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Chair Talk with Zamani Istifanus

Interview by: Philips Chidumebi


  1. What do you think is the relevance of photography in our present age?

Photography I would say is most relevant in this present age. The beauty about it is that, it connects and communicate with people at the same time.  You can mostly see that in the way people, use social media outlets to send photos, and also use them as memories for the future and that’s where the connection comes into place.

This present age is I would say is “obsessed” with photography, because they let you in on a part of themselves through the pictures they take.

Let’s say a father is miles away and hasn’t seen his kid in like ages, when his wife sends him a photo of the growth of the child, he feels connected to the child, and this in turn assures him that, his child is doing well.

I think that’s what is most relevant in photography, the way it could connect individuals together and speak volume. As an artist, I have seen photography doing that, connect and reveal itself to people and that right there is the communication am pointing out to you.


  1. Can Photography be ascribed to be art?

Yes definitely. Photography to me is a part of Art. In that, it brings out the beauty in it. You need a camera to take the beauty of the art itself. And also, the lens in turn create the beauty which we see as Art.


  1. Who are your photography role models, and why did you choose these people?

I don’t have a lot of them really, but if I were to pick I would have two people. My number one pick would be Diego Asamoa. The thing about this figure I can relate to is that as I said earlier “Photography speaks in volumes”.

Although it has to do more with nudity and I get that makes people uncomfortable most times, but I can relate to his work because I do nudity most times, not all the time, but most times. And the way he picks his graphics and insert them into his photo relates to the part of the reason I look up to him alright.

My next pick, brings us to number two. Seyi. So, the thing with Seyi is that he makes use of lines, shapes and most of my photos if you take note have that, is either in my graphics or inserted in my photography and this is part of the reason why I would pick him.

  1. What kind of photography do you do?

I do mostly fashion, Art, Graphics. And with most of my photos I make use of Natural lightening which is plus for me as a photographer because the photos come out more naturalistic, compared to something taken with additional lightening which is artificial and this might affect the quality in which the photos come out.


  1. What do you envisage will be the look of Nigerian photography in the nearest future?

Alright, I like this one because am a part of Nigeria photography, you know, the upcoming one’s who will make the future shake I believe.  Nigeria is heading for greatness and I don’t say that for the words, but if you take note, the quality and content of the photos has since begun to change and merge with art in general.  Nigeria is moving forward and bringing in new ideas to the art world in general, because as I usually say, “Photography is Art itself”.


  1. Why did you choose photography?

I would say photography chose me, I didn’t choose photography. My camera if you look is always with me, and is because I belief this should tell you a bit about why I do photography. Is because I love to capture the story, behind the eyes of strangers and the magic beneath, is usually brought to light by my camera. I didn’t always take photos but as a traveler and someone who loves meeting people, you could see why I said that photography chose me.

  1. How were you able to create a market value around your photography?

I could say like any other work of art which brings in revenue, my photography does that. And I created the market value, simply by producing what I loved and I have seen through the years that when I showed most of my work out, which takes me time in producing.  I noticed people took a like to them, so this helped me value my work which sold to people. And they get to hang up my photography or use it in appreciating art and this makes me happy in return. Either ways both the people and I are happy. I give them art in return and that right there is pure joy for a photographer, to make people happy with your work.


  1. What other things interest you?

Fashion, I do love to shoot fashion lines most times. I love the way, you could create art from fashion. I also do like to have a bit of fun, I mean what’s life without some fun, so basketball, which I play some days when am free, and yeah music. I do like to have some really good time with the sounds in music, this inspires me to work towards my photography


  1. Do you think photography can be used to sustain culture? And how?

Yes definitely, I would say Culture and history. In the sense that the way in which people get to remember the past generation and know precisely what they did is though the photos we see in art gallery and museum. for the culture part, we can see that. In the modern-day culture, people like art and art evolves every day. The way photos were taken years ago and now. We get to see and evolves with the culture back then and we can compare and appreciate photography in general.


  1. What is your biggest aspiration as far as photography is concerned?

I aspire to get to a point where my photography heals people, by them just looking at it, it gives them that sense of peace and let them in on the beauty behind my lens.  I do it for the people really. That’s it really, to be able to heal people with my work.


  1. With everyone delving into photography, what are the basic things a rookie should know?

Well I was once a rookie, so I have quite some things for y’all.  As someone who knows much about photography. I would say you should first have a good eye for things, your main focus should be how to capture things and bring them up as photography.  Not just you are grabbing a camera, but having enough content to want to take a photo of something or someone and that been said, you should also be able to interpret your content which is your photo. Know what you’re giving to the people, be able to like it enough to give to the public, not just something you randomly give out but something you really work on. Putting in your energy and time into the thing which your creating. And last but definitely not the least, you have to be ready to shoot at any point in time, like be ready that’s all I can say, mainly because each passing moment around people is photography in the sense that photos are a combination of moving images likewise you the photographer has to be ready.       `                                   `


  1. Do you think photography as far as Nigeria is concerned has all the awareness it needs in this present time?

Yeah as I said I believe in the future of Nigerian photography in general so likewise the present time, we have that. We can see the art in the music, the way the images are being captured for the musicians, fashion artist, dancers and this in turn sends awareness around the world about Nigerian Photographers. That we also know where we are headed in our art and the way we express it, and I think that’s why Nigerians are getting deals with industries outside and within Nigeria.  Everything could be better, but we are defiantly there as far as this present time is concerned.


  1. Can you tell us about your most memorable photography experience?

It has to be the time, I explored birin  Kebbi,  the location sparked something in me to take really good photos. The inspiration came mainly from the culture to the people around me but mostly the environment it played a huge part in my photography, and will forever be memorable to me.


  1. What cameras do you use?

I use the Canon EOS70D. But am currently looking to get the Canon EOS 6D


  1. What inspires you to do the kind of photography that you do?

Life you know, the people around. Everything inspires me but mostly the people, that makes me do photography and they the people, let me capture them and I in turn give them my beautiful work of photography. That I feel that’s inspiration enough for me.


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