Uchechukwu Iroegbu, outstanding Twin-Cities based photographer and owner of Uchefotography, enjoys capturing and creating images of the world around him. Uchechukwu shoots events, portraitures, families, fashion, and conceptual photography, and especially likes doing weddings, cultural events, and covering social justice issues. His passion captures emotional and physical aspects of the human expression, allowing him to catch what’s within, the different characters of each of us, and portraitures, in particular, reflect the sacredness of the bond between people in their own spaces, within the community, and in the studio.
This ability to capture the essence of the moment, creatively, fashionably, and unobtrusively is obvious, as he shoots in ways that few can. If you’ve been fortunate enough to watch him work, it is apparent that there is absolutely NOTHING between him, the lens, and the subject. This spiritual synchronicity produces a simplistic, minimalist approach and empowers the creative force. Clumsy by nature, once in his element photographing, he eloquently dances with his surroundings, even with what’s behind him.
Uchechukwu, Igbo, and from a small village in Eastern Nigeria, lost his mother shortly after his birth, his maternal grandmother and father raised him. The unconventional influence of his grandmother and what he knew of his mother, who wore beads that covered her entire forearms and waist beads that adorned the girth of her chest to her hips, were examples of independence that helped him forge his own way. His grandmother unconcerned with worldly things, gave him immense love and appreciation for the here and now and life.
Uchechukwu pursued the creative arts-or, maybe the creative arts pursued him-even though, his family prefers, as do most African cultures, that he follow a traditional career path. In Nigeria, he attended boarding schools for his secondary education and studied mass communication at a polytechnic. Unity, his young daughter, is his most avid fan, adoringly proud of her father and his work.
So, how did photography become so prevalent in his life? He is self-taught and a perfectionist. An interest in photos and the camera taught him. Never happy with the pictures that his family and others hung on their walls, they never seemed to capture what he saw, the quality was never up to par. He started taking photos of everything and couldn’t put the camera down, it consumed him. In Minnesota, where he’s lived for ten years, he bought his first digital SLR which opened his eyes to understanding exposure, composition, lighting, and color, all of which he uses to create what he sees. In his hands a camera is a powerful weapon that tells the story of humankind in their environs, to create beauty, as well as highlight social ills.
When Uchechukwu’s speaks of the great photographers-Henri Cartier-Bresson, French photographer known as the father of modern photojournalism/street photography who promulgated 17th century Cardinal de Retz’ “decisive moment;” or of Gordon Parks, self-taught African American photographer, who forged many firsts and chronicled the African-American experience; or of the conceptual photography of Misha Gordin that reflect the photographer’s “intuitive vision;” or of American portrait photojournalist Annie Leibovitz who shot “wildly lit, staged, and provocative portraits of celebrities” such as John Lennon and Yoko Ono-it illuminates his quiet brilliance, immense knowledge, eye and appreciation for what they did, and inspires and guides his creative powers, helping us to understand the depth and breath of what he can and wants to create in his photos to showcase the beauty of humanity. As opportunities arise, Uchechukwu wants to share his artistic knowledge with others who genuinely want to learn.
He’s been featured in AIM Magazine, shoots African cultural events, such as the African Global Roots Annual African Arts Festival this year, recently shot A Great Day in Twin Cities Hip Hop, and does commissioned work in the studio and will shoot his clients in the city for an urban look, if that’s what they want, or their home.
Like the images he creates, there is more to Uchechukwu than his photography can convey. He is enigmatic and an “empath” who loves life and has many interests: DJ, singer, lover of words, incessant writer of poetry, player of scrabble, and currently volunteers at KFAI radio. When asked if he would study photography formally, he smiled, “I’d rather study anthropology to understand culture, the human experience, and to glimpse into the next stage of human evolution.” Among his many dreams, is to own a multi-media studio, entwining graphic arts, music, photography, and film to capture moments of life for an eternity, but can the essence of life ever be captured, or just re-created?
I am a human being, son, nephew, brother, cousin, uncle, father, friend and family. I am also a photographer, philosopher, and dreamer. Love. Overcomes. Virtually. Everything. God is Love. Love is God. Love always. ~ Uchechukwu