By Taiwo Obe
Just as the Daily Times, where he was for several decades chief photographer, was the generic name for newspapers, he was also for a long time the generic name for photography in Nigeria. If you wasted time in taking a photograph, you were automatically written off as “not Peter Obe.” On the other hand, if you exhibited some measure of mastery, you earned the name, “Peter Obe.”
He was a legend. Indeed, in the Daily Times, he was not mentioned by name; rather, he was “Ace” indicating his high quality, excellence. His photographs were always stamped “Exclusives.” And, truly, they were: in a different class.
This afternoon, Peter Oyeyemi Obe, better known as Peter Obe, died at his residence situated on 31 Alhaji Masha/Moronu Street, Surulere, Lagos, Nigeria. His first son, Femi, made the official announcement. A visual impairment which he had a couple of years ago, cut short his freelance photography work for the Agence France Presse (AFP). His coverage of the Nigerian civil war for the Daily Times resulted in a one-of-its-kind book, “Civil War Pictures From Nigeria: A Decade of Crisis in Pictures.”
Mr Lade Bonuola (aka Ladbone), an executive consultant at The Guardian (Nigeria) in a condolence message, wrote: “As chief cameraman of the Daily Times and I as the chief sub-editor, we worked very closely together. He never failed in supplying me terrific action photographs for the front page. Once I shouted ‘Exclusives’, I trusted he was on the way to the newsroom to supply page 1 photograph.”
Former Photo Editor at the defunct NEXT newspaper Mr Gbile Oshadipe, who currently teaches photojournalism at the Nigerian Institute of Journalism, wrote: “We’ve lost a pioneer in photojournalism at a time novices appropriate media space and pretend to be pros.”
Surely, there will be many more commendations on the legendary work of this iconic photographer and the man himself – who also happened to be my uncle.
Culled from Linkedin Group:Everything Journalism