He is a Lawyer turned photographer cum painter although he insists that before he was trained as a Legal Practitioner, he had artist blood flowing in his veins. His name is Kelechi Amadi-Obi and he is an award-winning photographer and Publisher of Style Mania Magazine.
His artistic prowess has brought him before Kings and Governments and his name has become synonymous with amazing photographs spanning from personal, fashion, location, brand adverts and events.
How did it all begin? Well, as was previously stated, Kelechi had the juice in him, so even as a student of Law, he was already being commissioned to draw portraits and the like; when news of his painstaking attention to detail and refusal to deliver anything but the best filtered abroad, the offers started to pour in, and I daresay the same mantra governs his work today. In an interview, Kelechi stated thus, “I have always known that whatsoever you do and you do it well enough, money will not be a problem. If you provide certain services and provide it with world class quality, people will always pay you.” Words to live by.
Living on painting and photography at a period when it appeared as though artists were but loafers must have seemed foolhardy, but Kelechi was without an iota of doubt that this was the path he was created to take. At the same interview, he said, “The process of creating the work or making the craft is my joy, so whether people where paying me or not, I was engaged in an activity that I thoroughly enjoyed. Hardship is not a deterrent because the job itself has its own satisfaction. I am encouraged because the work I am doing impresses even me.” Talk about passion and I will show you a man completely and irrevocably committed to the path he has chosen.
A celebrity in his own right, Kelechi is highly sought-after by celebrities and high-ranking members of society for photo-shoots and portraits. His clientele base include, Richard Mofe-Damijo [RMD], Okey Bakassi, P-Square, Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde, Tu-Face, Chinedu Ikedieze, Titilayo Oyinsan, Asa the musician, Uche Jombo, international super star D-banj and Genevieve Nnaji, the Julia Roberts of Africa.
Corporations are falling over themselves to get a dose of Kelechi’s timeless ingenuity. Telecommunications giant, Glo, FMCG Conglomerate PZ, Guinness Nigeria Plc, MTN Nigeria Plc, British American Tobacco, The Ford Foundation, PrimaGarnet Ogilvy, SO&U, InsightGrey, Nigerian Flour Mills and Orange Drugs Nigeria Ltd are clients of the lawyer with the lens.
Of his decision to start the high-end Style Mania fashion Magazine which has featured Superstars like Supermodels Oluchi Orlandi, Ojy Okpe, Agbani Darego and ace fashion designer Lanre DaSilva Ajayi, Kelechi opined; “I found out that I’m a fashion photographer. Fashion photography lives in the fashion world. We need that audience so for me; the fashion magazine creates the audience. I woke up one morning and realized that there’s a gap in the industry and I know the fashion designer too must be feeling this way so the magazine comes to fill the vacuum. We have done over 10 editions in one year and people have come to realise the quality will never go down.”
Some of his works have been featured in exhibitions within and outside Nigeria. These include; 2006 “Snap Judgement” – New Position in Contemporary African Photography, International Centre of Photography, New York, USA, 2005 “Depth of Field” South London Gallery, UK, 2004, “Lagos” Ifa Gallery, Stuttgart, Germany, 2003 “Transferts” Africalia, Brussels, Belgium. Kelechi also journeyed with Dr. Jibunoh Newton across the desert from Lagos to London and had an exhibition of his desert memoirs exhibited at the Didi Museum, Nigeria in August 2012. . In 2004, he won the St.Moritz Style Award for Photography.
People like Kelechi Amadi-Obi have made art an interesting, fashionable and lucrative by ensuring that they deliver nothing less than the best. Wanna ride this wave of success? Then be the best at whatever you do! As Jessica Guidobono said, “Every job is a self-portrait of the person who did it; Autograph your work with excellence.”
*Interview excerpts culled from onobello.com