Tọ́pẹ́-ẸniỌbańkẹ́ Adégòkè: Kelvin Kellman’s Inheritance

Kevin Kellman. Source: solsticelitmag.org

At any time, it has been an interesting exercise doing a study of Nigerian poetry, rewarding for anyone who appreciates the genre, because, no matter your taste or expectation, you are sure to find a poet that caters to it. You only need to pick a poet or period. Here is why Kelvin Kellman catches our attention: to sample his work will expand our understanding of contemporary Nigerian poetry.

To begin with, we must locate Kellman within the literary tradition he inherited, between the 1950s and 1980s, the period that signalled modern African and Nigerian poetry. Poetry was basically a vehicle of decolonisation and radicalism for poets disenchanted with colonialism and the failures associated with postcolonialism: leadership corruption, military interregnum and general social decadence. Texts such as West African Verse (1967) edited by Donatus Nwoga, Labyrinths (1969) by Christopher Okigbo, Poems of Black Africa (1975) edited by Wole Soyinka, The Poet Lied (1980) by Odia Ofeimun, Voices from the Fringe: An ANA Anthology of New Nigerian Poetry (1988) edited by Harry Garuba cannot be forgotten. They have become touchstone marking those times and beyond. But since the year 2000, following the military handover of power to civilian rule in 1999, the new millennium has provided a new context for Nigerian poets, inspiring entirely new themes in addition to reinforcing older concerns. Of course, by the middle of the second decade of the millennium, an indisputable canon had emerged, The Sahara Testaments by Tade Ipadeola, as espoused by the foundational critic of Nigerian literature, Dan Izevbaye.

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Always a Place for the Still Frame: David Degner on Practice, Vision, and the Future of Photojournalism

David Degner is a Cairo-based freelance photographer represented by Getty Reportage and the co-editor of the Egyptian photo story magazine, Panorama by Mada Masr

 

In an age when video journalism is increasinly paramount and printing is arguably no longer necessary, how do you feel the still image is still pertinent to documentary or news work?

Video journalism serves its purpose and is growing as it is easier to create and distribute, but photos haven’t lost their power in this new environment. A single strong image can be viewed and summarize a situation in seconds. In our fast paced world there will always be a place for the still frame.

Do you think documentary and art photography are important for the development of photo journalism? Is there enough of that going on in Egypt (with the Cairo Image Collective, for example) to create a photographic culture?

As a photojournalist I often steal style from art and commercial photography.  We must be aware of their modern visual language in our work to stay relevant and interesting.  But even though the internet has broken down barriers it can be impossible to find many documentary or art photo books in Cairo.  While in the west you can pick up a thick fashion magazine at almost any store and get inspired by the commercial portraiture it takes conscious effort for photographers to suss out inspiration in Egypt.

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