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Prolific Photographer Kelechi Amadi-Obi: ‘Capturing The Third World Uniqueness’

Ezinne Chinkata

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We are always presented with what’s captured by the camera; The glamorous fashion photography that make the lookbooks of designer collections. This time around, BN takes it back to the roots and focuses on the source; the man behind the lenses!

I vividly remember the first time I met Lawyer/Artist/Photographer, Kelechi Amadi-Obi. It was my first editorial styling stint in Nigeria. He welcomed me with a wide reassuring smile coupled with an easygoing, very down to earth attitude. It was hard to reconcile this with the multiple award winning photographer, I had heard and read about.

Kelechi’s images resemble still life drawings, natural, but still you get a feel of the mood and character. Full of innovative ideas and a huge dollop of raw talent, he is a constant source of awe and inspiration! I spent an easy afternoon with him, trying to get to the crux of what inspires him to create his masterpieces. Dressed in a slouchy t-shirt and black jeans, he answered all my questions after careful thought amidst staccato bursts of raucous laughter….

Ezinne Chinkata: Tell us how it all started.

Kelechi Amadi-Obi:It started from childhood, the usual best artist of the class, drawing Spiderman and incredible hulk images. I have always been fascinated with the power of the visual and its ability to elicit reactions from people. As I was rather obsessed with drawing, gradually I started to hone my skill and got increasingly better than my peers. It was like Alice in Wonderland, you explore an area, more and it keeps opening, It’s never boring .Art was one thing I could use to stamp my authority amongst my peers and there didn’t seem to be an end to what could be explored visually.

EC: What inspires you?

K A: Everything!!! Sometimes it is an idea or visual, an opinion, music, beauty, pain, and even anger. There are questions that need to be answered, such as, why we are so mean to each other, why there is corruption, why many people have to suffer for so few to enjoy? Sometimes I am angry. These feelings and thoughts inspire me. At other times, I do a complete 360 and want to create just for the art and leave the rest to the critics.

EC: How will you classify your photography style?

KA: I don’t know how to classify myself, as I constantly try to get away from stuff I normally do. Classification is a limitation. What I love at this moment may bore me later. I encourage that state of boredom to help inspire variety.

EC: Tell us the first photograph you ever sold?

KA: In University, a friend commissioned me to make a portrait. I was paid N500:00 for the job and remember being surprised at being paid for what I usually did for free. It was at this point that I understood the commercial implication of being an artist. I explored and exploited it henceforth.

EC: How would you place Nigeria/Africa in relation to International Art?

KA: 20 yrs ago, during the military regime, people got strangled out of their creativity. The best film makers, actors and artists had to either find something else to do or leave the country. A society becomes dead or cold if it loses the voice of its creative’s. When I just started, I tried to contact the old veterans to try and get some useful tips. I realised most of them had stopped commercial photography/ art or were downright bitter about the downward spiral of things. I will say we had some kind of Dark Age during that time and all creativity went underground. I believe we are gradually getting out of the dark ages.

EC: Is Photography school important?

KA: It is extremely important. It is also one of the reasons why photography in Nigeria is not up to worldwide standards. In my case, I grew up in an environment of intense study. My mom was the headmistress of my primary school, the library was next to the primary school and my house was next to the school. I developed the habit of personal improvement through study. I would go to the library almost daily, reading voraciously on art and trying to improve on the craft. At the end of secondary school, I could comfortably say I knew all they thought in advanced art school.

EC: Any advice for an aspiring photographer?

KA: Do not like what you do, love it, be obsessed with it, madly passionate about it and enjoy it.

EC: What should we be expecting from Kelechi Amadi Obi?

KA: For me, life is a journey, the only arrival is death. I am quite erratic. A lot of people are shocked that I am currently into photography; they are still waiting for me to pick up my brush and start painting again. Now I have learnt and live for the moment. We make goals just to have something to do, but the present is the most important thing, and funny enough that is what determines the future.

Kelechi’s background as a painter has a deep imprint on the way he views photography. It translates into a more artistic output in terms of looking at all the elements within a photograph. He basks in being proudly Nigerian and portrays all the “third world uniqueness” in our community as raw beauty! His areas of expertise include, advertising photography, creative portraiture, landscape photography, fine-art photography and fashion photography.

