Jesse Omoghene Akerele is a natural born artist; his paintings are so real that they look like camera pictures. But Jesse’s art also extends to photography. He met the renowned Nigerian celebrity photographer Kelechi Amadi-Obi after he was shortlisted by Nokia during a talent competition. Kelechi took interest in his works and helped horn his photography skills, the rest today is history. Jesse has worked with celebrities here and there and various organizations; these exposures to Jesse are not achievements but fulfillment.
Meet the Future of Nigerian Arts, Jesse Omoghene Akerele.
HIP: How / When did u start Photography?
JAO: If any one had told me as a child that I will end up practicing photography, I wouldn’t believe it. I didn’t like the fact that photographers chase people around for N50 pictures then…. I found it embarrassing. I journeyed into my career as an artist and there I discovered a whole lot about art itself and different medium of expressing myself as an artist, one of which includes photography. I discovered painting/drawing share similar element and principle…lighting, texture, form e.t.c with photography.
I started out as a photography enthusiast in 2006; I made some pictures that looked like paintings all in self-expression. Nokia came with a photography competition into some tertiary institutions in Nigeria including my school Yaba College of Technology. I remember submitting my pictures on the last day of entries after much persuasion from friends because I thought the pictures didn’t tally with the theme, so I was opportune to see the hundreds of entry. Nine of us were contacted to further the competition with selected people from other schools. There I met with Kelechi Amadi-Obi who took special interest in my work…. that’s how I began photography oooo..lol.
HIP: What inspires you?
JAO: Hmmm…anything inspires me ooo, my mind is so open to possibilities, it could be from what someone says, from children playing, even from a joke. Just Anything!
HIP: What have you achieved as a photographer?
JOA: I probably won’t call them achievements but fulfillment, you know when what you do now catch the interest of people, they want to hear you comment on their work, they see you bigger than what you are, they want to identify with you, when people look forward to something new from you….then an award after a year plus into the game, featured in massive projects with musicians, co operate bodies, telecoms e.t.c. They could be achievements but for me, I see it as fulfillment, just enjoying what I do.
HIP: How many clients do you have on an average?
JOA: Good enough to keep me going.
HIP: Have you ever been discouraged?
JAO: Not at all…not for once. I believe I am in the center of what I love to do and I only thank God for making me discover it early enough. Discouragement as never been my case, rather, I find a way to make it work.
HIP: How much do you make averagely from photography?
JAO: Good enough to keep me going.
HIP: What motivates you to continue?
JAO: It’s a God given gift which I am all set out to do, the fact that there’s something different about my work that people wish to have is enough reason for me to always stay motivated couple with materials and the mind that it’s not over, till it’s over.
HIP: What makes your blog different from others?
JAO: I really don’t blog…but will start one soonest.
HIP: What other businesses do you do apart from photography?
JAO: Hmmm…I do plenty other things ooo lol. Okay, I make artworks for people most especially portraits, singing too, get invitations for shows also into event decoration (this is actually the family business)…others, I sew a little and play a little of the guitar.
HIP: Where is your favorite place in Nigeria?
JAO: I have been to quite a number of places, which I like, but one of my best is Erin-Ijesha at Osun state, maybe because of my experience there.
HIP: Describe an average Nigerian Youth
JAO: From my observation, some are not patient, they want things as fast as possible and it leads most of them into things they don’t want. On the other hand, we have youths who want to be empowered, and can go all the way to get it. There’s this dude who called me from Abuja saying he saw my work online, this guy came to Lagos to meet me, and so many instances I have experienced. We only need a country that is ready to encourage and empower the youths.
HIP: When you look at the future of Nigeria with you in it, what do you see?
JAO: I see a man, made to empower others. I believe destinies are attached to mine….i thank God for helping me connect to the man who helped me discover mine…I know it’s a chain, and am not ready to break it. Nigeria is a country full of potentials and I believe myself, you reading this and many others out there can make this country a better place…I will do my part the best way I can by Gods grace.
HIP: What do you wish to change in Nigeria?
JAO: The leaders.
HIP: Are you a proud Nigerian?
JAO: Absolutely YES!!
HIP: Describe you in a sentence.
JAO: Jovial, unassuming…. yet unpredictable.
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