Abuja’s hottest photographer, the talented and awesome Rodney ‘Avo’ Omeokachie shares his challenges, goals, and words of wisdom with Campus Connect Nigeria.
Campus Connect: When did you start doing this?
Rodney: That would be in 2013. I started teaching myself. I actually got my first camera then and started shooting everything and anything. That was in South Africa. Then I got back to Nigeria, I did my youth service, so by late 2014, I decided I was gonna be a professional photographer.
What actually drew you to photography?
Rodney: Oh wow. It was a phone actually. This was Around 2011. I had this Samsung galaxy note, the first one. It had a huge and beautiful screen and an amazing camera. I started shooting with it and I just loved what I was capturing and then coupled with the fact that by then, I already had experience with graphic designing. So when that photography element came in, it just blew my mind away and I knew this was what I wanted to do.
What gear do you use?
Rodney: I use a Canon 7D mac 2. I don’t want to get too technical. But I have two other lenses that I use; one is for portraits, and the other is for general shots. And I also have a couple of lights and equipment, just all the things a freelance photographer would need to get the job done.
Among all of your gadgets, is there one you wish you hadn’t bought and why?
Rodney: Yeah. There is this really ugly red backdrop that I have. I have only used it maybe twice since I got it in 2013. It’s just ugly, bulky, heavy and hard to store. I was naive back then, I thought I needed it.
What are your greatest challenges doing this?
Rodney: Well, challenges are always there, but what really gets me is when clients don’t keep time. because you make out time and they just don’t respect it. So now you have to suffer because of their inability to keep to time and plan accordingly.
What is the one thing you know now that you wish you had known earlier when you first started?
Rodney: I don’t think I am at that stage in my career yet where I have that feeling. I feel like I am knowing everything I need to know when I need to know them. you know since I started young, I have been dedicated to learning and getting better. So everything I know, I have always known them when I was supposed to know them. Every information I have came at the right time when I needed it.
What photographers influence you?
Rodney: When I was teaching myself, it was Aaron mace. He had a small photography youtube channel he was using to show techniques and stuff like that. Now it is a huge youtube channel with up to a million subscribers. He was the guy I would watch and copy his tutorials day in day out.
Of all your works, which is your favourite?
Rodney: One of the projects I did with designer Russell Solomon here in Abuja. we had to climb a hill to do it. we got some really good shots, with the view and all. It was just so adventurous and fun.
What actually is your end goal with this?
Rodney: That would be to one day be recognized as the best, or one of the best. or just someone whose style is refined and recognizable. And then maybe one day, Christiane Amanpour would interview me.
If not photography, then what?
Rodney: That’s a good question. As a result of my background, I’ve always had options. you see, I served in the state house, and I could have easily been retained and become a civil servant there. Also, when I was in the university, I had a huge interest in music. I used to make music and I was really good at it. so that was an option I could have pursued if life had gone a little differently, But apart from that, yeah, I’m exactly where I should be.
What would you say to the young Nigerian who only has his or her camera phone and a passion for photography?
Rodney: Oh. If you only have your phone, you better figure out a way to get yourself a proper camera. Because phones are for hobbies. if you wanna take it seriously, you wanna take it to the next level, and really explore its lucrative depts, you need gear that can handle it.