News Agency of Nigeria photographers, Jones Bamidele, Obasa Olatunji and Emmanuella Madu, have clinched the 2019 Photography Competition award organised by UNDP, Art for Humanity and Federal Ministry of Environment.
Olatunji, a senior photojournalist with the Punch newspaper, received the first prize, Bamidele got the second prize, while Madu, an architect, went away with the third prize.
The UNDP Resident Representative, Mohamed Yahya, while presenting the prizes to the winners at the UN House in Abuja, urged them to continue to take photographs that contribute to development.
He said there were over 200 entries in the national photo contest and each entry was given a thorough scrutiny to ensure it speaks about environmental issues, taken recently and accompanied by a story that really convey the message that enlighten the public.
NAN reports that in October, UNDP, working with the Art for Humanity and the Federal Ministry of Environment, organised the first photo contest for professional and amateur photographers.
The photographs were to speak specifically on pollution, deforestation, climate change and waste management; and entries by the three winners were adjudged best by the jury.
Musonda Lucky, the UNDP Head of Communication and Partnership in Nigeria, said the aim of the competition was to encourage photographers use their skills to tell stories around critical development related issues.
Lucky said: “This is because as they say: ‘A picture says a thousand words,’ we also think a picture will expose a lot of potential areas of intervention that we as UNDP are working on.
“If we engage photographers and encourage them to help us tell a story, it will amplify some of the work we (UNDP) are doing here and of course it will bring to the public what issues they are in the country, which are related to development in general and environment in particular.”
Lucky explained that the 2019 Photography Competition involved analysing hundreds of photographs submitted by a lot of photographers across the country, and the selection went through two levels of evaluation looking at many factors.
He said: “The contest was about looking at environment issues through the eyes of photographers.
“So, we found it very interesting because we then learnt from the photographers that people look at environmental issues from different angles and they are willing to tell their stories from their angles.
“We appreciate photographers who are out there in the fields, in the communities, engaging with the public, engaging with the environment and they want to share with us their stories using their cameras.
“So, it was very interesting and interactive, which we wanted to try out for the first time and I think with the response we got, there are a lot of potentials to collaborate with photographers and also to engage them more in telling the stories that the environment issues or the general development issues that the country faces can be told by the people with skill in photography.”
Similarly, Ossai Efe, the Executive Director of Art for Humanity, a co-organiser of the photo contest, was happy for the opportunity the contest has provided photographers to showcase their skills.
Efe said: “For us, it was an opportunity not just to reward creativity but most importantly, to see how great issues that we face as a nation are being put in pictorial stories in a way that calls for global attention.
“So, it is win-win both for the participants, for us as organisers; being able to create that platform that make visual stories to be relevant to national development and the nation at large.
“With this visual stories, we hope that beyond this competition, action at the policy making and implementation levels will be taken to see that we live in a better environment.”
Olatunji, first prize winner, said the award would spur him to think photography and eat photography.
He also advised other photographers to be creative and also take invitation for entry into photo contests seriously.
“Basically, I have won several awards such as the Wole Soyinka Award for Investigative Reporting, Nigeria Breweries Golden Pen Award, Nigeria Media Merit Award, PMAN Award, Diamond Merit Award and this UNDP award,” he said.
Bamidele, the second prize winner, said he had won many awards in graphics and photography, but cherished the UNDP award above all.
“I always tell my colleagues that award winning photographs are not gotten from press conferences. We should be very diligent and creative, as we pride our trade. We should also find time to put in for competitions and stage photo exhibitions to showcase our talents at every given opportunity,” he advised.
Madu, the third prize winner said she reluctantly entered the competition because she thought it was a waste of time.
She said it was her friends’ encouragement that made search through her photo gallery from which she submitted her winning entry.
She was glad she entered the competition and was grateful to the organisers for finding a place for her entry in the first three.