I am starting the day by speaking with…
IN THIS PHOTO: Eddie Otchere
a talented photographer who has gone from the bustle and colour of London to the stillness of the countryside. Eddie Otchere talks to me about that and how he got into photography and what sparked that passion. I have been speaking with him about the much-anticipated Bass in the City weekend (next week) - it is part of London’s City Life Festival; a month-long run of events across October celebrating the unique diversity and vibrancy of the capital. (For full details of events, check-in here).
Otchere tells me why we need to get involved in the events and also gives advice to new photographers coming through; a few albums that have inspired him; what he hopes to achieve by the end of this year – he tells me whether he gets time to unwind away from photography.
Hi, Eddie. How are you? How has your week been?
Not bad! Celebrated the winter equinox by visiting a Neolithic tomb. Good times!
For those new to your work; can you introduce yourself, please?
I am Eddie Otchere. I live on Planet Earth and I don’t know how it works. I take pictures habitually and also professionally. I like life!
City Life, coming in October, is your (Bass in the City) event that celebrates seminal sounds of London. What made you want to start that event?
London, some time ago, found the cure to racism. It involved all people, all crews; all shades, all creeds; all sexes, all classes under one roof raving. We wanted to shout about that.
Break down the event. Is it going to happen in stages with music and food etc.? What form will it assume?
A linear sequence of conversation, bants and rant coupled with some liquid and solid refreshments plus a bag of tunes.
If you were trying to pitch the event in a single paragraph…why should we all come down and get involved?
Let me save you some space…
When was the last time you had a good boogie? When was the last time you heard a good story? Exactly! See you there.
In terms of a defining London artist, who would you highlight? How do you think the city’s music has changed through the years?
Jimothy Lacoste is my highlight of 2018. And our music in London is taking itself less and less serious.
Tell me how you got started in photography. What was the reason for pursuing it?
I found a camera and I like to see what things look like photographed. It is my obsession. Choice doesn’t fit in.
You are renowned for iconic photos and working alongside artists like Biggie Smalls. Which photos is your proudest moment would you say?
Smoking a blunt with Snoop Dog and his dad and not coughing.
Did you grow up around a lot of Rap and Hip-Hop music before you got into photography? Is there something about those sounds that captivated your imagination?
I grew up during the golden age of Hip Hop and it gave me my swagger, my voice; my sounds and my amazing dance skills.
It seems like you have swapped music and the city for the countryside and animals. Was there a reason for the change? How does snapping animals differ to artists?
I am looking for good air. London has terrible air. Shame because we need it. That said; country animals love having their picture taken although they don’t seem that interested in the picture.
What do you hope to achieve by the end of 2018?
Clear my overdraft, pay all my bills, get rid of my credit cards, bank account and be off grid with a tanked up Monzo card.
Have you got a favourite memory from your time in music/photography so far – the one that sticks in the mind?
When I tried to charm Mariah Carey by telling her that, when I get high, I get psychic. Her response taught me, ‘really’, is the most sarcastic word in the English language.
Which three albums mean the most to you would you say (and why)?
Marvin Gaye - I Want You
He preaches the joy of oral sex.
Marvin Gaye - Sexual Healing
He preaches the perils of masturbation.
Marvin Gaye - Hear, My Dear
He preaches the tragic consequences of infidelity.
What advice would you give to those who want to follow in your footsteps?
Stay hydrated. Wear good shoes. All film photographers have the most wondrous angels and digital photographers are unpaid workers for Mark Zuckerberg. Poor bastards; they lost their virginities on the way to the bank.
Do you get much time to chill away from photography? How do you unwind?
I unwind by helping old photographers do their shopping. It gives me perspective and free biscuits.
Finally, and for being a good sport; you can choose a song and I’ll play it here (not any of your music - I will do that).
R. Kelly - A Woman’s Threat
Must add that I recently broke up; still bitter about it so I’ve been adding sugar to my tea. It does not help, but R. Kelly does
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