Taken in Kaduna, Nigeria, 2014 and probably one of my favourite photos. If I was to describe this in a book, I would just think, ‘Colour, life and more colour.’
Everything about this photo reminds me of Nigeria, West Africa, where I was born and was probably the happiest time of my life. When I look at it, I feel nothing but joy.
Photography writing is as much about drawing from memories as it is about what those memories are trying to tell us. I’ve mentored a few authors in my time, and when they get to the inevitable ‘I’m-stuck-and-I-don’t-know-what-to-do stage’ of their manuscript, I usually tell them to leave the manuscript, go for a walk, and if possible, take their smartphone with them. That way, they can capture whatever takes their fancy on the camera in one quick click. By the time they do this for a few days or weeks (or however long it takes), their juices are recharged, and they go back to their manuscript, creatively liberated and rearing to go.
And those photos they took on their walks? Time and time again, I’m told they find themselves going through those photos and using them as emotional triggers, which in turn helps them to write with better, greater depth.
Talking about memory triggers, I took this picture after a day of ‘touring’ villages in Kaduna and speaking to victims of the most hideous massacres. Seeing this lady and her daughter smile whilst chopping okra in preparation of the evening meal, reassured me that while outside their compound walls was fear, within those women was faith and love. And those two things will always overcome fear and evil.
Whether you’re a photographer looking to improve your writing, or a writer looking to complement your writing skills with photography, the one thing I would say to you is this: what are the memories of your photos trying to tell you?