Contact:
www.kelechiamadiobi.com
[email protected]
Phone: +234 8053521220

43 Comments

  1. Ginika

    July 7, 2010 at 8:07 am

    beautiful photography!!! BN, my daily fix at the office….hehehe

  2. TY

    July 7, 2010 at 8:56 am

    ahhhhh 1st to comment.
    mehn some bald girls r just beautiful….anyways beautiful long legs no homo. i’m feeling the ankara – beautiful. FIERCE N LUV

  3. vieve

    July 7, 2010 at 9:07 am

    this guy is really talented. keep it up!!!!!!!!!!

  4. Ibe

    July 7, 2010 at 9:58 am

    Zulu, God bless u!

  5. bebe

    July 7, 2010 at 10:22 am

    hawt n fierce!!!

  6. Ms. Jayee

    July 7, 2010 at 11:31 am

    first photographer to take my first professional modelling pictures. He’s tooo much!!!

  7. photography interest

    July 7, 2010 at 11:42 am

    They are all nice pictures, and can I add; he could do less of the white
    background and try…. maybe neutral colours. But he is good… still.

  8. Didilicious

    July 7, 2010 at 12:17 pm

    I love, love love…. Uhhh, I love it!!!!

  9. Bella Duchess

    July 7, 2010 at 1:12 pm

    fine boy chei… okay bac
    k to the other pix, they are totally awesome, did i mention Fine boy.. lol

  10. mariaah

    July 7, 2010 at 1:18 pm

    love it always taught he’s one of those with “talent” in photography..
    Was mahd bout photography 08-09 but cudnt afford a proper cam, so I had to calm down 🙁
    pple like him inspire me..BTW I bet the first pic was shot in tejuosho market/Sabo market..Well if its nt luks lke it tho..

  11. lola

    July 7, 2010 at 1:22 pm

    @ photography interest-this guy is not an aspiring photographer that you can advice. he is the best or the business, snd these are just a few of his works….so pls keep your’ less of the white background’ advice to yourself, he certainly doesnt need it. Moving on…..I love love the photos. Originality at work here and more grease to your elbows sir.

  12. D.O.T.M.H.

    July 7, 2010 at 3:02 pm

    haha Lola my thots exactly but yeah I guess he’s one of the critics Kelechi was talking about 🙂
    Good work Kelechi! How much would you charge to be my wedding photographer… I kid abeg. We still need food and decor 😀

  13. jennifer

    July 7, 2010 at 3:04 pm

    Nice work kelechi, the best in nig deff. wow at sarah ofili, and Peter psquare…

  14. Asa

    July 7, 2010 at 3:56 pm

    Love love kelechi amadi, but that photo of munachi’s thighs bursting out of the ripped jeans just looks gross eww

  15. Bisqo

    July 7, 2010 at 4:09 pm

    @Ginika, you took the words right out of my mouth… daily fix indeed!!!! Keep
    up the great work BN…

  16. ogefierce

    July 7, 2010 at 4:14 pm

    Talented !!!!!!!

  17. THE AMAKA

    July 7, 2010 at 5:14 pm

    LOVE LOVE LOVE IT!!!
    is that Munachi in the second pic? her thigh looks a mess coming out of those jeans. lol
    but anyway, she should model more often.

    Peter looks HOT!!

    and my favorite is the second to last pic, something about it is so calming.

  18. Ujubaby

    July 7, 2010 at 6:32 pm

    D blue and yellow print is awesome awesome awesome! The hausa girl on the whit horse is breath taking, Kelechi my sister, u’ll go places. I appreciate your incentive!

  19. jennifer

    July 7, 2010 at 7:05 pm

    @Ujubaby, Kelechi Amadi-Obi is a man o! lol. @The Amaka, yea love that pic too

  20. Ency

    July 7, 2010 at 8:45 pm

    Damnnn!!!! He’s got talent…the pics on his website are perfect!!!

  21. nmadisco

    July 7, 2010 at 9:39 pm

    I always market Kelechi to everyone I meet, home and abroad. I hope this article inspires him to put up new pix on his Website. I am tired of showing people his old work.

  22. ego

    July 7, 2010 at 10:02 pm

    Arresting…..

