Engineer who tells stories in colour splash

•Unusual artist, photographer, Emetuche captures captivating moments across cultures

From Magnus Eze, Enugu

Multidisciplinary artist, Hillary Tochukwu Emetuche, did not start by attending any formal arts and design school, yet he is bestriding the field like a grandmaster.


•One world, different gifts
• The Bridge


The young Emetuche studied civil engineering at the Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike, Abia State. Though he has managed several projects, but his flair for art and photography has brought him fame.

In a chat with Daily Sun, the self-taught hyper-realistic artist and photographer relives how his artistic journey started.

“My works centre mostly on culture and history and I also derive fulfilment by inspiring all categories of people through my works. This has also earned me notable features and commentaries on the BBC and other local media in Nigeria.

“My passion for impacting the creative arts knowledge, which I have acquired over time, is the drive and indeed has given me the opportunity to teach and transfer my skills to people who are willing to discover their true talents and creative potential. I help people find their purpose through arts and creative impressions and these have given me the zeal and opportunity to hold workshops both in Nigeria and the United Kingdom, and one notable one was organized in collaboration with Nigeria’s Federal Ministries of Arts/Culture and Health,” he said.

Currently pursuing postgraduate studies for his master’s degree in project management in London, United Kingdom, Emetuche said that his creative aspects have always leaned towards making arts impressions and also capturing moments with photography.

The creative artist disclosed how a camera his father, Dr. Hilary Akuwudike-Emetuche, bought for him as a gift for graduating in second-class upper division at the convocation of his first degree changed his trajectory.

He said: “The Nikon D5300 enthusiast camera and a 35mm prime lens, a great duo, went on to be the gadget with which I taught myself photography and transitioned into telling stories through my creative process of drawing and photography.

“Before the professional camera came to me, I have always been known as the go-to guy anyone would call upon to take photos with their smartphones during undergraduate days both during church and class activities. This voluntary job was one which I eagerly and passionately did, which later led me to understanding the rudiments of photography, editing and manipulating pictures with various mobile apps and computer software like Photoshop and Lightroom.

“Finding myself in the United Kingdom, a new environment where arts and photography thrive, undoubtedly gave wings to my passion and indeed encouraged me to turn my leisure time into a storytelling escapade, capturing the streets of London and expressing my beliefs and interpretations through the lens of my Nikon gear.”

As an artist, Emetuche’s medium is colour splash photography, which he said dates back to 19th century when painters expressed themselves by leaving a selected colour amid a black and white monochrome background. With the advent of Adobe Photoshop in the 2000s, photographers found it seamless as a way of expression and singling out a particular colour.

Colour splash or selective colour photography, as a matter of fact, narrows down how the photographer would expect his audience to view with a high sense of connection and focus.

According to him, a typical shot from his Nikon camera with a sensor of 24 megapixels produces 24 million pixels for one photograph, this includes a variety of colours and different levels of illumination, quite a lot for the human eye to navigate through at a glance.

The colour splash concept, he explained, sieves off millions of pixels which can be considered as distractions leaving quick striking focus towards the only colour present in the photograph and generating a sense of emotional connection with the beholder, a feeling less common with an ordinary photo.

The multi-talented artist declared that finding purpose is the main reason for telling stories through colour splash photography, adding that everyone has a unique purpose on earth.

He further explained: “The concept brings out the uniqueness of humans and their environments. Each shot filters off variations of colours and only brings out a certain colour depicting a person’s or an environment’s unique potential built into it to achieve its purpose.

“Generally, a photograph captures a moment, which can only be visible to the mere human eye. The moments captured are either staged or unaware.

“However, it is both scenarios that are captured in the present and can never be in the past or the future. In other words, a photograph is a slice of the present which ceases to be part of time and stays in the past once the shutter button is clicked and the shutter closes.

“The captured moment is saved in the device, and time, leaves it behind, continuing its journey. One thing that is lacking is the ability for still photography to capture the past or even more interestingly, the beginning. Each shot gives evidence that a person or an environment has a unique potential and not just existing but has a function to contribute to humanity at large.”

In his desire to impact and add value to his environment, Emetuche initiated ‘Artivity,’ a platform where he mentors young creatives. This tallies with his greatest joy, which is teaching and inspiring people especially the young ones and helping them discover and develop their potential at their early stages in life.

In fact, young Emetuche believes his work will add value to the upcoming generation through discovering purpose and using it to add value to the world.

“I believe that with consistent practice devoid of distractions, anyone can become the master he or she dreams to be,” Emetuche stated after his recent successful facilitation of Charcoal Drawing Workshop.

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