Almost two decades ago when Facebook and other social media platforms created waves in other countries we didn’t think it would affect our lives too but Social Media has now become a powerful information sharing tool in our society transforming the way we receive news and information. Most importantly, this new Social Media revolution in the country has provided fresh opportunities for many young people to earn an income.
As social media explodes, the demand for content creators like photographers, videographers, writers, graphic designers and others with related skills are on the rise. 24 year old Solomon Andale from Kulapi Village in Pogera, Enga Province is putting his photography skills to good use to earn a bit of income while pursuing academic aspirations at the Polytech Institute of Papua New Guinea in Lae.
Living a long way from home life has been tough but earning a bit of extra cash from working as a hired photographer has eased his financial burdens. “My work as a photographer has helped me pay for the things I need while studying at the Lae Polytech. It has made my life a little bit easier,” says Solomon, who is a final year Mechanical Engineering student.
To help market and promote his Photography skills and reach out to potential clients, Solomon created the Ipili Photography Facebook page which has since amassed 12, 000 followers on the platform. He is a bit experienced now and has worked on projects for clients like the Aumbi Guest House, Coca-Cola Ipatas Cup, Wawin National School of Excellence, Lae International Hotel, Divine Word University, Papua New Guinea University of Technology, National Polytechnic Institute of Papua New Guinea and McRoyal Hotel to name but a few.
Solomon got into photography in 2018 while attending St Paul’s Lutheran Secondary School in Enga Province after meeting a friend who was also a photographer. “I met a friend by the name of Herry Luke there who is also a Photographer. He owned a Nikon Camera back then. He showed me the basics on how to capture scenes and use buttons on the camera,” Solomon said. After this exposure on how to use a camera Solomon figured it was something that he wanted to do too and it “drove him into photography”. The Ipili Photographer has improved a lot since.
Solomon admires the work of Tom Kotupi of Kalakai Photography and sees him as a role model in his photography endeavors. His skills and hard work is slowly being recognized. The Enga Students Association at the Papua New Guinea University of Technology presented Solomon with a Certificate of Recognition for his media services to the association at their end of year closing event. “It is the first of its kind to get an award of achievement like this and I am thrilled,” said Solomon jubilantly.
Solomon loves photography with a passion and enjoys interacting with his followers on Facebook as well as with clients when on the job. His family and friends have also respected him a little bit more and he just wants to make them proud in return.
The Ipili Photographer says the Government must create programs and courses to help this new wave of self trained craftsmen and artists as Social Media is here to stay and the demand for content creators will continue to surge going forward. The government helping them develop their skills will go a long way in helping those content creators earn a living by creating employment for themselves.
Solomon’s message to other young photographer’s is that photography can be your profession or hobby but our education is far more important so concentrate on getting an education which he believes will compliment their photography skills or other artform which they are good at.
Article by Terence Kapipi Yacop
For Wepio Media Agency