- Title: NIGERIA: Africa's biggest photo festival opens in Nigeria
- Date: 17th October 2011
- Summary: VARIOUS OF GUESTS LOOKING AT PHOTOGRAPHS OF SOMALILAND, TITLED "GHOST COUNTRY" BY DUTCH PHOTOGRAPHER CHANTAL HEIJNEAL.
- Embargoed: 1st November 2011 12:00
- Location: Nigeria, Nigeria
- Country: Nigeria
- Topics: Arts
- Reuters ID: LVAAZDDMJSAO8NVDAY7ALG3F8IQ8
- Story Text: The second edition of the Lagos Photo Festival held recently in the sprawling commercial hub attracted the works of 41 African and European photographers making it the biggest of its kind on the continent.
Over 200 photographs were displayed on the opening night at the prestigious Eko hotel and each resonated with this year's theme "Africa: The hidden stories".
There were striking entries from the Madagascar titled, "Eyes of Hope" by photographer Solofo Tinah and also from the unrecognised state of Somaliland titled "Ghost Country" by Chantal Heijneal among others.
Azu Nwagbogu, founder and director of the Lagos Photo Festivals said the exhibition aims to curb the stereotyping of the continent as hopeless and a place full of misery.
"It is important to tell every story, what we want to do is tell all the stories, not just one story that is exciting that is sensational, there is a situation where we represent Africa as desperate and hopeless, and the more we perpetuate these stories that represent the negative then the more you create this Afro-pessimism, this is what we want to challenge," he said.
Nwagbogu added that the exhibition is also meant to give opportunities to talented and upcoming photographers on the continent.
Nwagbogu said despite the fact that photography has always been in the back burner in the Nigerian society, he was lucky his efforts were being supported by companies such as the country's fourth largest telecom company Etisalat.
For Nana Acquah, a photographer from Ghana, its an important step towards helping people like him get recognition for the work they do.
"If you work as a professional photographer like myself, you always have the problem of being the one who has to educate the clients of the value of the work, so it is double work, so if I was working in Europe or America, people already know how much those photographs cost, in Africa you have to educate sometimes that is a hassle," said Acquah.
The Lagos Photo Festival also used open public spaces such as street junctions and parks to display some of the photographs for the public to view.
Paul Adeyemo, a student of architecture and a keen photographer said he hoped the outdoor exhibition would help expose the beauty of photography and make society appreciate those involved in the art.
"Photographers are not taken seriously in our environment, anyone can just pick up a camera and take pictures, when you call yourself a photographer, an ordinary Nigerian doesn't respect you, so I believe this kind of program is going to expose photography and is really going show the importance and the beauty attached to photography," said Adeyemo.
Following the success of this year's festival, the organisers have vowed to make next year's exhibition even bigger and more appealing to the public.
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