Being a creative (especially in the fashion industry) in a country like Nigeria is certainly not a walk in the park. You have to constantly prove to clients, the value of your work, with many clients offering to give you ‘exposure’, rather than pay for your services.

These are some of the struggles faced, but in the long run, there’s always that fulfillment derived from following your passion – the best part about being a creative. Unlike the 9 – 5 life and in the non-creative space, you can hardly work just by chance, or just to make ends meet. Most are there for passion, and in a clime like ours, following one’s passion isn’t exactly the best way to make a living – well just yet.

Adedamola Odetara is a young, budding fashion photographer who has got nods from heavyweights like Ugo Mozie, worked on amazing editorials with brands such as Maxivive, and has photographed icons like Naomi Campbell and Alton Mason.

Alton Mason, Kenneth Ize, Naomi Campbell. Photography by Adedamola Odetara, Arise Fashion Week 2018

We spoke to him about his passion for photography, fashion, his struggles, and life as a creative.

Temphas: How did it all start for you?

Adedamola: It started in 2015, I was following TY Bello on Instagram and I really wanted to know how she creates amazing images so I tried my hands on photoshop, followed more photographers and the interest developed

Temphas: When did you decide to take photography seriously?

Adedamola: A few months after I developed an interest. I realized it could be more than a hobby so I told my parents about it.

Temphas: How did your family react to this decision?

Adedamola: My parents did not have the idea of a “modern photographer”. To them, I wanted to go to parties and follow guests to take their pictures for 100/150 naira; so my dad was initially not receptive to the idea. My mom believes her children will be successful in any career so she was fine with that. After about two years I was finally allowed to attend a photography workshop with canon.

By Adedamola Odetara, for Maxivive.
By Adedamola Odetara, for Maxivive.

Temphas: Why fashion photography in particular?

Adedamola: That’s something I just found myself in 😂. I’ve always enjoyed going backstage at fashion shows to document the part of fashion week we don’t get to see often.

Temphas: If not fashion, what other aspect of photography might you be interested in?

Adedamola: I’m currently taking a deeper step into Documentary photography. This is my first “major” project that is not about fashion.

Temphas: Who inspired and still inspires you to do more, locally and internationally?

Adedamola: Photographers like Ty Bello had a lot to play in my decision. Other photographers like Tyler Mitchell, Myles Loftin, Clifford Prince King inspire me now.

Temphas: What part of your job is the most difficult?

Adedamola: For me, it’s the financial part. I still have issues giving clients quotes but I’m working on that.

Temphas: Describe a typical day at work

Adedamola: Every day at work is different. I don’t have a rigid work schedule.

Bridal Fashion Week, 2018

Temphas: What would you say is your best work so far?

Adedamola: I do not have a “best work” but, the job I enjoyed doing most was shooting backstage activities/portraits at Arise fashion week 2019. It was smooth and interesting.

Temphas: Who would you love to collaborate with next?

Adedamola: I’d love to work with more magazines both locally and internationally.

Temphas: What’s the worst part of being a fashion photographer?

Adedamola: Getting to see how discriminatory and unethical the fashion industry can be; especially to models.

Temphas: What’s the best part of being a fashion photographer?

Naomi Campbell at Arise Fashion Week, 2018, by Adedamola Odetara

Adedamola: Meeting new people and shooting in cool locations, being able to express myself visually in a creative way, and helping designers bring their ideas to life. It’s basically what I love about photography, I just love shooting.

Temphas: What’s your favourite camera and why?

Adedamola: The Canon 1dx series. I can’t afford them yet tho 😂

Temphas: Indoor or outdoor shoots?

Adedamola: Outdoor

Temphas: Event or editorial?

Adedamola: Editorial

Temphas: What’s next for you?

Adedamola: I’m currently working on a personal project. I hope everything goes well and it’s impactful when I’m done.

Alton Mason and Naomi Campbell at Arise Fashion Week, 2018, by Adedamola Odetara
Lagos Fashion Week 2018