Prime News Ghana

Photojournalist Senyuiedzorm Adadevoh shares her tale

By Michael Eli Dokosi
Senyuiedzorm Adadevoh
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Some go green with envy seeing her cover the Black Stars while others crave for a chance to travel the world recording people and events as she does in her photojournalism work but the tale of Senyuiedzorm Awusi Adadevoh is intriguing, remarkable as much as it’s fascinating.


 

When this writer caught up with her for a candid interview at her estate home at Adentan, Senyuiedzorm Ewe for favourable destiny or good fortune, watermarking pictures for onward transmission to the Ghana Football Association, she was in a good mood to bare her soul out even if for a brief moment.

For one who handles huge cameras while working, I asked if she always knew she would be a photojournalist. The 30 something year old damsel responded “I developed interest in photography as a child since my dad bought me my first camera but seeing an elderly photographer ride a bicycle to our house to snap us pictures on Sundays wasn’t an encouraging sight given my younger dad who was into real estate had a car.

“As a child I wanted to be a videographer but I come from an industrial home where lawyers and judges abound and it was trumpeted to us that you must own a business, to be a property owner so I loved pictures but also sought to make money from it” she added.

According to Senyuie, by age 14 she came across a book ‘Dazzle’ which had picture stories touching on food, automobile and social events  but it would be the pictures regarding food which exposed her to specialties involving photography for she became enchanted with the food shots regarding the golden chicken and others savories.

She also recounted being an introvert growing up and speaking little so she found a way to show her mum the misdeeds of her helps while she was away with photographs she took quietly and loved the instant impact when the pictures were developed.

“After my Senior Secondary School days at Aburi Girls, it became clear to me no would pay GH¢1000 for photos so I opted for videography which people relatively respected but even with that I leaked a lot of cash because even though I had made payments the light man would not show up, the director would be late all because I was tiny in both structure and age.

“I was generating programmes to be shown on TV stations but after a meet with TV directors my proposals were rejected but I would see variations on the same TV channel the next time” the rebel who chose a different path from the family business recounted.

According to the Black Stars photojournalist, in 2000 an auntie contracted her to cover the birthday party of her child as the professional set to do the gig failed to show up. “When I charged GH¢550.00 and she paid without qualms, I knew there was a future with the job.”

But the major breakthrough of this lovely lady with an infectious smile would come in 2005 during the charity match for Chelsea and France football icon Marcel Desailly at the Accra Sports Stadium. Upon appearing on the pitch to take shots, other photojournalists jeered, mocked or made irritating gestures aimed at reminding her she had no place there.

“Although they might not know it, I remain eternally grateful to three persons whose acts of kindness made me have self believe that my work was appreciated. It was Jerry Kwame Ackah Yensu who either was the organizer or part of the organizers who met me at the entrance and helped me with my bag onto the pitch and asked that I feel free to shoot. Another person who came in handy was Yaw Ampofo Ankrah who was near me on the pitch who passed a bottle of water to me and made me realize he would later check out my shots when he interjected with statements like (nice tackle, I trust you got it) and Tony Baffoe who came on to pitch to congratulate me adding he could see I was focused on the action.”

According to the Daavi, as she is fondly called by some of the Black Stars players, it was from this point onwards that she started getting detached from covering social events more so when at wedding receptions, she kept hearing nasty talk about the couples from supposed friends and relations who had just smiled and hugged them taking pictures.

“In contrast, the sports events are action packed as well as focused on the task at hand and reveal for the most part true emotions. When a boxer knocks an opponent and blood splashes, when a player receives a crunchy tackle the pain is real and when there is victory the joy is palpable.”

As is often the case, a good number of people do not make assessments based on materials before them and so it was that when Senyuiedzorm on one of the days presented another proposal to a TV director to have a spot on TV for her show, she was asked which school trained her disregarding the document at hand.

“I decided to enroll myself in school once again. At that time, the Ghana Institute of Journalism’s lesson time was not favourable but luckily my aunt Mrs. Chinery Hesse urged me on to enroll at Kojo Yankah’s school then African Institute of Journalism (AIJC) now African University College of Communications (AUCC).”

In 2005, Senyuiedzorm enrolled in AIJC and came out two years later bearing a Diploma in Communication Studies certificate. She had trained in Management Study at GIMPA obtaining a Certificate in Administration and Management in 2003 and was trained as a Computer Programmer to become a certified engineer obtaining a City and Guilds Technician Diploma in Computer Programming in 2000-2002.

“After 2005, I enrolled in a couple of schools but dropped out because I realized the schools were about theories having little regard for practical training. I eventually decided to train under veteran and acclaimed photographers including Henri whose done sports photojournalism over 30 years and whom I met in 2008.

“Of the 800 pictures I submitted for marking he only picked 100 but after a while when I submitted new work, he was delighted exclaiming “you want to compete with your professor ei” it was there I knew I had arrived” the award winning camera lady professed.

Another way of honing her shills is to befriend people in the arts like Nii Quartey who advised that since she sought for her works to be globally appreciated, there was need to subscribe to global journals and magazines keenly analyzing the amount of light in a shot, composition of images and the concept of the shots. Annie Leibovitz is one whose work she keenly follows.

According to Awusi, there is need to build the foundation when pursuing the arts contending that art is spiritual adding “not everyone loves to pass on knowledge, not everyone is gifted in teaching and for those gifted not everyone has the will power to transfer so in some cases you observe and pick what you can.”

