Photograph courtesy TECNO
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Marc Olivier N’Guessan originally wanted to take a photo of vendors at the beach, but instead found himself capturing a vivid image of young boys enjoying the waves under the hot sun at a beach.
Photograph courtesy TECNO

Capturing life in Africa through the lens of a smartphone

Mobile phone cameras are a powerful tool for those who can’t afford expensive equipment but are interested in expressing their creativity.

When mobile phone cameras first came into existence, there was little indication that they would evolve into the miniature powerhouses that exist today. For example, the first mass-market camera phone released in 2000 only had a 0.11-megapixel (MP) camera and was considered more of a gimmick.

It’s been almost two decades since then, and technology has improved by leaps and bounds. Now, some phones contain cameras that are good enough for professional photographers.

One such photographer is Michael Christopher Brown, who gained renown through his visual coverage of the Libyan war in 2011. When the war broke out, he visited Libya and brought all of his professional camera equipment. All of it was dead within a week.

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Michael Christopher Brown shares photography tips with a group of young photographers at a camp in Nigeria.

Unperturbed, Brown continued filming the war through his phone. While he initially began the journey with a desire to understand the conflict, he instead was taken on a life-changing experience. According to him, mobile photography played a key part in letting this happen.

“You know the biggest advantage is that you can forget about the science, the math and the camera,” shared Brown. “You can forget about all the controls. You can really focus on the creative process and focus on what you are photographing, you know, the experience you are having while you are photographing.”

Another added advantage that mobile camera technology brings is accessibility. It allows a much larger segment of people to start experimenting with photography as a hobby, because the barrier to entry is significantly lowered.

There is no need for amateurs to spend thousands of dollars on camera equipment, as phones now have the ability to take remarkable photographs.

Now, a phone like the TECNO CAMON 12 equips aspiring photographers with a 16+2+8 MP AI Max Triple Rear Camera and four outstanding shooting performances. The 16 MP primary camera is bolstered by AI scene recognition and HDR. It’s supported by a 2 MP secondary camera with an AI Bokeh effect, and an 8 MP secondary camera that allows for 120-degree wide-angle photography and 2 cm macro photography. This technology allows budding photographers to focus on expressing their creativity and imagination. All they have to do is take their phone out of their pocket to capture what’s in front of them.

Exploring African life and love through the power of technology

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A photograph of two girls in the street market of Ibadan, shot by Michael Christopher Brown on the TECNO CAMON 12. The in-built AI scene detection feature allows vivid details to be displayed in both color as well as black and white photography.

This freedom allowed a group of young amateur photographers to explore life in Africa and take captivating imagery.

Inspired by Brown’s mentorship, these youths went about and captured the things they found interesting as part of a competition sponsored by TECNO. The best photos from their adventures had a recurring theme: they all centered around people.

The winner, Marc Olivier N’Guessan, had a completely different plan in the beginning.

“I was on my way to the beach with a specific idea, that of photographing ladies selling bottled peanuts. When I got there, I saw these children playing in the water, they didn't pay attention to me until a big wave surprised me. I took off my shoes and they sympathized with me. They told me they came from the neighborhood across the sea and we played for a while and then I asked if I could photograph them and they said yes with such a smile.”

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Photographer Franklin Okanu was surprised to come across a farmer working hard underneath a scorching sun. It reminded him of fathers who work hard to provide for the families that they love and prompted him to capture this portrait of the farmer.

The significance of this added accessibility and mobility can’t be taken for granted. It’s not just about placing cameras in the hands of those that may never be able to afford expensive equipment.

For people like N’Guessan, it is also about gaining the ability to capture and catalog images of love and life in their cities and their villages. This gives them a new outlet through which to hone their talent and to express themselves and what they are passionate about.

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