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I consider Art in itself pure self-expression, and Photography is just one of the ways to express. With photography, you can say what you want to say, or tell what others are saying. You can create ideas or document them. It can create ideas, preserve memories, influence decisions, compelling actions, and affect emotions. It has the power to bring the past to the present, to preserve the present for the future and to predict the future in the present. It's not just about the interactions that happen without, but the thoughts and feelings that initiate them, that inspire them, that drive these actions of interaction and this concept of living. My work documents the different forms these feelings and interactions take. I shoot humans, real people doing real things. I try to question motives and intentions, and I try to interpret these interactions and how they are initiated. I try to capture depth and vulnerability, truth, and soul, in the most honest way I can. I tell real stories, of myself and my thoughts, and my understanding of others. In a way, I help people question their motives and attitudes, their fears, and the unwritten rules which have formed our environment and our behavior within it.
Lex, what are your passion and aspiration in life? How did you start as Photographer?
I'm passionate about God, People, and Art. These 3 things inform all of my existence and all of my photography because they bring to the fore the essence of everything else. I started out being an illustrator and graphic artist. I would draw and make interesting photo manipulations, and I noticed that it was difficult to find images of black people to use for my work, so I set out to begin to create my own. Now I do more photography than anything else.
Who is your inspiration in life Lex? How do you stay inspired as a Photographer?
I get inspiration from conversations I have with people around me, my experiences, and my learnings. I'm an avid researcher and learner, so I'm always seeking new knowledge and ideas.
We all make mistakes Lex; we wish we could take back. What was the mistake you made in the past that you wish you can take back?
I wish I were more self-aware growing up. I wish I had more clarity and understanding of what I was doing. I also wish I was bold enough to take more risks.
Lex, How do you describe yourself in terms of working with clients?
I'm open and honest. I'm also sensitive and patient. As much as I am keen with regards to my art, I also understand that people have varying experiences and these inform who they are and their general outlook. I keep these in mind when I relate with people generally, and I treat my clients with the same regard and respect.
Please tell us, Lex, how do you prioritize work, social life, friends, and family?
Being a photographer, it's a bit easier to balance this because I love what I do, and it avails me the opportunity to have as much social life as work-life. That said, I'm not all perfect. But I'm keen on making an effort to balance these out.
Lex, please give us an example of a time when you were able to persuade someone to see things your way at work successfully.
I believe in a show and tell the system when it comes to changing another person's perspective on a thing. As much as I can remember, I know I've had to do a bit of extra research, put together a trail of thoughts to share with a fellow team member or a client my point of view on things, so they understand. It always works because all people need is more information and proof. A vivid example would be convincing my parents I wanted to go into photography full time. I had to present facts and proof that it was going to work, and that I wasn't going blindly to face an unknown territory. They fully back my decision now.
Lex, please tell us about your proudest professional accomplishment as a Photographer.
I got the privilege to show at an exhibition in Lagos, and as I walked around with presspersons, and talking about my traditionally controversial art, after QnA, I heard one of the participants say, "I'm all for this. We've been told lies all our lives". Someone who had internalized misogyny all her life was beginning to see how perfect she was and how much power she had
Lex, please give us an example of a time you were able to be creative with your work. What was exciting or difficult about it?
My work requires me to be consistently creative. It's part of my job description to make things out of thin air.
What advice would you give to the people who want to be successful as a Photographer?
Be consistent and be an avid learner. The only thing holding you back from getting better is what you know so far. Know more to grow more.
Photographer: Lex Ash @thelexash