My Journey as Personal Photographer to Audrey Azoulay, UNESCO Director-General
I am thrilled and honoured to share with you all a remarkable experience that has left an indelible mark on my career as a photographer. Recently, I had the incredible privilege of serving as the personal photographer to none other than Audrey Azoulay, the esteemed Director-General of UNESCO, during her visit to Ghana for the opening ceremony of the UNESCO Accra World Book Capital.
I have had the opportunity to photograph some esteemed United Nations leaders such as Amina Mohammed, the UN Deputy Secretary-General, and Dr. Natalia Kanem, the Executive Director of UNFPA. However, this particular assignment was intense. Fortunately, my previous experiences prepared me well for the challenges it presented. It is worth mentioning that young people require opportunities to kick-start their careers, and I am grateful to individuals like Cynthia Prah of UNIC, as well as Mr. Niyi Ojuolape and Dr Doris Aglobitse of UNFPA, who gave me a start in my career. Their support and guidance gave me the initial push I needed to pursue my passion for photography.
As the personal photographer to someone as influential and passionate as Audrey Azoulay, my responsibility was not merely to capture moments, but to tell a story through my lens — a story that would reflect the significance of this monumental event and the impact of UNESCO in Ghana.
Being in the presence of Audrey Azoulay, a visionary leader, and witnessing her dedication to the promotion of education and culture, left an indescribable impact on me. Her warmth, intellect, and unwavering commitment were palpable in every interaction, and it was my honour to translate these moments into timeless photographs that could capture her essence.
As I reflect on my journey as a photographer, I am humbled by the opportunities that have come my way. Each assignment has added another layer of depth to my understanding of the world and reaffirmed my belief in the profound impact that photography can have. I would like to share three things I have learned from this experience.
Firstly, it is often easier to accomplish a task correctly than to stumble upon mistakes. The process of getting things wrong requires a significant amount of effort. Therefore, it is wise to strive for precision and excellence right from the start, ensuring that every endeavor is approached with meticulousness. In the event that an opportunity has slipped away, it is counterproductive to dwell on what could have been. Instead, it is more beneficial to shift focus towards maximizing the potential of what remains, making the most out of the available resources and circumstances. By adopting this mindset, we embrace a continuous path of improvement, always seeking to optimize our endeavors and create meaningful outcomes.
Secondly, treasure the precious moments spent with others and cultivate presence in those experiences. Certain moments possess a unique quality that cannot be replicated. By cherishing these encounters, we acknowledge their fleeting nature and recognize the inherent value they hold. It is crucial to be fully present, embracing the richness and depth of each interaction, for these moments may never grace our lives again. Let us embrace the present, savoring the connections we form, and relishing the irreplaceable beauty of these fleeting encounters.
Lastly, the words “Oh, this is a stunning picture! Excellent work!” hold immense significance for visual storytellers, as they serve as a powerful confidence booster. As creators, we often encounter challenges in our pursuit of capturing compelling photographs. Therefore, it becomes essential to understand how to provide constructive feedback when the images fall short of expectations.
I would like to express my deepest gratitude to my head of office, Mr. Diallo Abdourahamane, Audrey Azoulay, and the entire UNESCO team for entrusting me with the responsibility of capturing this historic occasion. It was an honor that I will cherish for a lifetime.