LadybrilleNigeria readers, we have a very nice treat for you! On our Facebook and Twitter fanpage, we told you all we had a surprise for you! Well, here we go! The surprise is our full-length and exclusive interview with Kayode Martins, one of Nigeria’s top photographers! Now if you know anything about Kayode Martins, you know he is a very private man. So, of course, we know all of you are itching to hear what he has to say. Enjoy!
When Kayode Martins speaks of his passion for photography and how he entered the field, you can visibly notice the change in his tone and the sense of excitement and contentment (when) he talks about his passion. His story is a journey of an ordinary Nigerian man, the least interested in photography, who surfs the internet only to stumble on the work of Joe Buissink (www.joebuissink.com), an American award winning celebrity and destination-wedding photographer. Buissink’s work was so powerful and so emotional, it changed Kayode Martins life, forever. Read on . . .
LadybrilleNigeria.com: (Thank you for the interview) What is your full name?
Kayode Martins (KM): Kayode Martins
LADYBRILLENIGERIA.COM: How did you enter photography?
KM: I never was a “photography person,” so much so that when I was getting married a few years back, I didn’t hire a photographer. I couldn’t really be bothered. I got a friend to shoot with his camera and this singular act continues to hunt me on a daily basis.
KM: I stumbled across the website of a guy who later became my major source of inspiration, it was really by chance. His name is Joe Buissink. I couldn’t believe this was wedding photography. His work was so emotional and inspiring, totally different from the sort of wedding photography I was used to seeing here in Nigeria. Going through his portfolio actually almost made me cry. He has remained one of my sources of inspiration. I purchased my first camera about a week after seeing his work. Joe Buissink is currently one of the top wedding photographers in the world.
LADYBRILLENIGERIA.COM: Joe Buissink is a world photographer. You are now trying to make a name internationally. How did you (make the jump) beyond the borders of Nigeria?
KM: My first trip outside Nigeria on a shoot was actually a personal portfolio I was building. I made up my mind, I needed to juice up my portfolio to be able to compete internationally and that’s how it started. I haven’t looked back ever since. The quality of the people I was able to meet, network with and the quality of the portfolio I was able to put together, has worked magic for my Xsightn brand.
LADYBRILLENIGERIA.COM: Why wedding photographs?
KM: Because they are emotional, because people love weddings, because this is the happiest day of the couple’s life, because this is actually the day the bride will ever look so gorgeous in her life. I love connecting with brides. If you follow my work on my blog, you will know I usually give a lot of preference to brides when I shoot.
LADYBRILLENIGERIA.COM: What keeps the fire burning within you because you seem to have been in this business for years?
KM: Just three years, really. Most people think I have been in the industry forever. You know that saying “find something you love doing and you won’t have to work for the rest of your life”, that really is it. I love photography and am just blessed to be able to get paid doing what I love.
LADYBRILLENIGERIA.COM: (You are still a new! (Laughs)) What is your educational background?
KM: I am a graduate of the University of Ibadan and I have attended the Senior Management Programme at the Lagos Business School.
LADYBRILLENIGERIA.COM: Are there any individuals that you believe have influenced you and your work?
KM: Mostly international figures because of the style of my work but I do love the work of a number of Nigerian photographers. My inspiration comes from people, from the environment, from television and from life itself.
LADYBRILLENIGERIA.COM: (You mentioned earlier that you were married.) [H]ow do you balance these two jobs especially if you have to travel outside the country regularly?
KM: I’m married with 2 great kids. My wife is the other half of the Xsightn brand and she fully supports me. If you have ever called the Xsightn number, you have spoken to Tosin, my wife. I spend a lot of time with my family when am not on assignment.
LADYBRILLENIGERIA.COM: Tell us something unique about Nigerian weddings? What makes them stand out so much that majority of your work is done on Nigerian weddings apart from the fact that you are Nigerian?
KM: The richness and authenticity of our culture/tradition stands out above everything else. The really beautiful part is that we have so many diverse cultures. Shooting a Yoruba wedding is very different from a Delta wedding. I was in Delta recently to shoot the wedding of The Rewanes, it was my first time in Delta and I was simply blown away by all things Delta. The event was totally different from what I was used to and it turned out to be one of the best weddings I ever shot. That’s the beauty of being a wedding photographer. You get to travel, to see and interact with different cultures.
LADYBRILLENIGERIA.COM: Do you see photography as a challenge, especially in weddings?
KM: Know the basics and you will be fine. Personally I think you get what you pay for.
LADYBRILLENIGERIA.COM: In your opinion, what is the level of quality photography in Nigeria? Is it stagnant or developing?
KM: Photography is really developing in Nigeria. While we are still a long way to go, locally, in terms of equipment and structure, Nigerian photographers based outside Nigeria are already operating at par with their international colleagues. Digital has made the barrier to entering into photography very low, but photographers don’t appear to be mastering the basics before they “slap on” the tag of professional photographer. A number of young Nigerian photographers are really doing amazing things locally though. . .
LADYBRILLENIGERIA.COM: Can you try and explain the chemistry you have with photography and especially in weddings because you seem to have some intense passion for the art.
KM: Hmmm, I love to say it’s a spiritual connection, really. I get very emotional when I shoot weddings. It’s almost like I enter what Joe Buissink calls the “Zen zone” when I shoot. I try to document every single scene because the day is so special and the bride isn’t able to see and experience everything for herself. I want to be able to take pictures that 10 years from now, the memory and joys of the wedding can still be re-lived.
LADYBRILLENIGERIA.COM: Do you think there is more you can do in your field or are you content with the way things are?
KM: I get a number of requests from young and new photographers to learn my style of photography on a daily basis; but unfortunately I think am not quite ready to teach. But in the near future, I want to be able to teach wedding photography with emphasis on photojournalism. However, I am content with photography a 100%.
LADYBRILLENIGERIA.COM: How do you maintain the consistency in the work you do as you go from one wedding to another?
KM: One of the qualities of a professional is consistency. Y ou need to be able to continue creating great work on a consistent basis. I don’t plan my shoots before a wedding. I go into every wedding with a clear head and shoot from the heart.
LADYBRILLENIGERIA.COM: Don’t you ever get tired? How do you relax?
KM: I try to keep in shape by running a lot. I currently run between 7-10 miles a week. I love movies and spending quality time with my beautiful family.
LADYBRILLENIGERIA.COM: Do you always catch the special moments during weddings?
KM: I like to think I do. I shoot over 3000 images a wedding just because I don’t want to miss anything. I have been known to shoot 5,000 plus images at a particular wedding just because everything was just so beautiful.
~Interview by Priscilla Bamfo
~Photos by Kayode Martins/Xsightn Photography
Visit Kayode at Xsightn.com