Photographic Journalism, More Credible,Influential than any Branch of Photography – Dr. Adeboye Ola

Thursday December 16, 2021

Odutayo Odusanya

The images of photojournalists have been said to be more credible and influential based on the ethics of the profession than millions of images produced across the globe in the digital media. This was corroborated by the code of ethics of American National Press Photographers Association (NPPA) as well as its local counterpart in Nigeria, Guild of Photojournalists Nigeria which stipulates photojournalists to ” strive for pictures that report truthfully, honestly and objectively.”

This assertion was made by the Head of Department of General Studies, Nigerian Institute of Journalism , Dr Adeboye Ola who was a keynote speaker at the maiden edition of the Guild of Photojournalists Nigeria Conference and Exhibition in Lagos penultimate week.
The event which centred on Digital Revolution: Opportunities and Challenges in the 21st Century Photojournalism brought to fore the accommodating nature of digital technology which has put image taking at the reach of all, through mobile phones.

In making his submission clearer, Dr. Ola made reference to an American Photojournalist, Eugene Smith’s estimation; that photographic journalism, because of its tremendous audience reached by publications using it, has more influence on public thinking and opinion than any other branch of photography.

Adeboye said, “Photojournalists are beneficiaries of the internet technology. They not only have access to affordable digital cameras for the enhancement of their image taking capabilities and better image quality but also quality time is often saved as image transmission from the field to the newsroom is just a click away.

“The mainstream media is still relied upon to provide visual information that is credible and devoid of unnecessary manipulation in spite of the unprecedented huge volume of images witnessed in the 21st century.

Mr Akintunde Akinleye(right Mr Gbile Oshadipe

“With photography community experiencing a new professional life that has heralded the dawn of a new era.

“The media is benefiting immensely from the open access to User generated photographs on the internet, a development that has reduced their reliance on Photojournalists.” He quipped

The keynote speaker who advised photojournalists to face the new reality as they look ahead to more prosperous future said that paid employment in the media is no longer guaranteed as the media itself face an uncertain future in print journalism.

He added that time to start acquiring new skill sets is now as the media world maximises the digital technology to do multimedia stories. He enjoined professionals to put on ‘acquire list’ of every item that may enhance their skill in the practice.

In an opening remark by the chairman of Guild of Photojournalists Nigeria, Mr Abiodun Ajala, he said his leadership was tilted towards knowledge and only learning process can take members to that professional status expected of them all.

Chairman, Pastor Gbenga Ogunko

“GPN as a body has priortized knowledge driven curve, beneficial to entire members, prospective/ existing employers and society at large.
“We have embraced technology, mapped out training for development and also positioned members for opportunities. This serves as a booster to our morale and the great profession.
“Our concern at this stage of existence is growth, sustainability and partnership to attaining a global feat of digital inclusion.” Ajala stated

The event which had the Group Chairman of Mutual Benefits Assurance PLC, Dr Akinade Ogunbiyi as the chairman on the occasion was represented by Pastor Gbenga Ogunko.

L-R: Chairman, GPN, Mr Abiodun Ajala; chairman on the occasion, Pastor Gbenga Ogunko(3rd left); and speakers after presentation of certificate of participation to the speakers at the conference .

Ogunko, an Executive Director, Business Development at Mutual Benefits Assurance PLC extolled the virtues of photojournalists. He said their role within the ecosystem cannot be quantified and such contributions should be celebrated at all times.

“You can take any photograph,tell a story with it and such will be considered credible because you don’t add anything to it. You play critical roles because you are positioning brands, government, society which makes your profession very important. The digital revolution has not done any harm to your job but just enhanced it. Photographs must always tell a story and you can change the country with your photographs. Please always have it at the back of your minds that you are appreciated at all times.” Ogunro concluded

L-R: Keynote Speaker, Dr Adeboye Ola; chairman, Guild of Photojournalists Nigeria, Mr Abiodun Ajala; Chairman on the occasion, Pastor Gbenga Ogunko; guest speakers, Bukky Latunji.and Pastor Oyedeji during the symbolic presentation of Grand Matron to Revd. Esther Ajayi received by her representative, Ms. Bukky Latunji

A guest speaker and the Vice President of Product Marketing, Terragon, Mr Oti Ukubeyinje, in his own delivery, dwelt extensively on the professional outlook and future of the trade with his slides. He took audience on a journey of story through the lens and what people see in images and how they see them.

Ukebeyinje described technology as increasingly purchased device that requires continuous application especially as the theme connoted “digital revolution”. He highlighted the expanding playground of photography, its adaptive and evolving features. He further added that devices require knowledge and that publishing is done based on values. He posed a question, “Are you equipped for the digital world?”

Oti Ukubeyinje

He told the audience that professionals must have devices such as mobile phones, and drones to enhance their works . He enjoined them to be present in groups or community that has online assets and knowledge sharing platforms. He emphasized on educating the young and leading them aright as the face of the future. He concluded that monetising the localised image marketplace and NFT-digital asset and social media will create wealth such that the body of works of such professional Wii be enhanced.

L-R: Chairman, Guild of Photojournalists Nigeria, Mr Abiodun Ajala, Division Director of Marketing Edge, Aniete Udoh; General Manager, Strategy and Business Development, Mrs Mojisola Matesun; and Chairman on the occasion, Gbenga Ogunko, during the presentation of GPN Personality Award on Self Commitment and Motivation to founder, Marketing Edge at the GPN Awards in Lagos… recently

Another guest speaker and former General Manager, Zenith Bank PLC, Ms.Bukky Latunji was able to share her banking experience as it related to digital marketing and product and how the sector fared with the digital revolution.

However, Latunji in her submission harped on the embrace of technology by photojournalists as key element to successful career in the digital world. She advised the guild(GPN)to have a gallery for all members and collaborate more in the digital era for survival.

She said “You have to embrace technology, you need to catch up and overtake. You need to understand social media tools and also use technology to monitor fake video and photo images.”

Members of GPN at the conference & exhibition

She added that Central Bank of Nigeria has intervention fund that could be assessed by members of the Guild of Photojournalists Nigeria. She enjoins members to go to the bank even though pre qualification is attached but have the chance of getting 15Million Naira loan to support their vision.

However, the fourth speaker and Chief Coordinator of Tourism Klub, Pastor Oyedeji brought tourism angle into the session. He averred the need for private public partnership and request that photojournalists look into the sector with a view to tapping into the opportunities tourism has to offer.

Chairman, GPN, Abiodun Ajala(2nd left sitting) flanked by veterans and members of the guild.

In the course of the conference, two people were formally recognised for their special roles. The founder and Chief Executive Officer of MarketingEdge, Mr John Ajayi for his personal commitment and motivation demonstrated towards the stability of GPN. Also, the founder of Love of Christ Generation Church(C&S) Worldwide, Revd Mrs Esther Abimbola Ajayi who was presented with a plaque as she accepted the honour of being the grand matron for GPN.

The maiden conference which was celebrated with pump and pageantry had in attendance students from Nigerian Institute of Journalism, PR and media, telecommunications, tourism and banking world.

According to the Secretary of GPN, Mr Odutayo Odusanya, announced to the audience that the next edition of the conference would be bigger and better.

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