The light within: African photographer showcases incredible exhibition at Xposure 2023

In an interview with Khaleej Times, Michael Aboya expressed his delight with the festival, which is currently taking place at Expo Centre from February 9-15


Afkar Ali Ahmed

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Photo: Instagram
Photo: Instagram

Published: Sun 12 Feb 2023, 6:53 PM

Michael Aboya, a 27 year old talented African photographer, is currently showcasing his incredible exhibition "The Light Within" at the 7th edition of the Xposure International Photography Festival, to share his views on how people can explore the light within themselves.

Aboya is very impressed with the festival, which is currently taking place at Expo Centre from February 9-15.

During an interview with Khaleej times, he said that Xposure would allow him to learn from other amazing photographers and share the knowledge he has with others. "I believe that the more creators we have who share their stories with Light, the brighter the world gets – and Xposure is [the] perfect gathering to acquire the knowledge to begin or continue that journey in photography."

In the interview, Michael shares his thoughts on how he approaches lighting and composition when creating a photograph, the importance of storytelling in his photography and the stories he aims to tell through his images, how he stays current and up-to-date on the latest trends and techniques in the field, the change of heart in his career and how photography changed his life, what he hopes people learn from his photography, how he balances the creative and technical aspects of his work, and what he is most looking forward to about participating in Xposure 2023.

Aboya, also a winner of an award at the Worldwide Awards, said that he believes there is a small light inside everyone – a gift – and so, through the exhibition The Light Within, he aims to coax that light out and help people to find themselves. “There are different expressions that help bring out that light such as dance, music, painting and photography, but I chose photography because it inspires others and helps them reach for the Light, and explore who they are", he said.

Aboya explained that his exhibition mostly displays photographs of children and women because they express the light much better. “The children are very expressive, as I don’t see in them different colours – just one person. When people get older, they get distracted by what is going on in society, and that light starts to dim out. But with different experiences in life, I realise that the light can shine again. So, through the light within pictures, I'm trying to help people shine and explore who they are.

Light is a key element to tell a story

He explained that Light is a key element to creating a successful image and story. The word itself “Photography” are 2 greek words put together: “phōtós” meaning light and “gráphō” meaning write, which basically means writing with light. With that in mind, I realised the importance of understanding the different types of light, the direction of the light and how it can affect the story and emotions needed in an image. For me, I found that the best time to shoot was either sunrise or sunset when the sun isn’t too bright and harsh in the sky, and when the colours it emits are more golden.

Even when I plan to shoot using artificial light, I always set up warm light tones, because they evoke the feeling of love, happiness, optimism and energy. This helps bring more balance to other aspects of my images, and most importantly the richness of the story I capture. Without Light, there is no photography.

My journey in photography started with so many questions, and one of those questions is, “What makes us who we truly are?”. The best way I was able to find those answers was to push the shutter and capture an image; in a single frame I am able to see that together we are one, united in the elements of Love, Happiness, Hope, Peace and a place we can call home. Through storytelling in photography, and following this path of finding out who we are, I am able to bring about a change to the narrative and perspective of what it feels like to call Ghana or Africa home, just like every other place in the world.

It's not all poverty, corruption, and all the negativity we see, but also the positive side of it. I aim to bring about a balance between perspectives.

Photography changes the life of an artist

I had a change of heart in my career from computer science to photography after I lost my father to cancer. This was my wake-up call; it made me realise I had very limited time. We all don’t live forever, but we can create something that will. So, I followed my heart's desire to be a photographer, where I can naturally be who I am and express how I felt through photography. This has made me truly understand myself and my purpose. I’ve learned a lot in my photography journey, but one that always stands out for me is that “Life is a precious gift“. Always learn to appreciate it and be a light to others.

People can learn from an artist's images

From my photography, I hope that people can see and feel the essence of what makes us who we are as humans, and not what makes us what we are. And these are really simple and precious moments in life. I aim to create images and share stories that inspire me and the next generation of photographers to be themselves and to share true and inspiring stories as well.

The balance between creative and technical aspects

I balance the technical and creative aspects of my work by dedicating time and attention to them equally, knowing when I need to sharpen my knowledge and skill to create a beautiful story, and knowing when to develop my creative voice in photography. This way I find a perfect mix to create an inspiring work that falls in line with my vision.


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