Here’s a piece I wrote for the Inkwell:
Gabriel Amadi-Emina has a dreamcatcher hanging above his bed. The wordsque sera sera pop out from its center and add to the wall’s oneiric and decorative feel. He tells me that it was a gift from a counselor at Camp Kudzu, a camp for kids with diabetes where he volunteered as a photographer the previous summer.
He moved to the United States 8 years ago from Nigeria, and is currently an Art major at Armstrong.
We sit down, and he curates his best samples from files of neatly organized folders.
We come across a picture of him sitting in a cluttered room. The picture is honest to reality, or at least to his. It holds true the setting, which he is quick to remind me.
He takes me through multiple black-and-white photographs; the PC becoming more and more monochrome as the minutes go by.
“Color distracts from a picture, especially people,” he says. “Black and white enhances the dramatic feel. There is more than what meets the eye.”
“I am different in the way I approach people. When I walk up to request to take a picture, I break social discomfort. In Nigeria, there is no such thing as a bubble, when people greet you, they kiss you on the cheek.”
He tells me that there is a duality in what he does: he is a serious photographer, who sets aside his chill attitude as soon as he gets ahold of his Nikon camera.
He looks up pictures constantly, drawing influences from the calibres of Sally Mann and the talents of Chris Devour. He dreams big, and hopes to one day work for Vogue, Time Magazine, or perhaps become a photography teacher.
“One day, I want people to say that they were inspired by me. I want them to say: ‘my photography teacher was the reason why I am a photographer.’”
He is aware that it will take many years of work and practice to consolidate his talent. Many will not like him, but he will keep on going.
At the end of the day, like the words on his dreamcatcher, whatever will be, will certainly be.