Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Image Tower Boss, James Izidor on combining law and photography

It's funny that James who doesn't fancy being at the camera's spotlight performs lotta magic and miracles behind it. James Jesse Izidor, the CEO of image tower is a 400 level law student of the Rivers State University of Science and Technology. James also does visual arts, writes poems and songs. In this exclusive interview, we discussed his brand, image tower and the place of photography in Nigeria. James, is one photographer to watch out for in the next five years as he may be doing some work with NatGeo wild by then and image tower would have been an international brand doing movie productions and lots more. Enjoy...  

How did image tower come about? : Image tower photography started just as any other big thing started, from an idea that became a reality. It started from my mind. I wanted to run and own an imaging house, but it seemed impossible because I lacked the motivation and support, my academics too. I wondered how I would merge studying law and doing photography. So, one day I decided to give it a shot,  I got a camera and got started and I did so without much support initially. I kick started, putting my passion first and goals second. I set out to build a new brand, image tower photography.   

How have you been coping ever since with photography and studying law? : It's not been easy merging law and photography because both are different forms of art, completely independent of each other, especially when trying to build a career from both. I try my best to deal with both photography and law efficientl, but it's not been easy. And,  of course I give my studies hundred percent attention. You know law is  jealous, it requires attention at all times, but I still go back to my passion - photography when I get the opportunity to do so. It may seem absurd to a lot of personsattention, law & photography? Why? It doesnt sync, but, hey, I  mean we are human and the sky is our limit, so why limit myself with just one thing when there's a whole lot to pick from? Most importantly, I put my passion first. Most people won't get it, but if everyone would face what they really have passion for then no one would really worry about unemployment. *laughs*   

You mentioned lacking support from the outset, whose support did you refer to and how were you able to keep up without the supports? : Initial support from family members, especially my parents. But, they have seen that photography is what I want, they gave in and here I am. It wasnt easy. *laughs*   

What is the idea behind the name image tower? : The name was inspired by a friend. It took us two hours to arrive at image tower after arguing over what's best for the brand. He looked at a very tall building and the sky and it just came out as a sudden expression, 'image tower'. I wasn't convinced, but my friend suggested that image tower was perfect and I trusted him.   

What about photography do you find the most interesting? : The fact that it's a language of its' own, a world of new creativity, an arena of creativity. It's never boring and the most amazing thing is photography gives you an elastic mindset.   What about Photography do you find uninteresting at any point? : If I said everything is interesting that would make me a liar. Well, it varies from one photographer to another, for me, it's really uninteresting when your subject or clients are absolutely boring.   

So, how do you handle boring clients? : You could give them alcohol. *laughs* Well, sometimes after you try and try you just discover nothing can be done about it, but you'd just try your best to make sure the pictures come out excellent from your own end.   

How do you react when your clients complain about your works? : I'd feel bad, really really bad, especially when they get to compare my works with  jobs of high profile photographers and the older photographers. It's just a blue feeling, really not good.   

How does your age and level of experience affect your job as a Photographer? : Age has nothing to do with it, except some client at the first meeting will think that I cannot handle their jobs because I'm still very young, they seem to expect a grandfather. But, again I'd just have to suprise them and create the impression that young or old, anyone can do photography. As for experience, yes it does a whole lot.   

So, what do you do to improve your craft considering that you don't have much experience? : Open my mind more, read about new stuff on photography and of course, check what my role models are doing.   

Who are your role models? : Kelechi Amadi Obi, TY Bello, the dean of image faculty, Lube Abubakar.   

Which brands, artistes, celebrities, or personalities would you want to work with and why? : TY Bello as a pphotographer, I  pick quite a lot from her, I  like how amazing she is and each of her photography tells a story especially about Africa. Then international models and photographers. Would also love to work with NatGeo wild.   

What's your view about photography in Nigeria? : Photography in Nigeria has taken a new twist and I am happy for that change. Photography in Nigeria has a new face.  Unlike before, if a child told his parents that he wants to be a photographer, he would either be yelled at or discouraged. I'm glad those days are behind us now as you can find people from all walks of life venturing into photography. Photography is an amazing adventure and I'm sure it's here to stay in Nigeria.   

What challenges do you face as a young photographer and how do you handle those? : My challenges as a young photographer, well my parents may still control certain aspects of my life, which can be quite restrictive at ttime. Combining law and photography is quite a Herculean task. Well, you may not get support from establishments and organizations as a young starter.   

What's your plan for image tower in five years time? : Image tower in five years is gonna be international, a well recognized brand internationally. Of course, image tower is going to expand to movie productions, music videos, motion pictures and a lot more.

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