Eghosa Omoruyi’s Renaissance photographs imitate real-life paintings with a mix of classical appearances, summing up to a wistful memory of periods known in history. His photographs closely transport his audience to imagery from ages past and are sometimes merged with a subtle blend of present-day storytelling.
The fine art photographer and photo manipulator began his creative journey with photo manipulation by combining pictures together to form various art pieces and eventually purchased his first camera in 2018 to catalyse his passion for being a professional photographer.
His first solo exhibition, Painterly, was held in Lagos on June 19 2022 with a simultaneous exhibition at the University of Indianapolis on the same day. Recently, his pieces were exhibited by ArtViaYou and Ceracerni’s ArtHub. His works have also been showcased in Paris and Rome.
Eghosa’s diary entails insight into running a home studio, and lessons learnt from four years of experience in photography.
What does a typical day look like in your life? What is your routine from when you wake up till the end of your day?
Basically, I wake up, pray, pick up my laptop and edit my website for the day. I check on the website to see if there are reviews or comments that I need to reply to. I’m indoors most time because my studio is at home.
What’s your routine when you have to work? What’s the process when you have a shoot during the day?
I hardly do commercial jobs, like birthday shoots. I focus more on my personal work. Before the day of the shoot, I’d have called the model or told them what I want to do, and I’d have sent the sketch. On the day of the shoot, I just sit down and prepare the set design and the lighting and we start when the models and the stylists arrive. I don’t really spend much time doing my shoots, because I already know what I want to get and that makes it easier. Plus, it’s Lagos, and you have to do everything fast so everybody can get home on time.
Okay. For your shoots, how many hours of research do you do before working on each photograph?
I wouldn’t say I do much research. I can be scrolling on Instagram, or looking at something somewhere and I’d just see an image and get inspiration from it and try to relate it to things around me. Then I try to get my own creativity from it. Sometimes when I’m in church, I get some inspiration and I work with it. For instance, I actually got the title of my solo exhibition, Painterly, in church when I was praying to God for it, and everything was just correlating. So most times it’s just inspiration from God or what I see around me.
Interesting. What exactly does Painterly represent?
Painterly means something that looks like a painting but is not a painting. That was basically it.
After your shoots, what do you do in the evening?
I stay with my dad. I like to finish my shoot before he comes back from work so I can attend to his own needs. I put everything in order and if I still have the energy to edit at night, I start working on the pictures. If I don’t, I work on the pictures the next day.
What can you be found doing if you’re not working on photography?
Most times, I’m either on Netflix or I’m researching some engineering stuff.
I’m a mechanical engineering graduate from The Petroleum Training Institute.
So what piqued your interest to become a photographer?
Right from time, I’ve always loved being creative. That’s one of the reasons I studied mechanical engineering. Before I started photography, I was into photo manipulation. By 2018, I got my first camera and I was always watching videos on YouTube on how to photograph images.
Pretty interesting. I love how a lot of people are utilizing YouTube. I’ve spoken to a lot of creatives who learnt from YouTube. It’s one of the advantages of technology.
Yeah, exactly. If you ask some people, they’ll tell you they don’t want to learn from YouTube, they’d rather learn from someone physically. I’m like, why? This is something you can actually control, you can always rewind, and fast forward. It’s all a matter of zeal, actually.
Yeah true. What’s your favourite piece of work, and why?
I don’t have any favourites, because I like all of them, but the first one I ever did titled Flower Within is the one dearest to me because it was the first fine art photograph I ever did, and it triggered me to keep myself in this particular genre of photography.
Which of your photographs was the hardest and the easiest to make?
I’d say the one titled Cupid Shot was one of my most difficult photographs ever. I had to make everything feel real, especially calculating how to pose like I’m falling from the sky, but if you want to talk about the one I spent the most time editing, it was The Frau Universe. It took time because I had to merge a lot of images.
The easiest was the one titled Flame of Help. The only thing I manipulated there was to put fire on her fingers, so it wasn’t difficult. It was just one image I used to manipulate and I already had the image in my head, so I just pasted it there and edited the rest.
Alright. What’s your dream camera lens? And why?
Currently, I’m using a very very old camera, the Canon 1300D, which was very popular in 2011. As for my dream camera, I have two. For now, as an entry photographer, I’ll wish to have a Sunny A7R IV with a 24-70mm lens and a 70-200mm lens. But if I’m to go further, I’ll wish to have a phase one medium format camera because it’s one of the highest versions of cameras and the cheapest phase one you can get is actually up to 6 million naira. It gives you sharp, good details even when you zoom in. The quality is very tough.
The kind of images you photograph are from centuries ago, do you think the quality of your old camera plays a role in making the photographs look the way they look?
Not really, because I’ve used some of my friend’s cameras to do some of my shoots. I can use any camera to get what I want to get, I developed that particular style for myself.
What do you mean by you developed it for yourself?
I won’t say I’m boasting, or it’s pride, but there’s no way you’ll see my image, even without seeing my signature, that you will not know that it’s me that did this particular image. When I was coming up, I watched a lot of videos and I was able to get experience from different photographers and learn to create my own style of photography.
You’re doing amazingly well with it. What’s one thing you wish you knew before you started photography?
Thank you. One thing I wish I knew was buying the right camera. My camera is a curved sensor. I try to advise people who want to buy a camera to get a full-frame camera because when you get a curved sensor, you are limited. I wish I knew that earlier so I would have gone for a full frame instead.
Alright. What photography hack have you mastered over the years?
One of them is how I place my lights. You don’t have to use 2 or 3 lights to get the best image. You can actually use one light, it just depends on how you place the light and your reflector. Most times my shoots are done with just one light.
Another hack I’ve learnt is, when you’re shooting studio shoots, the best F Stop to use is F6 for shooting portraits. Within F6 to F8, you get really sharp images.
What are three things you always step out with?
In my daily life, my wallet, my phone, and my ATM card. In photography, my reflector, my camera and an extra battery.
What’s your most recent lie?
Somebody called me to ask if I was at home, and I said I wasn’t even though I was.
What’s a childhood confession you’d like to make?
You want to put me in trouble. Okay, I went to boarding school, and while I was there I was supposed to go for prep but I hid under the bunk. The one I did in primary school but I got caught was I changed my result in primary 4 from a D to a B. They caught me because my mum came to the school during the open day and the teacher told her I didn’t do well, she was surprised because I had a B on the result, then the teacher showed her the one with him and she saw that I got D.
If you could be anything in the world, what would you be?
Elon Musk, I would want to be Elon musk.
Because he’s rich and he has a very good intellect. Let’s forget that he makes trouble on Twitter, being the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, a space exploration company, shows a level of intellect.
Okay. Countdown, shout-out to your top 5 photographers.