open to be photographed, sometimes I don't like a whole outfit but I'd like the shoes and only photograph the shoes. I also love to catch intriguing people, people who have a certain level of poise or a certain Je Ne sais Quoi .
I like to photograph people who aren't just good looking but also receptive, after all, photography is all about communication. And if there's nothing nice about your outfit, I may like your smile and take a portrait of you for "njc faces"
And if you're famous too😄

There are many people I photograph and in the process of photographing them I instantly tell myself I won't select it simply because they made have had an attitude or something. I like to connect to the people I photograph, even if they don't know I'm photographing them

DVF: Asides shooting street style fashion, what other genre of photography have you tried your hands at and which have you not tried but hope to venture into someday?

Njc: Asides fashion photography in general, I've done documentary and street photography which I really enjoy but I'm not the type to walk down the streets of Lagos with my camera 😄. I haven't gotten into weddings yet and I honestly don't know if or when I will.

 DVF:What photography gear/ software do you use and why?

 Njc: I have a Nikon d3200 and unlike most people, my favorite lens is my 55-200mm so I can photograph people from afar 😋. And I use Photoshop and Lightroom, like most photographers, depending on what the pictures are for, how much time I have and how I want the edit to look

DVF: Did you get any professional training or help before you actually began or are you self taught?

 Njc: I wouldn't necessarily say I've gotten any professional training but in April I did a two week workshop that was organized by "The Future Project" called "The Future Enterprise Support Scheme" or TFESS for short where Kelechi Amadi Obi, George Okoro, Tope Horpload, Emmanuel Oyeleke, Kola Oshalusi, Isaac Emokpae, Seyi Body Lawson, Yagazie Madu and August Udoh taught about 30 of us some of the elements of different aspects of photography and how to survive in the photography industry, other than that, I've had no professional training.

 DVF: What has been a really high point for you in your career so far and a not so great one?

 Njc: Honestly, a really high point was when I attended that photography workshop because it didn't just help me gain a better knowledge of photography but it gained me a relationship with some of the facilitators and more importantly, it gained me an amazing friendship with the people I attended it with. My life never remained the same from that time. I honestly can't pin point any bad moment I've had, truth is, I've had a lot but I try not to focus on them.

 DVF:You also run a photography website, what was your motivation for creating it and also what do you hope people get out of the website whenever they visit?

Njc: Wow, you made it sound so serious 😄. I love to tell stories with my pictures so I opened a website (blog 🙈) to be able express more of what I wouldn't have been able to on instagram, I still hope to grow it further. I hope that people get to understand my art better, and see the message behind my pictures and the stories I tell.

DVF: So you took up photography over a year ago, almost suddenly .What are your family's thoughts and receptivity towards it?

 Njc: My family is all up for it. My mum loves it and so does my sister and grandma too in fact, all my family.  They're my biggest supporters.
 DVF: Being in the entertainment industry, as a photographer .. do you have any worries for the industry and what do you hope would be improved on?

Njc: Hmmm, that's an interesting question, well I wouldn't necessarily say I have worries, but of all industries, the entertainment industry is basically the most "narcissistic" (for the lack of a better word" It's all about faking it till you make it I guess.
But I would like people to appreciate the art aspect more, or as much as much as they appreciate the financial side of things. Basically for people to come to understand that as much as success is evident in monetary abundance, but success is also largely determined by how well you can interpret your art.

DVF: As a photographer in this modern and ever evolving world we live in, how do you keep up with the latest technical or non technical photography trends and on a general basis how do you educate your self to take better photos? 

Njc:Technology is evolving very fast, I mean phone cameras are doing much much more than they could three years ago, to an extent, they're giving some cameras a "run for their money".

Well it's all about being able to evolve with the technology, finding out new ways to make my pictures better.
I watch and study a lot of the photographers I look up to, I ask a lot of questions, it helps a lot when I plan projects, I watch tutorials and I just go out and shoot. Practice makes perfect 😊

 DVF: Lool that's very true, So  you recently worked on a project with a few people that are power houses in the Nigerian fashion/Entertainment  industry... what was that project all about and what inspired it?

Njc: Okay, the project was called "Portraits of A Kind:fashion influencers Part 1" (a bit dramatic.. lol) firstly, portraits of A Kind is something I'm going to continue to do it's basically about capturing personas and individual expressions of life so fashion influencers Part 1 was the first installment where I photographed people who influence the fashion industry.

It was part 1 because some of the people I wanted to add to the project weren't available at the time.

Hmmm, I would say I was inspired by my need to always connect to people, at a point, I felt like I was loosing some essence of myself and it basically just hit me when I was walking from my room to the kitchen lol, inspiration actually comes that easy for me.
I've always had interest in fashion photography and Initially, I never thought I'd be good at portraits, so it was a way to push myself and make it unique. 

Apart from that, I wanted to express a different side that some people don't see, in an industry as stereotypical as the fashion industry where people tend to be very unoriginal  I wanted to show that influencers aren't influencers because they make people follow trends, no, they're influencers because their puzzle pieces in the great picture that is our fashion industry .. they set trends and also inspire other people to do the same.

DVF: When you worked with them on that project? How were you able to capture their individual personalities and let those personalities shine through in the photos?

Njc:  I have actually been studying most of them for a while, met them at events and connected to their personalities, so I built mood boards around what I wanted to represent about them and what I felt they were actually.
I cant fully say how their personalities shine through the images, but I'm glad it did

DVF: In terms of your photographical style and genius?  What would you describe as the perfect picture? 

Njc: That's a very tricky question... hmmm.. I wouldn't really say there's anything like a perfect picture, it's art, flaws are what makes art what it is.
A picture that can express something greater than the mundane, a picture that can speak, a picture that's tingles yoir inner and outer eyes. It may just be someone smiling, but if you look at that picture and you can smile too or feel lifted then the picture has achieved it's purpose, whether it was taken with a 5d mk IV or a Samsung phone camera.

DVF: We live in a world today where it is seemingly okay to alot of photographers outthere to completely modify and alter a persons look or features to create that perfect image.... what is your take on that?

Njc: It depends on what the photographer's brand is all about but personally, I just started retouching my images but all I do is blemish removal, I've never been a fan of changing a person's look.
the one I hate the most, is when a size twelve (12) Woman is portrayed as a size eight (8) or with a bigger breasts or something like that.

It gives an impression that real Woman can't be portrayed as they are.
Even during my retouching, if I see that the person's face is looking slimmer than it actually is, I retract my steps because my aim is never to change who the person is, it's to interpret who they are.

DVF: Finally ...what do you see for the future of the NJC brand?

Njc: For the brand, in the future is see more than photography, firstly I see me exploring and gaining grounds in more aspects of photography, I see me adding writing to the brand, but in a way that fully allows me to express my creativity.
I see partnerships with bigger brands, lots of travelling and just being very happy and at peace with my art.
More importantly, I see constant growth. 

DVF: It all sounds awesome, I wish you success with everything and thank you so much for an awesome interview.

Njc: Awwww.... Thank you too.





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