Good day folks, thanks for joining us once again on Ibadan Insider Business Visits. Today we are at Alpha Photonet Challenge Ibadan. Alpha Photonet is one of the oldest photography studios in Ibadan. It was founded in 1985. We talk to Oluwafunbi Fadugba-Alfred the Operations Manager and she shares with us the stories how her father who is the MD of the Organization, conceived Alpha Photonet, how the photo studio has been able to survive and evolve in the past thirty years, and the next step in the evolution of the Alpha Photonet brand.
Hello, We are very happy to have you here to talk to us about Alpha Photonet
The pleasure is all mine, thank you for taking time to come here and see what we do here?
So How did Alpha Photonet start
Alpha Photonet came into being in 1985. The MD, Reverend Alfred Fadugba was a student of the University of Ibadan. Then Photography was a hobby for him, but at a time he realized that many of his fellow students liked to take pictures and there were not many photographers around. That was when he decided he was going to start taking pictures of people for money. Soon he realized that it was a viable source of income, so he turned it into a full-time job. To make the business official, He got a name for it. and so Alpha Photonet was born.
So for how long have you been at your present location?
We got here in 1989 almost twenty-seven years ago now
Your brand is one of the oldest names in the business of Photography in Ibadan, but lately,there has been an influx of younger photographers and new techniques of photography into the city. How is your brand coping with these new changes?
Yes, it is true that there are now so many modern techniques and equipment for photography. However, We have been around for 31 years so we have the requisite experience to survive against any competition. A lot of these new photographers have money to by the new equipment, but they do not have the experience that we have at Alpha Photonet, and that is why we still do better jobs than most of them. We have also been part of the Photography Scene in Ibadan from its inception. we have evolved with it and that is the edge we have over others. we have also brought youth into our administration here. for example I as the Operations Manager I am a youth which means I am able to follow the latest innovations and trends, while the MD is over sixty that blend of youth and experience make us stand apart from the competition.
So what as do you think about competition as a business owner in Ibadan?
I like competition, the fact that we can see what our competition is up to means we have to innovate all the time and not get complacent. So competition is nice, it helps us get better
Having been on the photography scene in Ibadan for the past thirty or so years, what (if any) are the differences you have noticed between Ibadan then and now?
For so long, Ibadan has lagged behind in social and economic development and that affected the mindset of the people in Ibadan for a long time. People in Ibadan have yet to snap out of that mentality that Ibadan is a provincial town, instead of the commercial and social hub that it has now become. You still see them asking for our services at ridiculous prices. However, I love the fact that there are so many social innovations these days and Ibadan youths are keying into it. Young people these days are really making all the difference in Ibadan, not like the old people of those days and their set ways. I believe the city has a bright future for young people.
As the Operations Manager at Alpha Photonet, are you just an administrator or you are a photographer yourself?
*laughs* I am a multitasker, I am a photographer, I am also an administrator. I am a consultant for individuals and brands who have an interest in photography and I am a photography instructor as well in our training school. in short, I am eclectic, I do everything that can possibly be done, and I am good at what I do.
Since you say that you are a photography instructor, that means you have a training school. How long has that been for?
We started the training school officially in 2002. before then we had an apprenticeship programme. In the training school We have courses depending on your interest and how long you have to spend. at the moment we are currently working with Bowen University Iwo Osun State on Entrepreneurship courses. Students who choose Photography as their vocational/Enterpreneur course come to train with us.
Is photography a talent or is it possible for a novice to become an excellent photographer if they train hard?
I think there is nobody that is too much of a novice to learn photography. This is part of what we teach in our training school. In our training school we graduate about a hundred and fifty students every session. let me give you an example. We once had a middle aged man as one of our students. This man couldn’t even read and write when he came to us, today he can use the computer to edit pictures, he can create photobooks and do anything required of him. So I will just say, there is nothing impossible at Alpha Photonet. We have something for you no matter who you are and what ability you have.
Alpha Photonet has been around for thirty years now, how have you been able to keep from suffering burnout or becoming tired and careless. What really drives you to continue to improve?
the Managing Director of the company really wants this company to leave on after him. Thus he has everything laid down for the rest of us to follow. The vision is to produce successful photographers in every part of the world, to continually beat our own achievements. Thus so as long as a place still exists that they do not know of Alpha Photonet in the world, we cannot afford to rest.
As a Photographer and Operations manager of a Business as well as an instructor, what do you see as the future of photography in Ibadan?
I believe Photography is going to be a big deal in Ibadan. We have plenty of young people who have learnt good photography techniques and who have good startup capital to buy the latest equipment. Thanks to the internet, youth in Ibadan are not getting left behind on any new trend in the market. The future of photography in Ibadan is so bright because we youths are really driving development.
So what projects are Alpha Photonet engaged in at the moment, or do you have any projects planned?
Well, nothing much in the way of major projects for now. We are trying to restructure our studios and our offices as we need to make them compliant with the best practices in photography in Nigeria and the world. So in terms of major projects, we have none at the moment. our vocational centre is till open though and so is our studio
Thanks for having this chat with us
It is my pleasure. Thanks for coming here too