In Conversation with: Bukunmi Oyewole

Bukunmi Oyewole is a Nigerian travel and documentary photographer. I own and manage a photography brand named Omnivisuals. I’m from Ilesha, Osun State and a I’m an English graduate from, Ekiti State University, Ado Ekiti.

Where did your passion for photography come from?

Well, as a little child, I was always fascinated with the camera, but I never had access to one. Then during my teenage years, I got a camera phone and that was how it began. I started freezing moments until I got into it professionally.

What would you say sets you apart from other photographers out there?

All photographers are very unique in their own ways, artists in general are. They don’t take pictures the same, it can never happen. But what makes one more unique than the other is professional self development. The photographer today should be different from the photographer in the next six months. That is growth and there is no limit to growth in this creative industry. So, I choose to keep growing, to keep evolving professionally, no matter what.

What/who inspires your work?

My inspiration come from exploring cultures that are new to me, especially African cultures (which are underdocumented). Once in contact with a new culture, I don’t waste time in documenting every detail, even if it seems irrelevant to the culture proprietor. I tell their story exceptionally, and as it is. Sometimes, I make efforts to immerse myself into such culture, then, I start documenting as an insider and not an outsider. It is at such moments I begin to experience things I wouldn’t have experienced as an outsider, which further aids my visual story telling of the culture.

Apart from photography what else do you enjoy doing?

Apart from photography, I enjoy reading novels. Novel reading has always been there right from childhood, and nothing can take it away.

Where is your favourite place to take photos from?

Unfortunately, I don’t have any favourite place. I am a travel photographer that explores new destinations, captures what people see with their eyes everyday but do not notice, then showcase for the world to see. Such that the new destination is at that moment my favourite place, until I move onto the next.

Of all the photographs you have ever taken which one is your favourite?

I have many favourites but I will just pull one out. This was captioned, “Heavyduty cars from years gone by still rocking our roads”.

What is the most important thing you consider when taking a photograph?

I consider the storyline most. My pictures usually tell a story that even without a caption, my audience would still get the message. I don’t shoot without having in mind that my image must tell a story.

Who are your favourite photographers and why them?

My only favourite photographer is Eli Reed, an American documentary photographer. He is my favourite because his works focus on premises that have deep meanings to him, works that focus on the fragility of children. Sometimes while I was reading on him, he said, “Kids are naturally cute, so,  that’s an easy one. They are innocent and beautiful. I never try to make them cute and if they come out that way, it is an accident, but an accident that was bound to happen”. After reading that, I said to myself, “This is my man. Definitely my man”.

What is the one thing you can’t live without?

This may seem really crazy, but I can’t live without a radio. I’m so addicted to the radio that, if I’m in a different language environment, I just listen. It’s a source of entertainment I don’t joke with.

Given the chance who in the world would you want to photograph?

Wow! Given that chance, I would love to photograph Asa (aka Bukola Elemide). She is a French Nigerian singer based in France. The funny thing is I’m even unperturbed as to whether I will photograph her or not. I know I will, only that I don’t know how it will happen, but I will.

Where in the world would be your dream place to go, and take photos?

I’ve always dreamt of a place all my life, and that is Trinidad and Tobago, the country of Twin Islands. It is top on my photo-tour destination.

What is the top song in your playlist right now?

-As a fan of old-school, only one song is always top of my playlist and that is Jean Wyclef’s “Take me as I am”. I use the song to constantly remind myself that I’m not perfect but should always try to make things right.

What are you most fond of about being Nigerian?

Strangely, I’m so fond of the map of my country. The map of Nigeria is a really beautiful and outstanding one. It has head and tail. If you’re reading this, go check it out.

How would you like to be remembered?

I guess as a photographer, what I would be remembered for is by default my images.

How can people get in touch with you or access your work?

I can be reached via email (bukunming@gmail.com) or LinkedIn (Bukunmi Oyewole). My works can be viewed on Instagram (@omnivisuals- https://www.instagram.com/omnivisuals/) and my website (www.omnivisualsng.com). I’m available for commissioned projects and assignment.

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