  23. photography interest

    July 8, 2010 at 10:24 am

    lola and d.o.m.t.h, i heard what u guys said and mentioned.
    In life, there is what is called constructive criticism. Yes, u
    are moving along and taking the words out of your mouth.
    But u are still not Kelechi Obi Amadi. So, u cannot speak
    for him. If he did not want constructive criticism, I do not
    think in all sincerity, he would agree to be interviewed by
    Ezinne Chinkata. That’s why when one attends any training,
    and they are given an A+, they would still want to improve
    on their work. I guess y’all know that, at least, u have some
    major formal training in whatever you are doing or aspiring
    to do.

    All in all, please do have a nice day. 🙂

  24. taffy

    July 8, 2010 at 6:58 pm

    second to last pic is ikechukwu’s girlfriend sarah ofili. i see why he is crazy about her

  25. Recognize

    July 8, 2010 at 9:55 pm

    Hmmm.. a Nigerian Andy Warhol in the making!!! Absolutely fantastic 🙂 x

  26. caramel

    July 9, 2010 at 2:14 am

    Yeah my girl Sara, shes a hot tomali !

  27. longsufferer

    July 9, 2010 at 11:32 am

    Kelechi’s work is BRILLIANT…i have been to several exhibitions featuring him….he is very talented and also very nice……

  28. Obi-talker

    July 9, 2010 at 2:46 pm

    @Asa and others calling murachi’s legs gross, pls do us the favour of putting ur perfect picture so we see how carved your cheek bones are. nonsense, calling another woman’s child gross when u probally look like….! hiss!!!!!!!!

  29. THE AMAKA

    July 9, 2010 at 5:03 pm

    @Obi-Talker
    it looks gross to the fact that her legs look like sausage. I’m sure there would have been a way to fix it.
    its like the jeans are so tight that her legs are bursting out of it.
    anyone, no matter how skinny, can have that happen.
    IT SIMPLY LOOKS GROSS!

  30. me

    July 9, 2010 at 8:54 pm

    the title capturing “third world…” is politically incorrect… it should be fixed. it’s no longer third world, but developing world. when we use derogative phrases like that on ourselves, do we expect others not to as well? the picture….. ummm, they’re just there, definitely more talented underground pple out there. Amadi just happens to be the only one in the business… he’s gonna get overthrown soon tho, i promise that.im expecting some haterish comments..lol

  31. THE AMAKA

    July 9, 2010 at 10:51 pm

    @me
    just appreciate the guy! he is GOOD! give him credit where its due.
    AH AHN!

  32. jade

    July 10, 2010 at 6:35 pm

    this is just nothing but fabulous i super love those pic. wat do i say more grease to your elbows kelechi, u’re sure going places with the talent u’ve got

  33. kube

    July 10, 2010 at 6:57 pm

    just one word for the photographer- “awesome”.

  34. Lola

    July 10, 2010 at 9:50 pm

    Munachi should NOT have worn those ripped jeans…On a good day they can be very unforgiving UNLESS you have skinny thighs.Hence nothing pours out of the exposed sections.
    It just totally distracts from an otherwise beautiful picture.

    My favorite is the Fulani/Hausa people riding……OUTSTANDING,i can see that in my hallway.

    Nice work.

  35. tatafo!

    July 11, 2010 at 1:05 am

    chai see talent.

  36. LeighJoy

    July 13, 2010 at 1:03 am

    1 + 7—> WOW!

    i LOVE IT!

    blessed with great talent 🙂

  37. Commercial Photographer

    July 21, 2010 at 5:14 pm

    Absolutely beautiful work.

  38. Dimeji Modii

    July 28, 2010 at 12:56 am

    Though still one of d best from our ‘locality’, so let’s celebrate him.

  39. Ihuoma

    August 10, 2010 at 6:41 am

    speechless!

  40. omuabuchi Kimgsley

    September 12, 2010 at 7:11 pm

    abundant in creativity. its justyour starting point.

  41. ayo ajayi

    March 22, 2011 at 1:58 pm

    I am aphotograher based here in nigeria,pls i would like to know much about lighting.pls post me the address of how ican locate u people in lagos.

  42. bliss okunyawe eseosa

    December 8, 2011 at 5:17 pm

    I AM FEELING D MASTER & I WANT TO LEAN MORE OF PHOTOGRAPHY FROM D MASTER

  43. #WorldViewInt'l

    March 11, 2016 at 3:00 pm

    He is simply creative, his painting knowledge is also an edge for in his photography prowess.

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