African Photo Entrepreneur Programme 2008
by Jeff Greene /
Johannesburg-based Toni Jade Efune won the “Microsoft Woman Photo Entrepreneur Award” in the first African Photo Entrepreneur of the Year Awards which were presented by Africa Media Online.
The award, sponsored by Microsoft's Pro Photo Community, is part of the African Photo Entrepreneur Programme run by Africa Media Online. Nearly 150 professional photographers from all over Africa applied to the program and only 40 were selected to participate in the Digital Campus.
The Digital Campus workshop featured Microsoft Icons of Imaging Peter Krogh and digital imaging consultant Graeme Cookson teaching participants in digital workflow using Microsoft's Expression Media 2. Microsoft also donated a copy of Expression Media 2.0 to each of the participants who had to undertake an assignment to produce images which reflect the reality of Africa not often seen in the international media - proud, stylish, and technologically savvy Africans.
Twenty-seven professional photographers stood to win prizes in six categories, with women photographers taking four of the six awards. As part of this award, Africa Media Online will be digitizing the top 300 images from each photographer, retouching the images so that they are market-ready, and associating keywords with them so that they can be easily found during an online search.
In addition to awarding a copy of Expression Media 2 to every finalist, Microsoft also presented a Crumpler laptop bag loaded with Vista Ultimate, Microsoft Office 2007, and Capture One 4 RAW processing software to all the award winners.
Q&A with Microsoft Woman Photo Entrepreneur of the Year, Toni Jade Efune
Q: 1. What does winning this award mean for you?
A: Winning the award was an overwhelming experience as I truly did not expect it in any way, especially seeing the high level that was submitted by the other participants . Winning the award made me realize that my work has high potential to attract attention and keep me ahead of the other photographers. I need to continue to shoot for myself and keep ahead of the ever-changing visual photographic world.
Q: What did the APEP programme as a whole do for your photographic career?
A: The APEP program opened my eyes to how much technologically I really don't know. It has shown me how to utilize technology to my benefit and expose myself and my work worldwide.
Q: What will you do with the prize you won?
A: It was a privilege to be able to donate it to another photographer who needed it more than I did.
Q: Where is your photography career headed?
A: I am currently a successful wedding photographer. APEP has forced me out of my comfort zone, so I am not sure where this path is headed. All I can say is I am excited about it !
Q: How did you get into photography in the first place?
A: My dad had a small box camera and at the age of 12 I found myself loving to capture life.
Q: What excites you most about the future of professional photography?
A: I am a complete technical junkie and I am loving the new ever-changing dimensions that digital photography opens up for me. I studied hand film processing and printing and am overwhelmed by the control I now have as photographer, developer and printer. If you keep your vision narrowed then you only have one path to follow. I can only see a successful career in professional photography ahead of me. My camera is my canvas to the world! Watch this space…
Microsoft Pro Photo Community and Icons of Imaging websites: