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Tolu Jinadu: Meet Nigeria’s famous Snipographer

For Tolu Jinadu, photographer was born out of his passion to create images that will be relevant in years to come; not for the money involved but for the rewards and commendation afterward. With over 90,000 pictures in his archives, Tolu was more prominent during the presidential campaign and election as his captivating pictures flooded the internet and made several newspaper covers; for many who followed his works, one will assume he will be announced as the official photographer of the president but the ever smiling Tolu disclosed in a chat with MUTIAT ALLI that his passion for photography and belief in PMB's thriving legacy; he equally shared his views on photography generally in Nigeria, his recently held photography exhibition amongst others.

Who is Tolu Jinadu?

I'm Tolu Jinadu, The Snipographer. It is a word I coined from Sniper and photography. As we know a sniper is someone who has the ability to shoot at his target from a long distance, without the knowledge of the target, "ographer" comes from part of the word photographer. So whether I am meant to be capturing a seemingly oblivious long distance image or an image posing for me, my aim is to deliver the best that I can.

The journey into the world of photography?

I was on my way to New Zealand to watch the 2011 Rugby World Cup and decided to buy a camera to take pictures of the tournament. The camera I bought was somewhat sophisticated and I had to take a course in photography so I could use it. My interest in the amazing capacity of how these little machines can capture timeless images increased daily as I kept changing from one sophisticated camera to even a more sophisticated one. My latest camera is a Canon 1DX which is currently the best Canon has. I am the official photographer of the church that I attend which is called The Father's Church pastored by Pastor Ikenna Okeke. As a matter of fact it was my Pastor who instigated and acted as a galvanizer for me to take this photography to a higher level. I would also not fail to mention that Pastor Mrs. Becky Enenche has countlessly asked me to take my passion in photography to a greater level, my pictures of the Dunamis church services also flood their website. I have several Facebook accounts. 'Tolu Jinadu' is my personal account, 'Nigeria Elections in Pictures' is an account I created during the campaign and rallies for the elections and 'The Snipographer' is my official account.

Did you set out to be a photographer while growing up?

No I did not. As a child, I delved into car stunt driving and I loved to play Rugby as a sport, I thought I’ll grow up to be a professional player or business analyst.

The photography business before and now; what has changed?

It has moved drastically from analogue to digital. Photography started with a camera and the basic idea has been around since about the 5th century B.C. At that time cameras did not record pictures but just projected them onto another surface. Presently cameras and lenses have such amazingly diverse abilities and performing many different functions.

How profitable is the business?

Very profitable as there are many streams of income associated with the photography business. Photography has now diversified from not just shooting human images to all manner and kinds of settings, scenarios and objects. We also have the nitty gritty like framing, preserving of images made easier, etc.

Will you allow your children delve into the art too?

Of course, I will. It was a passion now turned into a career. As a matter of fact, one of my sons who is now eight (8) years is already showing serious interest in photo taking. My studio, which is already under construction is open to any of my children who may want to be part of the business.

What inspires your creativity?

Passion! The passion of capturing an ordinary image and preserving it as a piece that can be appreciated years to come especially capturing unforgettable moments that will the story of lifetime to come. To think that in the next 100 years, if Jesus tarries, people would be able to appreciate these images as if there were present at that time, talk about the present day dragon fossil, it is astonishing! You are one of Nigeria’s finest photographer whose work flooded the internet during the presidential

campaign and one begin to wonder why you were not picked as the president’s photographer?

It has never been my ambition to become the president's photographer. I did all I did out of my passion for photography and my belief in PMB's thriving legacy to become the president that the people will come to love. I decided to do all these on my own without external support. I financed all my journeys to the states I covered. This was my little way of contributing

You recently held a photographer exhibition, what is its significance?

As the Theme of the exhibition implied 'The Reason… One Nation.' The aim of the exhibition therefore was to remind us how we (Nigerians), came together as a nation untied to bring the present government into power and also to remind the government that the people's hopes are still very high. It showed unquestionable victory in unity as depicted in pictures.

How many of your works were exhibited?

I exhibited over 400 pictures out of over 90,000 pictures I have in my archive of the pre-election, during election and post-election period.

What inspires the show?

The photo exhibition was to celebrate the one year anniversary of the present government. In line with this, it is also to encourage us Nigerians to be patient with the government and for the government to also remember the people's passion that brought them to power.

General though on photographer in Nigeria?

We have a long way to go. The whole stream of photography has not been fully tapped yet in Nigeria. To mention a few, we have product photography, fashion photography, wild life photography etc. All these branches of photography have so much gaps which must be filled before we can really say we are doing well. We have a very large room for expansion and also growth. But we would get there by the grace of With several leading photographers and budding ones, are you not scared that you might be overshadowed in anytime soon?

Overshadow? LOL….. Until then.

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