Amazing Klef: The Focal Point Of Creativity

Amazing Klef
Amazing Klef

Born Okwuchukwu Martin Dominic, Amazing Klef is a Nigerian Photographer and Visual artist, popularly known for simplicity and creativity. In an exclusive interview with Vibe.Ng, Amazing talks about the transition from graphics designing to photography and to cinematography and video directing.

Amazing Klef isn’t just a photographer but a complete creative. He constantly moves crafts as he believes it a way to improve and create a brand for himself. He made us understand that his plan isn’t to be known as just Amazing Klef the photographer but Amazing Klef the brand, as photography can at some point be washed away but a brand always sells.

  • Word on the street is that you started as a graphic designer in Alaba, tell us the journey and how you discovered Photography…

Yes, I started as a graphics designer in Alaba, I was working on music mixtapes, designing covers. I did that for about two years, then it got to a point where I realized that the market wasn’t for me because I tend to get really uncomfortable in spaces. I begin to feel like I have to do better, like I need to do something different. I also needed another medium to send my feelings across to people and it was photography for me then. That was why I left Alaba, my initial plan was to build a brand in Alaba and be like the biggest graphics designer but it got to a point where I was like “this place is just for you to explore, there is a bigger world out there” and that was how I transitioned into photography basically.

  • You’re very young; how does it feel being in the same league with people like TY Bello and Kelechi Amadi who have been in this game for years?

#laughs… Firstly, I don’t think I am in the same league with TY Bello or Kelechi Amadi, even if I get a lot of comments comparing me to these people. They have been doing photography for how long, 10years or even more? I have been in it for about three years and I’m already being compared to them, I feel really good when I hear stuff like that because I put in a lot of work on my own part and people are beginning to feel my impact.

  • People tend to look down on Photography saying it’s very easy and anyone can do it, what do you have to say to these naysayers?

For everyone out there who thinks that photography is all about buying cameras and taking pictures, I think you should do just that and find out for yourself. It is deeper than just buying a camera, it takes a lot of craftsmanship to make a dope picture, a whole lot of learning, a whole lot of work, training and a lot of professionalism that can actually be paid for. To me photography is an art, it is everything and it is epic.

Amazing Klef
Amazing Klef
  • So, you recently got verified on IG. How did that happen and what has changed since then?

Yaaay!!! I recently got the blue tick on Instagram. I had always known that my account needed to be verified because of the content and all, so I just requested and it came through in like 24 hours. It is not really a big deal, it just lets people know that they are talking to the right brand/person, therefore reducing the number of scams. So, people don’t get duped in my name and it has opened some doors because the DM of people I use to slide into and got no replies, reply to me now. #Laughs, it’s crazy…

  • What has been your worst experience so far?

I think my worst experience would be this one time on a project with Vibe.Ng, we were shooting a very popular Nigerian artiste and during the photo shoot, for the first time in like 2/3 years, it felt like I wasn’t a professional. I don’t know what happened but this particular artiste was very rude, I have worked with a lot of celebrities, big artistes and big names but this artiste just found a way to make me feel little and it was crazy. It was good also though because it was a bad moment for me and people don’t get to make me feel bad but I found someone that made me feel bad and I was like “OH dope” #laughs…

  • You’ve met a lot of stars in your line of work, which star did you meet that left you star struck?

The only person that has left me star struck in my entire life is Ice Prince Amani, the first time I met him, I was still in Alaba. Before then, I had already met Iyanya, Skales and a lot of people but I wasn’t amazed. However, the first time I met Ice Prince, I was trying to take a picture of him and my friend, I held my phone and my hands were shaky. I couldn’t control my hands, I loved this guy so much that I couldn’t just understand that he was standing right in front of me and I still love him so much. After about five years of listening to his music, sending him artworks on twitter without him replying, doing numerous stuff for him and he was standing right in front of me, I was star struck.

Amazing Klef
Amazing Klef
  • You do Photography, a little bit of makeup and graphic design. What other hidden talents do you have?

Let’s not say hidden, recently, I started directing music videos. So, right now I’m like a director/cinematographer. For the hidden talents, however, I sing, I rap and I love (I can burst a few lines right now). The way I love is a talent, if I LOVE you… You will feel it.

  • You have a protégé that you’re putting through, did anyone put you through or were you self-taught?

I have protégés. I am 100% self-taught and it was more difficult for me because I didn’t have anyone to put me through, I didn’t have anyone to look up to or support me and that is one of the most important reasons I am making sure that I support as many people as I can because it was very difficult for me to learn on my own on YouTube. The most painful thing is that while I was learning, it was difficult because I had to pay 150 Naira for time at a cyber café and couldn’t see videos with their internet. So what I did was, (God forgive me), if I bought one hour, I would download all I needed and empty the internet but I was never caught.

I think I am paying for my sins now because people empty my internet. That was how I learnt though, with Google, YouTube and any other means I could get, 100%self-taught.

  • You now shoot music videos, how did that happen and how do you plan to conquer that market?

I started shooting music videos as at September 2018 and I started shooting music videos because it was next in line for me, I have done graphics designing and I have done photography and it’s just like I said about moving from crafts. I have transitioned from graphics designing to photography, photography was next in line for me because I needed a more defined way to convey my message but making music videos for me is… wow. As a photographer, I’ve shot a lot of artistes but I have only one frame to convey my messages. In that one picture, I have to tell a story but now I have like 3/4 minutes, that is like one million frames to convey my message, that is crazy. So basically, music video right now is giving me a bigger platform and longer frames to convey messages.

I’m not planning to conquer any market though, I’m just planning to put my art out there and let people enjoy what I can deliver.

Amazing Klef
Amazing Klef
  • What advice would you give to the young people who want to start photography, what are the things they should know that no one would tell them?

The advice I want to give to anyone that wants to take photography seriously or being in the creative industry generally is…

I have had some rules that have kept me going and brought me to where I am and they are…

  1. I KIS; that is, {Keep It Simple and Short}. Anything I do I always keep it simple and digestible for my audience. I keep it simple and short in my work and in my personal life.
  1. Be straight forward, I see a lot of creatives being unnecessary. You jump on a project of 24hours and you are spending one week on it, it doesn’t make sense to me. It’s like you are trying to make it look harder than it is.
  2. I wish someone told me to work smart instead of working hard. It is easier to grow when you work smart. Always work hard but work smarter.
  3. If you are trying to grow in the industry as a creative or photographer, you should improve. Always improve your art, improve everything and while you’re improving your craft, make sure you are building a brand for yourself. For example, if you are a photographer, your tenure won’t be more than 5/10 years. So, what happens after then? Will you go hungry? Do you go broke? Make sure you build a brand for yourself so you can live off that if anything happens.

That is why I am Amazing Klef the brand and not a photographer, I can do whatever tomorrow. I want you to love the person and not just the work. Improve your general life.

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