Iconic Photographer Ulrich Knoblauch’s Advice On Making It In Fashion

He may have only picked up a camera for a paid job at the age of 29 (negating his previous goal of attaining a law degree), but Ulrich Knoblauch’s list of clients is impressive (and extensive). From shooting fashion editorials for Self Service magazine and French Vogue (as well as Marie Claire and Cosmopolitan South Africa), to capturing fashion week highlights backstage at Givenchy, Isabel Marant, Lacoste, Victoria Beckham, Alexander McQueen and many more notable fashion houses, it’s safe to say he’s ‘made it’.

Career advice

Ulrich’s advice to those starting out is: ‘Ask everyone you know for help and then work as hard as you can. Look at every magazine, research photographers, stylists, editors – see who inspires you and learn what they love. Never stop. And then you’ll make it.’ The best advice he ever received was ‘ask for help’. And he believes that being a nice person really leads to making it big.

Highlights to date

‘When the editor of Paris-based Self Service magazine gave me a chance to shoot for them, I was over the moon. I’ll never forget when she mailed me and said “Call me at the office”. That day completely changed my career and has directly impacted on everything I’ve achieved thus far.’ The Marie Claire Image Makers 2018 accolade as icon photographer has also meant a lot to him; ‘It’s a huge honour that I certainly didn’t see coming. That makes it all the more special’.

On being an international fashion photographer
‘The highs and lows of this job are extreme. It’s those lows that make you question everything, and those obstacles have proven to be the hardest ones to overcome.’ But there are so many good things about the job; ‘besides that ‘woooaaahh’ feeling you get when you shoot a great picture, I’d say all the amazing travel opportunities are really a bonus of what I do too.’

Here’s Ulrich on his boldest move so far:

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Source: Marie Claire

This Video Explores the Rise of Nigeria’s Animation Industry

Is animation the future of Nigerian cinema? A new video from BBC Africa, breaks it all down.

For years, Nollywood has been at the forefront of all things Nigerian cinema, but a new video from BBC Africa suggests that animation may have the potential to become as big as Nollywood.

The use of animation in films is steadily rising in the country, propelled by the innovative 2016 3D short film Dawn of Thunder, which tells the ancient story of Sango, the Yoruba god of thunder. The first animated version of Sango appeared in a Marvel Thor Comic from 1982 and then again in a DC comic entailed New Earth in 1990.

Dawn of Thunder, was created by Lagos-based animation house, Komotion Studios, where creators wanted the story of Sango to be told from a uniquely African perspective.

“What we were trying to do, was to tell an African story the African way, using technology and using tools that will be able to portray them properly,” says Komotion Studios CEO Kolawole Olarewaju.

 

“People are kind of realizing now that it’s going to be an economy booster in the long run,” he continues.

While the industry still has some growing to do before it is fully competitive with Nollywood, the future looks promising.

“Animation is definitely growing at a slower pace than Nollywood in general,” says Chioma Onyenwe of the African International Film Festival. “But the audience is growing, the animators are growing, they are getting better. The landscape is easier, so it’s easier to learn, you go online—the technology is more accessible.”

With the advancements made in Nigeria’s animation industry and the upcoming US release of animated films like “Bilal,” inspired by the story of the great Ethiopian warrior—who became Islam’s first muezzin—it appears that the telling of African narratives through previously unexplored mediums is on the rise.

Learn more about Nigeria’s budding animation studios with the short clip below, and head to BBC Africato watch the full video.

Source: OkayAfrica

 

Nigeria’s dessert-inspired beauty products

When she realised her traditional beauty products were causing her problems, Nigerian entrepreneur Blondie Okpuzor decided to make dessert-inspired treats for her skin.

The BBC’s Africa Business Report visited her in Lagos to find out more.

Source: BBC

 

Making boots from hippopotamus and ostrich

The air is heavy with the pleasing smell of new shoes as a team of 16 craftsmen slowly and studiously make safari boots.

