I had the opportunity to interview Nana Kofi Owusu Sekyere, popularly known in the Fashion and Photography industry as Cliq Kofi, a final year student majoring in Sculpture in KNUST. Cliqkofi has been identified for the unique and stunning images he creates through his lens and top notch editing skills. A Former student of the Presbyterian Boy’s Secondary School in Legon, Kofi hails from Bonwire in the Ashanti Region of Ghana.
Talking exclusively to CliqKofi, he tells his life story on how his photography career started and transformed from a hobby to a well-paying job he loves doing. ‘’It all started with a passion for editing and creating interesting images, downloading pictures from the internet just to enhance them in another way just for fun and to post them on Facebook for likes and comments, I later started taking pictures of myself to edit and later moved to borrowing digital cameras from friends, but the resolution wasn’t high’ he said.
The Major turning point for CliqKofi was in 2011, when he was invited for a photo shoot. “When the pictures came out I was really impressed with the quality of the images, because there was a big difference as compared to what I was doing. I enquired and I was told the software being used was ‘Adobe Light Room’ I quickly downloaded it and started practicing through YouTube videos till I became really good at it”
In 2013, A year after when CliqKofi was admitted into KNUST, he continued the editing skills he regarded as just a hobby, until he met a friend who owned a Canon T4i. “We had a collabo, where he shoots whiles I did the editing. As time went on, I kept asking him to give me his camera to try my hands on it. I again downloaded tutorials on how to use the camera, I watched and practiced till I returned the camera, my skills in taking shots improved tremendously alongside the editing which I had already started”
“My first job was in May 2014, a friend’s birthday party where I made 200 Ghana Cedis. I used the money to buy a trigger and a reflector, which was my first camera equipment used as a light modifier to reflect light from the sun or any artificial light to the subject. I started doing photo shoots with friends like Quables, Randy Kotey and other friends.” Through passion and dedication, Cliqkofi thrived by self-training himself via Youtube videos and constant practicing. “YouTube is my best friend, if there’s something I don’t know, or I see something on someone’s profile, I try to figure out what it is myself by going to YouTube to search for it, practice it till I become better.
CliqKofi’s style of Photography is mainly directed towards Fashion Photography and Photo Manipulation. But his versatility has taken him into Interior, Wedding, Wildlife, Landscape photography and more. Talking on how lucrative photography has become “I would say the photography job is very lucrative, I can earn ranging from 1,500 Cedis and above depending on the job but for a wedding, averagely I charge 3,000 ghana cedis.”
With Photography being a very lucrative job as compared to the old times, Cliqkofi believes that photography in Ghana has transformed rapidly. “Contemporary photographers are more focused on capturing moments, the angles they take the pictures from, how the pictures look at the end, basically something that would make the picture look memorable”
Speaking on the Challenges he faces as a photographer and a student. “Well I’d say most photographers face challenges with respect to equipments, because I don’t think you can possess every single lens and equipment, so you have to stick to borrowing from friends. Because some of the lens can cost close to $3000. So sometimes you have to rent from elsewhere or resort to cheaper alternatives which might not do the job properly. Its quiet hectic trying to balance photography with school, because I have to sometimes turn down gigs in order not to miss some lectures or Mid-Sem Exams”
CliqKofi looks to enter into photography full-time when he graduates hopefully this year. “I’m going to do photography full-time but I don’t want to limit myself to the commercial aspect of it but also focus on the Art aspect. I’ve realized conceptual photography is very limited and rare, it’s like only those who went to KNUST who are mostly into that.”
Concluding the interview, CliqKofi had these few words of advice to all students and individuals with a passion and interest for any activity or career. ” Anybody who has a passion, you shouldn’t be sitting down waiting for someone to spoon feed you, because there are so many sources of information around, so many things you can learn on your own, there’s YouTube, several websites, just search for it. In this life there are NO Excuses, so far as you have two hands and two legs, you can talk, move your body, i don’t see why you should be hindered. Go for it !