Stakeholders in Nigerian photography have called on the National Universities Commission (NUC) to make photography an independent discipline as it plans to upgrade mass communication programmes in Nigerian universities to promote scholarship and specialisation.
They made the call in a statement signed by the Conveners of the annual Creative Photography Masterclass, it’s facilitators, Photographers’ Association of Nigeria (PAN), Depth of Field, Photo Garage, Nlele Institute, practicing professional photographers and a host of others
“On behalf of the profession of photography in Nigeria, we suggest to the NUC that it should include photography as a discipline on its own in your laudable plans to upgrade mass communication programmes in Nigerian universities to promote scholarship and specialization,” the statement said.
The statement further explained that “Photography is one of the oldest foreign professions in Nigeria and was practiced long before filmmaking. Jonathan Adagogo Green Nigeria’s first recognised indigenous professional photographer practiced between the 1880s and 1905. He worked mostly in and around the Niger Delta and his exceptional photographs were published in prestigious newspapers and magazines in Britain and Europe”.
Nigeria, the statement continued, has since produced multi-thousands of professional photographers both male and female; many of them international award winners and highly acclaimed on the international creative art and culture scene.
Noting that Nigeria’s late great photographer J. D. Okhai Ojeikere is recognised as a World Master Photographer and is honoured as such in the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) in America, the statement added that photography is now recognised as an independent discipline that can be studied up to PhD level in universities and tertiary institutions in America, Europe and Asia.
“Thankfully, photography is being offered as an elective at SSS level in Nigeria. In the light of the relevant and academic observations above, we suggest that you revamp your proposed new mass communication programmes. Specifically, we suggest you offer a Photography & Film Studies as per number 5 of your proposed new programmes.
“These disciplines are closely interelated and interdependent and have enough knowledge to be on their own. We willingly offer you our vast expertise to help you formulate a curriculum for Photography Studies at tertiary level”.
Notable practitioners like Adolphus Opara, Godwin Nkemakonam Anaebonam, Tam Fiofori, Don Barber, Jide Adeniyi-Jones, Yemi Odebunmi, Lemmy Ijeoma, Pius Ekpei, Victor Agunbiade, Uchechukwu James Iroha, Kelechi Amadi-Obi, Amaize Ojeikere, Uche Okpa Iroha, George Esiri, Kunle Ogunfuyi, Armah Willis, and Chriss Nwobu, signed the statement.