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Focus On Nature – Gov Diri’s SSA On Tourism Tells Photographers

The Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to the Governor of Bayelsa State on Tourism, Mr Piriye Kiyaramo has enjoined professional photographers to focus their attention on nature photography, adding that nature is an incredibly vast and abundant subject to photograph, with its ever-changing landscapes and cycles of birth, death, and rebirth. 

Mr. Kiyaramo maintained that the tourism industry is driven by biodiversity, informing that tourist destinations such as tropical forests, beaches, national parks and urban areas depend on their natural beauty to attract visitors and enchant them during their stay in such destinations.

Speaking at a photography training seminar for young people, organised by “Snapshot”, an indigenous photography advocacy and training organization, as part the 2022 Press Week of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) Bayelsa State Council, the Ernest Ikoli Press Centre, Yenagoa, on Wednesday, Mr. Kiyaramo reiterated that the natural world offers endless possibilities for wildlife and landscape photography.

According to the governor’s aide, nature photography has to do with a wide range of outdoor photography devoted to displaying natural elements, such as landscapes, wildlife, plants, and close-ups of natural scenes and textures, noting that “nature photography tends to put a stronger emphasis on the aesthetic value of the photo, than other photography genres like photojournalism and documentary photography”.

He said photography, being part of art tourism has a huge market in Bayelsa State, given the beautiful landscapes, seascapes, lakes, the long coastline, fine beaches, terrestrial and marine wildlife and the rich cultural heritage of the Ijaws which is usually expressed through their colourful local festivals across all communities in the state. 

The SSA maintained that: “Our heritage, artistic and cultural life of the Ijaws, can attract tourists to the state and create better quality of life for the people at the grassroots, saying that “the pairing of arts and culture with tourism will lead to economic development and bring visitors to the rural communities, while contributing to the wellbeing of the people, as well as invigorating local communities through creative practices.

Mr Kiyaramo added that “ecotourism plays an important role in raising awareness on sustainable forest development, while motivating people to conserve their forests, and teaching them the importance of conserving biodiversity for human livelihood”.

In his opening remarks, Chairman of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) Comrade Samuel Numonengi enjoined participants at the photography seminar to take advantage of the training to update their knowledge in the practice of photography, while commending the organisers of the training.

Mr. Timipre Willis Amah, an award winning Fine Art and Documentary photographer, painter, printmaker and lecturer with the Department of Fine and Applied Arts, Niger Delta University, Wilberforce Island, while making his presentatation on Fine Art and Documentary photography, said “in view of the significant role photography plays as a media communication tool and visual creativity, the younger generation needed to be encouraged to leverage on photographic arts for work and for the betterment of society”.

Amah explained that “Snapshot is an indigenous photography advocacy and training organization, dedicated to engaging young people through photography to enhance the use and creativity of this powerful and prevalent tool”.

In his presentation, the Niger Delta  Correspondent of Reuters News Agency and Chairman of Correspondents’ Chapel of Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Bayelsa State Council, Mr. Tife Owolabi who was part of the organisers, explained that the event was meant to train young photographers to tell stories through pictures, adding that not everyone with a camera or smartphone could tell stories via the tools in their hands. 

Mr Owolabi said: “As a photojournalist, you are not different from a regular reporter, only that you are using visuals/pictures to tell the story which involves techniques by using the 5Ws and H. And as a people, we must also learn how to tell our own stories, and preserve history for posterity”. 

On his part, Mr. Bodise Wilson, a veteran photojournalist who had worked with the Vanguard Newspaper and Ovation Magazine in London, said photography remains a big business and encouraged participants to carry themselves highly with humility and self-esteem. 

According to Mr Wilson, the global digital photography market accounted for $79.12billion in 2017 and is projected to reach $149.98billion by 2026 with a 74% compound annual growth rate during the forecast period. 

He said the vision of Snapshot was to unlock and cultivate the dreams of aspiring young photographers in the Niger Delta Region and beyond, through transformative photography workshops.

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