The one school she would love to enroll in is the Hallmark Institute of Photography where the intro letter alone sets the tone ‘we are not here to teach you history of photography’ sounding the alarm that practical training is the pillar of the school.

Interestingly enough although her photos have been used by many, “It was when Citi FM’s tracker team used some of my photos of the Ghana-Mozambique qualifier in Maputo in underscoring the 4-4-3 system so effectively that I had an orgasm. That is the thrill that keeps me going even when challenges arise” Daavi disclosed.

According to Senyuiedzorm, she has been a professional photographer for 16 years and has been doing sports photography  for 11 years adding there was need for people to be careful how they conduct themselves because words could kill or dampen careers.

Being a business minded person, the brain behind Images Image, Sportsunlimited.com and Senyuiedzorm.com has had her fair share of investment losses.

She narrates “I went in for a credit facility using my cameras and other gadgets as collateral since I didn’t want to over burden my parents who have pumped huge cash over the years in my photography journey. Sadly the business fell apart and the bank seized my gadgets so for several months I was without any camera but I shrewdly didn’t mention this to others rather I lobbied for contracts, got them and then hired gadgets from the U.K executed jobs and sent them back so that if I charged $3,500, at the end of the day I made something like $400 which was better than nothing. Eventually I raised enough money to acquire new gadgets.”

According to the jolly Senyuie, she cuts off melancholic people as she easily pick vibes from those around her adding she is uncomfortable with people saying they want to be like her since everyone has his or her journey to undertake leading to self-discovery.

Asked what her worst experience has been, the acclaimed photojournalist opined “what really gets to me is not a loss but being one who has good intuition, inherited from my dad, to have a foreboding and ignore it for the thing to happen really affects me.

“When my gadgets went missing in Equatorial Guinea during the AFCON, the worst feeling was that I had a foreboding 7 times that such a thing would happen but I didn’t heed the warning. I am grateful to the concern and love shown by the players, president and technical staff which eventually led to the items being retrieved at the police station.”

Senyuiedzorm is aware she can’t afford to slack for her failure could impede the advancement of other females who might want to take photojournalism as their core work.

Due to her frequent travels, the lady on a mission affirms she has one assistant who helps out but also has standby professionals who are contracted to undertake roles when a gig is secured.

A firm believer that there is a supreme being who directs the affairs of man, Senyuedzorm observes that the more she travels the more she acknowledges such truth.  Although born into a Presbyterian home, Miss Adadevoh holds Pastor Mensa Otabil’s axiom that ‘nobody can imprison your power of imagination’ enabling her to fellowship with other bodies and tap into the wisdom they have to offer.

“I had accreditation to cover the Beijing Olympics but upon arrival realized that at the LOC office many journalists were in distress, upon enquiries it soon emerged that she also had a pass just to shoot in the town not at the games village and hosting venue. Thankfully on the second day of trying to correct the anomaly while many of the journalists from different countries had tried and failed to get a pass for the main event, a Chinese man emerged who opted to give me an email address to make a petition only to letter realize it was the head of the IOC’s address. Eventually the IOC’s special assistant was sent over to queue me into the system. There can be fewer greater miracles than that.”

The CEO, Director and artist reckons her style is influenced by need to be free and being comfortable be it in urban or traditional pieces.

“I have given them all red card” was the answer to the question ‘who was managing her heart’ stressing that although people associate her with toughness and shrewdness, she is all that on the field.

“When it comes to a relationship, when I see you want to put me in a certain zone I will make you loose my number. If you ask me out, I would think you are a man of such great integrity so you should know better so if soon afterwards you cause 1st blunder, second and third you are out. Mum says I should take it easy so am working on it.

“I like romance oh, you see once I was involved with a man and on his birthday I ordered a cake to be delivered to him from one coast to another. He was amazed I could do all that. I can be very sweet but I reckon I haven’t met my soul mate. Am not seeking perfection but when you have to make excuses for one whom you are involved with, then you ought to know you are not comfortable with that person. I am not the type to marry just for the sake of it. My parents are still married so when I do it, it’s for the long haul and I want my children to enjoy the best schools on offer because we were given the best.

“If I love a guy, I hesitate for him to cook for me because if you mess my food up you can be in trouble. I am an emotional cook and emotional about food but I enjoy simple dishes like kenkey and fried fish with grounded pepper and onions no tomatoes with a dash of salt. If its meat it should be well seasoned so that when I consume it, it tickles my taste buds. In fact I have friends in South Africa who vacate their kitchens for me once am in because the food must be right.

“Ultimately I would love to have a husband who owns his own job so that he can come over to the house to enjoy lunch I have prepared for him since I love cooking” Miss Adadevoh disclosed.

On favourite drinks, the well-travelled professional who has covered North, East, West, Central and Southern Africa as well as Eastern Europe, Europe, North and South America in addition to Asia says she enjoys Fazz German beer, Campari, Takai, red wine, Irish Cream while occasionally downing rum or whisky with coca cola.

Senyuiedzorm Adadevoh explained her commercial pictures go for anything in the bracket of $1500 to $2500. The ultimate advice she offers is “don’t try to be somebody else, learn from people if you can but advance the knowledge acquired and know that art is a spiritual work. Respect a good work.”