Importance of Pictures: Chibuzo-Ikenna’s Story

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 In News

The importance of pictures has been on Chibuzo-Ikenna’s mind throughout his life.


Growing up in West Africa – Nigeria, to be precise – was not the lofty dream we have when we’re born and have the ability to dream. I remember first really looking at my home – I mean the rickety dusty mud home which every Nigerian was born into except of course the affluent 2% and the politicians (drawing out politicians from the affluent 2% is a discussion for another day).

Since then, I personally have had the opportunity to witness seemingly life-changing scenarios, events and happenings that have changed and more accurately shaped my life, thought-processes and behavior – for good, I suppose.

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Life-changing scenarios like the burning down of an old family house in the northern part of Nigeria where we lived for over 15 years. Or the victorious and amazing look depicted on my brother’s face when he trekked from Bama road in Maiduguri to the GRA, a distance roughly more than 10 kilometres, at age 9.

The point of this blog is that sometimes I sit back to recount those odd yet superb events that unfolded during my developing years. But unfortunately, I can’t seem to remember them all because time has taken its toil on my memories, and more importantly, because I didn’t take a photograph of that event or that face.

You’ll agree that it is only when we have a special occasion – a joyous one, for that matter – that we decide to take a picture for posterity’s sake. We don’t chronicle the less-typical precious moments that could serve as lessons later.

In 1994, I had the torturing experience of watching my house razed by a sporadic bush fire. (For those that know Maiduguri well, it’s one big, dry pasture). A single photograph would not only have made me remember the event, but raised prominent questions as to what the government is doing about these fires – we were safe, but the same cannot be said about our properties and livestock, as the inferno swept through before the fire services arrived.

I can only recount that day now in disgust of the tragedy with faint memories of the actual occurrences. But I reason now that if I had taken a photograph then, who knows? With the advent of the social media, there might have been a fight to correct this societal ill.

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Pictures should form our everyday lives, capture every moment we cherish, whether good or bad. They go a long way to improving our individual lives, lives of others or even correcting a societal ill. Then, of course, it helps you recount and explain in vivid detail to someone who wasn’t part of the experience.

Life has been made considerably easier, as all our smart phones have cameras embedded. What are you waiting for when you have that next bizarre occurrence? Pull out that smart phone and take a photo. Do not wait for that special occasion.


Submitted by Chibuzo-Ikenna, a photo journalist and picture enthusiast. Follow him on Twitter @Chibuzo_Ikenna.


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