Perhaps the best photography memory any average Ugandan youth has, is of those cameramen who come home once in a fortnight to deliver hard copy photographs with negatives attached to the back, and take new ones in the compound, asking everyone to say “Cheese” before the shutter clicked. Oscar Ntege, a 30 year old graduate of Bachelors of Industrial and Fine Art(photography option) from Makerere University, had a bold dream during his campus days, and even though he achieved it in full measure, he is now dreaming a little more.
With the financially challenging times at the Ivory Tower in Kikoni, a young, pint-sized Oscar juggled school and work rather wisely, by manning printers and delivering copies for big photography companies of the time, like MegaPix, for a small remuneration of 5000 shillings per day. He didn’t mind much about the money though, it was the knowledge that intrigued him.
“I was enjoying it all, being able to earn from what I study about in class before graduation. I didn’t mind much about the money.” He said.
After graduation, in an industry with market leaders that according to him, charged very low prices, Oscar set 3 wedding packages which undermined the industry’s 600k market price per wedding: they were at one, two and three million shillings each. The move of course looked so amateur and naïve, and many experienced photographers wrote him off, but he went on to survive and make over 200 Million shillings in just one year.
“Many ask me why I quit wedding photography initially, but like any artist, I got bored by doing it so much, and decided to try out another genre.” Oscar bragged.
Unbeknownst to him, the new genre he was to try out, would go on to make him the most famous fashion photographer of the generation in Uganda, and his nickname Celebrity Photographer, that he jokingly gave himself before, came to pass. Of course at the start, experienced photographers told him no one would pay a price as high as 300k for just 6 studio photos of their face, but to kid you not, almost all A-List Ugandan celebrities have stood in front of Oscar’s camera.
“I first shot Irene Ntale, Maureen Nantume, then more stars flooded the studio.” A braggart Ntege revealed.
Sheebah Karungi, Stellah Nantumbwe, Pallaso, Spice Diana, Rema Namakula, Jose Chameleone, Mowzey Radio, B2C, Mugisha Muntu, Ykee Benda, Hamisa Mobetto, Pastor Robert & Jessica Kayanja, Martha Kay, Natasha Sinayobye, Judith Heard, Anitah Fabiola among other celebs have been shot by Oscar; and for a location shoot with him, he takes 1 Million Uganda Shillings, excluding makeup and stylist charges. Many of his customers love him for his charm when shooting, and flamboyant photo retouching skills.
His episodes of perfecting and getting bored of a genre have recently struck again, and despite all the fashion photography awards he has won, Oscar has decided to go back to wedding photography with Harusi Nzuri company, offering packages that include one of 30 Million Uganda Shillings. It is very ambitious indeed, but why doubt someone who has always disproved people with more experience than him?
To all the pulsers, this is for you to know that giving up on your dreams should never be an option and there’s no dream that is too ambitious.