Photography Means Everything to Me: Nadir Pictures Founder, Napoleon Nadir

May 30, 2022

How did your journey with art, and photography, in particular, start?

I have always been interested in photography since I was young. I was exposed to cameras and camera equipment as a child, and I developed an instant like.

I’m well known for the great work that I have been delivering throughout my career. I like to say that I was born with the art in me, even though I launched my photography brand – Nadir Pictures – in early 2013.

How do you balance your profession and your talent?

Most of the things I do are art-related. I have given a lot of time and energy to photography and creative work. Cinematography has taken a bigger part of my soul than any other thing. It’s the centre of everything in my life; everything I do I dream photography.

Whose work has influenced you most and why?

West African photography has played a big role in my career.

Ever since I learnt how to edit at Snap Harvest (the famous studio that made Vera Sidika and Huddah) my photography has really become top-notch; it is unique.


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What is the most rewarding part of being a photographer?

Photography has made me understand the value of an image. There’s so much around us that we don’t even know! Also, being able to capture what I see and feel at the same time and being able to show that to others is quite fulfilling.

What does photography mean to you?

Everything; it makes me see and understand the world and appreciate the beauty around us.

What makes a good picture stand out from the average?

It should be more than capturing a subject, the light, and compelling composition. A good picture should move you, make a connection and trigger something.

What inspires you to stay in photography?

Making connections inside a frame; connecting scenes and triggering the imagination.

I love description of scenes, especially events. They inspire me to play with the lighting.

What kind of gear do you use?

I use Canon Mark IV, but I’m also versatile and can work with Nikon.

What are the dos and don’ts of your career?

There are so many categories of photographers. There are professional ones and ‘wannabes’ who think they qualify as photographers just because they own a camera.

The first rule of photography is to be professional. Sometimes our work involves nude models; therefore as a professional, you must be disciplined so that you don’t look like a lusting idiot on the set.

Time management and creativity are also very important. One should have a different approach to everything you do. Don’t do the same thing every day. You will be boring.

How do you ensure that every time you roll the camera the outcome will be better than the previous?

I’m always on the lookout to upgrade my skills. I never stop learning. This is the secret to my success – the more I learn the better I become.

What do you believe makes the best photographs? How do you work on them?

I believe the best photographs are the ones that accurately depict your vision in the real world. From the composition of the image to the post-production, to the emotion the image radiates and the general vibe while taking the picture. I try to be in line with that vision as accurately as possible.

How would you describe your photography style?

Absurd. Direct. Candid. Colourful, and at the same time very balanced in light and composition.


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Digitalisation is sweeping away professional photographers. People can now use their phones to take photos and videos. How prepared are you to remain relevant in the system?

Depending on what type of photography you want, professional photographers will never be pushed out of business by smartphones. There is so much a smartphone can do, but it can’t take the place of a professional.

How did the Coronavirus pandemic impact your work?

The global pandemic completely revolutionised our lives, made us feel vulnerable and insignificant. Sensations that we had only experienced in cinemas have now become reality. Being deprived of the freedom we’ve always had is hard to digest.

What are the expected challenges that one must face when venturing in the photography industry?

Some people find it hard to believe that you can deliver whatever they are looking for, especially if you are new in the industry. When it comes to equipment, it’s too expensive for one to own a full-frame camera. The challenges are manageable if you are creative enough.

What are your career goals?

Creating enough time to keep doing my photography projects as I find new inspiration. Also, being the best version of myself has been my career goal.

What mistake should a young photographer avoid?

Many young photographers lack creativity; they prefer copying projects instead of creating their own style. They need to avoid copy-pasting. Let them be real. It will make them go far.

If you weren’t a photographer, what would you be doing?

I would be a politician or a professional footballer. I’m so good at those two.

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