With each pair taking two weeks to produce from start to finish, you can never accuse the Courteney Boot Company of rushing things.

Instead the business, one of the world’s most exclusive footwear brands, currently makes just 18 pairs of handmade boots and shoes a day.

Founded in 1991 in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe’s second city, Courteney continues to be a rare business success story in a country whose economy has struggled greatly over the past 20 years.

Using exotic game skin leathers such as crocodile, buffalo, hippopotamus and ostrich – all from Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora approved and renewable sources – its boots remain much in demand around the world.

The company was set up by husband and wife team John and Gale Rice.

John had started making shoes in the UK in 1953 when aged 15 he began working for British shoe company Clarks. His career then took him to South Africa, before moving to Zimbabwe.

The couple ran the business together for 21 years until John died in 2012. Since then Gale has led the company on her own.

Looking back on the early days of Courteney she says that she and John devised a novel way to promote the business.

“Right at the beginning we made boots for all the well-known safari operators in Zimbabwe and South Africa free of charge, and delivered most of them ourselves,” says Gale.

“The safari operators would wear the boots while out in the bush with their overseas clients, and they promoted us – word of mouth.”

The holidaymakers would then find shops in Zimbabwe and South Africa to buy their own pairs of Courteney boots to take home with them at the end of their vacations. In turn they would recommend them to their friends, who would place orders from overseas.

Zimbabwe’s large commercial farmers, typically white Zimbabweans, also became enthusiastic purchasers of the boots.

Gale adds: “We had three main customers – the hunter, the farmer, and the tourist.”

The company grew strongly until the economic and political meltdown that started in Zimbabwe in 2000 saw the company lose most of its local customers. First, many of the white farmers left the country, and then tourist arrivals declined sharply.

To survive Gale focused on increasing exports, which rose from 50% to today’s 85% of total sales.

“From the very beginning we always intended to try to make our boots available to our niche market all over the world,” she says.

“And it is just as well that we did have that strategy. Since 2000 Zimbabwe has deteriorated to almost the brink of collapse.

“For sometime now it has been the case – export or die.”

With global stockists including gun companies such as John Rigby and Westley Richards, Gale says that 70% of its sales are now via the internet, with 20% of that amount via Courteney’s own website.

Every pair of its $145-492 (£105-355) boots and shoes are made to order at the company’s small workshop, and Gale says that the company will never increase production above 30 pairs per day, so as to maintain quality control. “I absolutely follow that strategy,” she says.

“I would say there are several factors to our exporting success, but by far the most important is concentrating on making the best, most comfortable, and durable boot possible.

“Most of our attention goes on getting the product right.”

Explaining the fact that everything is made to order, she adds: “We are manufacturers not retailers.

“We can’t tie up capital by keeping stock, and especially not every style, in every leather, in every colour.”

Fungai Tarirah, a portfolio manager at South Africa-based investment fund Rudiarius Capital Management, says that a key issue any Zimbabwean company has to overcome is the fact that the country is landlocked.

“A fair amount of the challenges faced by Zimbabwean-based exporters are around the fact that the country’s a landlocked country, so if your customers are halfway across the world you essentially have to deliver the goods in two legs.

“That sometimes triples or quadruples the amount of paperwork that one has to deal with – but also the lead times.”

Thankfully, Mr Tarirah adds that at the same time the internet has been a “game changer” for exporters from countries like Zimbabwe.

“It is now a lot easier for manufacturers to produce in a ‘just in time’ fashion, as opposed to building up stocks that may or may not move over the next three, six or nine months.

“It allows them to reach larger further-flung markets which they normally could not have accessed.”

Gale says that “without a doubt our secret to being a successful exporter is attitude”.

She adds: “Shipping overseas seamlessly takes a lot of communication and patience and attention to detail.”

While domestic sales are slowly rising again since former president Robert Mugabe resigned back in November, Gale says it is still not easy to be a business in Zimbabwe.

“Life is very difficult here, but we choose to focus on the positive and keep our heads down. We know what we have to do.”

Source: BBC

 

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