CAMEROON – Activities led by the Ministry of Arts and Culture (MINAC) took place from the 18th to the 20th of August at the National Museum in Yaounde. In commemoration of World Photography Day celebrated every August 19, it was an opportunity to present the different careers associated with photography and to explore the employment of youths through this art.
The photographic open door days were opened on Thursday the 18th of August at the National Museum, Yaounde with a sports walk and a football match that saw the participation of many photographers, media men and the organisers. Then followed the most awaited activities on the 19th of August which included: expositions, conferences, workshops and projections. This year’s day is celebrated in Cameroon under the theme “Photography at the service of the cameroonian nation: For the conservation of peace and national unity”. The Ministry of Arts and Culture has as aim to make known the imminent roles photography has to play for a better Cameroon.
Fabrice Ngon, the promoter of the photographic art pole recalled in his opening speech. “Photography is slowly dying amongst the new generation and it is slowly getting forgotten especially with the advent of new technology. Reason why this initiative was brought up in order to examine the variants of photography and the possible employment opportunities it can offer to the youths of our country”, he recounts. With camera clicks here and there, every photographer tried to showcase his or her own style to impress the public to speak to the hearts and minds of people.
Representing the Minister of Arts and Culture, Pr Donatus Fai Tangem called on the photographers to underline the crucial role they owe society. “If all arts constitutes an aspect of life, then photography is a mirror that enables the society to see itself. After this event, what stays will be the image that is captured of this event. So the responsibilities you have is to bring your creativity at the service of the community and development“, he pronounced. Donatus Fai Tangem in his speech also instructed the photographers not just to do an evaluation but also to ask themselves how they have been representing the facts and creativity and how it can contribute to nation building.
The speeches were not the only things that characterised the event because there were different expositions in which all the participants took part in. Some photographers presented their photographic works of art as well as their success stories while others showcased books about photography written by great photographers in Cameroon and the world.
What also made the exposition particular was the exhibition of historical moments of Cameroon football caught on camera. For Jean Pierre Ketseu who is the brain behind the exhibition, the idea is a stitch in time. “Football has been a very important aspect since the independence of Cameroon. So we thought it wise to bring up photos that marked history in football. Football as well is a uniting factor”, he explains.
Interactive Conferences Held
The photography open door days was heavily occupied by lot conferences moderated by experienced persons when it comes to the art of photography. The very first was with Josephine Abomo, a professional photographer and a lecturer. She presented points on the stakes and challenges of photo journalism in Cameroon. According to her, photographers need to gain extra skills if they really want to be valued “The world is slowly changing and so is photography. We photographers need to top up our skills and learn one or two things in journalism so as at least have an idea of what it is all about ”, she remarks. She was in turn supported by Dr Herve Momba who spoke on the importance of archiving photos for future use “we are able to have some pictures today because they were documented years ago. So if we don’t do that now, the future generation won’t have any idea about us“, he warns.
Quizzed on which type of photographers get protected of authors right, Dr Seuna who is a lecturer at the University of Yaoundé II recalled that the law says every photo taken is automatically protected by law “Once a photo is snapped by a photographer, he or she instantly has total right over it ”, he replied. In the same light, Abanda Armand from the Ministry of Arts and Culture encouraged photographers to get involved in photographic and cultural associations that exist in Cameroon in order to learn more about the laws governing photography.
Even though the photography open door days are still in its first edition, they hope to do more in the coming years in order to get their objectives attained.
Kuwan Chelsea Kernyuy (Trainee editor) ©www.noocultures.info