Monday, April 21, 2014

Exclusive Interview #2: Ify Arinze of Eternity Bound

A little while ago, I came across a couple of photographs on my Facebook timeline. There was something about the photographs that drew me in. Maybe I was taken by the clarity of the photos, the model(s), its composition, or the fact that I felt like was staring at a reflection of myself. In each photo, I could identify with the mood conveyed, or the actions taken.

Dancers at MHC

Dancers at MHC

I wanted to know who the photographer was. I quickly realised that someone was tagged and credited as the photographer - Ifeyinwa Arinze aka Ify. I added her on Facebook instantly, hoping she would accept, as I was desperate to see more of her photographs. Very rarely do young photographers impress me, partly due to the fact that our generation in the last few years has suddenly become obsessed with being creative. Anyone who is anyone, irrespective of talent, wants to sing, dance, write, or take photographs, but Ify is not that person. Her photographs speak about her truth - her genuine passion and love for photography.

Ify Arinze
Once accepted as her friend, I looked at more and more photographs, not only on her FB page but also on her blog. When her website was launched, I knew I had to interview her!

I hope you enjoy Ify’s interview! 


Ify was born in Lagos and spent most of her life there. For eighteen years she moved around with her family, living in Festac, Ikoyi and Ajah. However, if you were to ask her where she is from, she would say Anambra. Her new home now is in Massachusetts. She moved to America a couple of years ago to pursue her dream of being a Paediatrician stemming from her love for kids, and has only recently just graduated with a Bachelors Degree in Neuroscience. However, her professional dreams do not get in the way of one of her major passions, photography.

Portrait: Duy Tien
She explained that she got into photography in November 2010, when she bought her first camera from Amazon. However, the person that really got her photographic juices flowing was a photographer called Andre Wagner from Nebraska. She discovered him through pictures taken of a spoken word collective. Ify loves the fact the he “captures the essence of the moment.” You can sense that his work means a lot to her, because as she reminisced, she beamed from ear to ear.

Photography “is part of [her] everyday life” Ify affirms. “I am constantly editing or taking pictures. It is a means of expression for me, a very serious passion. I wake up in the morning and I have an idea in my head, then I have a model in mind, and I think of how to bring it to bring it all together.”

Ify’s story is quite interesting because when asked her about parental support, (as Nigerian parents can be difficult), she detailed, “My story is different, my situation is unique because photography is not what I want to do full time. It is an art, a passion, and I am honoured that people recognise my work and pay me to do projects for them.” She laughs just as she continues, “My mother knows that I am passionate about photography, and she has always been a big fan.” 

For Ify, it isn’t about that one shot, “It is more than a shot, it is a series of photos, and it’s based on my passion for communicating through my photos.” But if she had to choose a favourite photo it would be one from her Gele Series. “Those pictures really stand out because I cannot believe that I took those photos in my room, they came out beautifully.”

GELE: A portrait series

GELE: A portrait series

GELE: A portrait series

Ify is a genuinely sweet person and very humble. I remember how she was truly amazed at the fact that she was asked to be interviewed, evidenced in her smiles and her remarks. (She doesn't realise that she does me the favour). 

Apart from the fun fact that Ify is a very proud Queens College alumni, she playfully recounts the craziest thing that has ever happened to her. “I entered into a Bournvita competition (Nigerians should remember that fabulous chocolate drink likened to Cadbury Hot Chocolate Powder). Forty children would win a flight to Paris or London if they answered two questions, what is the vitamin responsible for dry eyesight, and what are the colours of British Airways.” Hilarious! She won! “It was ridiculous,” she states, “as we were all between the ages of 8 and 10, the trip was insane!”

FALL: A portrait series

FALL: A portrait series

After a while, I had to ask, why the name ‘Eternity Bound?’

She replied, “I didn’t want the name to be cliché. I was getting lunch one afternoon and I prayed about it. I asked God what name to use, and the name just came to me. As I am a child of God, not of this world, there is much more to look forward to. This is not the final destination,” she continues, “I am heading to a life of eternity with God, so why not Eternity Bound?” I think it’s an amazing name, what do you think?

To end, when asked about her dreams she stated that, “healthcare and health access has been on her heart for a long time. But at the same time she is a photographer, even though she might not be a professional photographer in the sense that it is not her full time job, she still sees photography being a big part of her life.”

Dancers at MHC

You can find more of her work below:

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