Nigeria’s Art Scene: An Interview with Dele Lawal

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Nigeria’s art scene is very fascinating and dynamic, recently Nigeria’s art scene has started to gather a lot of attention both locally and internationally. It is rapidly expanding and is currently a hotbed for artists with unparalleled talent. Today we would be interviewing one of such artist, we will be interviewing Dele Lawal.

Nigeria’s Art Scene: An Interview with Dele Lawal

Dele Lawal is a Nigerian photographer that’s based in Lagos. He is interested in storytelling, portraits, product and documentary photography. Today we would be talking to him about who he is as a photographer and everything that drives and inspires him.

Nigeria’s Art Scene: An Interview with Dele Lawal

Please, can you introduce yourself?

Nigeria’s Art Scene: An Interview with Dele Lawal

My name is Oladele Kaleef Lawal, I am an art enthusiast, lover of psychology and how the human mind works, advocate for love and ultimately a photographer. A graduate and alumni of Africa digital Media Institute, Nairobi, Kenya.

When did you first become interested in photography? What sparked it and when did you decide that it was what you were going to do?

Nigeria’s Art Scene: An Interview with Dele Lawal

Photography for me started off as a hobby back in secondary school, SS3 to be precise when I got my first Nikon Coolpix camera. I didn’t take it seriously as I was heading to university to study microbiology. On getting into UNILAG in 2010, in my second year a good friend of mine (Simi Osountuyi) noticed my flare in taking photographs and editing them in Picasa, he gave me the push to jump-start my career in photography and since that day things changed.

What type of photography are you interested in?

Nigeria’s Art Scene: An Interview with Dele Lawal

Right now, I am very interested and investing my time in documentary photography as well as product photography. Trying to be as versatile in this profession as I can be. But my strengths are in portrait (fashion, corporate, lifestyle) photography.

Were you educated in photography or are you self-taught?

Nigeria’s Art Scene: An Interview with Dele Lawal

Started off as a self-taught photographer thanks to YouTube, from 2012 up on till 2018, when I decided to get a certification in photography from the Africa Digital Media Institute, Nairobi, Kenya. I finished with a high distinction.

What inspires your work?

Nigeria’s Art Scene: An Interview with Dele Lawal

My environment, people I interact with, music, movies, the occurrences happening in the world, the will to solve problems.

Exactly what it is you want to say with your photographs, and how do you actually get your photographs to do that?

Nigeria’s Art Scene: An Interview with Dele Lawal

This is a tricky question, Lol…. I try as much as possible to show emotions in my body of work, especially in the documentary series …be it love, sadness, anger, pain, etc so my viewers can digest something they are familiar with or can relate with, I also create awareness to societal and health issues in our community. I plan my shoots such that there is a story to be told, not just to record the moment but also to give meaning and purpose.

Name three photographers who inspire or have influenced you and how did they influence your photography style?

Nigeria’s Art Scene: An Interview with Dele Lawal

  1. Sir Abraham Ali; this is one photographer I will be forever grateful to for showing me how to be a good storyteller and a better visual observer, for teaching me that there’s more to being a photographer than just hitting the shutter, for teaching me how to communicate and listen to people whom I want to photograph and share their stories closely.

Nigeria’s Art Scene: An Interview with Dele Lawal

  1. Shamayim; A fashion photographer from which I have picked up business nuggets from as regards the business of photography, and also one who has helped me in finding my own way of Retouching my images in post-production Non-destructively.

Nigeria’s Art Scene: An Interview with Dele Lawal

  1. Tope horpload; A smart worker and creative soul, one who has ignited my love for natural light as against artificial/studio light. 

Nigeria’s Art Scene: An Interview with Dele Lawal

How much preparation do you put into taking a photograph or series of photographs? Describe how you prepare for a shoot?

Nigeria’s Art Scene: An Interview with Dele Lawal

I will say a lot of preparation goes into this, firstly I try to imagine and think of the elements I want in my shoot, do some research for inspiration, create a mood board, write it down in my journal, make sketches of my ideas so as to stay guided and on track of the idea set.

What camera do you use the majority of the time?

Nigeria’s Art Scene: An Interview with Dele Lawal

I use the Nikon D610.

What would you call your greatest achievement as a photographer thus far?

Nigeria’s Art Scene: An Interview with Dele Lawal

My greatest achievement as a photographer thus far, I will say is the connections I’ve made over the years.

Which photo are you currently most proud of and why?

Nigeria’s Art Scene: An Interview with Dele Lawal

I am proud of this photo I shot for a campaign on mental health, which is a topic I am very passionate about.

What’s your ultimate goal as a photographer?

Nigeria’s Art Scene: An Interview with Dele Lawal

My ultimate goal is to share as many stories as I can and spread love through my art.

What are your other interests besides photography?

Nigeria’s Art Scene: An Interview with Dele Lawal

I love food…lol… so If I’m not photographing, I’m out looking for good food around my environment, music, and research on mental health as it’s a big issue in our society.

Any advice for budding photographers?

Nigeria’s Art Scene: An Interview with Dele Lawal

Just do you, find your own path and stick to it judiciously. Don’t get lost in the GEAR madness as the best camera you can have is the one you own right now, Maximize it. Trust your journey and enjoy the process. Teamwork makes the dream work! create valuable connections and lastly be a good person.

How can we reach you and view more of your work?

Nigeria’s Art Scene: An Interview with Dele Lawal

  • Instagram: @delelawalphotographer
  • Twitter: @KaleefA__
  • Email: oladeleklawal@gmail.com
  • Telephone: +2348134836979
  • Facebook: oladele Lawal
  •  LinkedIn: Oladele LAWAL

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