19th March, 1994
Documentary Photographer, Spoken Word
Black Chalk Photography
Nembe, Bayelsa State, Nigeria.
Studied Philosophy at Niger Delta University
Obiene Solomon dived headfirst into Spoken Word, an oral version of Poetry, in the year 2017, debuting with his very first appearance at the Open Mic Night organized by the Inkpottsers.
In November 2017, the artiste underwent a national service to his country, Nigeria, in the country’s Federal Government establishment known as National Youth Service Corps, specifically in Osun State. It was during this period he enrolled for photography classes through the SAED programs.
Unable to complete the training due to financial constraints, Solomon decided to kickstart self development in the beautiful knowledge of photography he was able to acquire at the time. That birthed the phone photography practice, which he terminologically named phoneography. He practiced phoneography all through his year in the NYSC in 2017.
He launched WakaSnap, a phoneography project aimed at showing the beauty infinitely present in nature, ordinary artificial things and places and their distinguishing landmarks. Solomon took the project to Kpansia market in Yenagoa, the capital of Bayelsa, Wilberforce Island in Niger Delta University and Oloibiri, the spot where commercial crude oil was first discovered in Nigeria.
Obiene Solomon was particularly inspired to go into photography at his attendance of a poetry event tagged Sound Of Poetry in 2017. The artiste had witnessed the performance of a poet known as 2White, the Gbedu Poet.
2White, according to Obiene Solomon, opened his performance with the following lines:
I will shoot you
Not with my gun
But with my camera
I’m a poet
And a photographer
Call me the poetographer
These were the words that inspired Obiene Solomon to merge poetry with photography.
Upon his return to Bayelsa in 2018, alongside the WakaSnap project, he became a member of the Seaview Poetry Club and subsequently, the Rio Cafe Poetry House, the organizers of the Sound of Poetry event.
Aims & Objectives
Obiene states his aims as a photographer thus:
I desire making arts from the least expected things, from ordinary things. That is the rationale behind the name “Black Chalk.” I prefer keeping my arts as simple and relatable as possible.
Hence, the use of Pidgin and local terms in my poems, as well as less sophisticated edits on the pictures I document.
Number of Pictures Taken So Far
Obiene Solomon sincerely states as follows:
I must confess, I’ve lost count of number of pictures.
But the beauty of photography is the fact that I get to capture every aspect of life; baby dedication, naming ceremony, birthday shoots, weddings, corporate events, hangouts, concerts, burials and so on.
I have virtually captured all of these.
Through the job, I’ve been to Rivers state, Ebonyi, Delta, Kwara, Abia and I’m still available for travel jobs.
• Seeing military movies
• Making documentaries.
Obiene Solomon assesses himself thus:
I am a documentary photographer because I love to showcase the everyday (unrehearsed) experiences of people. I feel genuinty is the beauty of arts.