Gregory Akinlotan: Overcoming Challenges to Become an Award-Winning Photographer

Gregory Akinlotan is an award-winning photographer based in Nigeria who uses his art to create positive change. Despite facing personal challenges, Gregory pursued his passion for photography by participating in the 2023 Versatile Photography Training Program organized by Gazmadu Education. 

There, his project “Beyond Barriers” stood out for its powerful storytelling and ability to shed light on important social issues. As the recipient of the “Art meets Purpose” visionary award, Gregory emerged as one of the program’s top graduates. 

Gazmadu Education interviewed Gregory to learn more about his creative process and the inspiration behind “Beyond Barriers.” Through his lens, Gregory captures not only beautiful moments but also brings attention to the challenges many face in society. 

In overcoming his disabilities, Gregory has proven how art can help one move past barriers. This article explores Gregory’s journey from disability to recognition as an award-winning photographer known for excellence. It shares insights into his experiences in the Versatile Photography training and how he uses his gifts to create positive change.

Gregory Akinlotan - Versatile Photography Training program

I started photography in primary school 

Gregory Akinlotan spoke about his journey as a photographer, how he started shooting in primary school. He also gave us an insight into how he has used his photography has helped his community.

  • Tell me about your journey and what informed your passion for photography.

I love art, I am born an artist and I have been a portrait artist all through secondary school, even though I have had the privilege of having my first point-and-shoot camera, I was not keen to do photography until at the beginning of my HND that I decided to take a deep dive into photography. I see it as a faster means to make portraits while still being very artistic.  

  • What role do you think your photography plays in society today?

My photography, apart from helping people celebrate and save memories, it is also serving as an informant on social matters. I have also used my Photography to enforce corrections in some cases; there was a time electricity poles fell in my community, and it was along a primary school, we all know kids can be very playful and those bare wires can be dangerous to the kids, I took the pictures, posted it on my Facebook, while calling on the necessary agency to take necessary action. The poles didn’t last the day before they were cleared. That is how powerful photography can be when used in the right order.

Living with a disability is not an end but a door to wonders

Versatile Photography Training Program

Gregory Akinlotan gave us insights into his role models, mentors, and great ersonalities that have influenced his photography journey. He also stated what inspired his Versatile photography Training program project – Beyond Barriers.

  • When it comes to great photographers, who would you say has influenced your work mostly? Why?

The list would be endless if I should begin to mention names, but Baba Kelechi Amadi Obi is someone I have a lot of respect for. When I started to study photographers and the prospects of being a photographer in Nigeria, he was one of the few who stayed consistent and relevant over a very long period.

Whenever I feel like quitting, I would just remind myself, that man must have been through this stage as well, if you too want to be celebrated like him, you must remain faithful to this call. He is beyond inspiration, and I have to thank Madam Gaz for the opportunity to meet him for the first time during the graduation ceremony of Versatile training. The one hour he spent with us was a masterclass he would charge millions of naira for. It was in deed a rare opportunity. 

  • What inspired the idea behind your photography project Beyond Barriers? Walk us through your creative process.

Gregory Akinlotan Project

I have heard some people come to me to tell me that I am doing well, and I inspire them, it makes me feel happy. While this inspires me, it is also very challenging at the same time, I can’t let myself down not to talk of these people. This is because I am in the digital media space, and I am often visible to many people but how about many other people living with disabilities who are also doing well in their different fields and are not dependent on anyone before they feed their families?

They too deserve to be celebrated, society needs to see them, and society must know that living with a disability is not an end but a door to wonder. That was why I decided to showcase those that I can reach and to let society know that if a child regardless of who they are or their conditions, is taken care of, the child has the potential to do wonders.

Mobility was one of my major challenges 

Gregory Akinlotan mentioned the challenges he faced while working on his project for the Versatile Photography Training Program and stated what he hoped people who viewed his images would get from the project.

From Novice To Pro: How Gazmadu Education’s Versatile Photography Training Empowers Next-level Photographers

  • Did you face any challenges during the project? How did you overcome them?

Yes, mobility posed a little challenge due to financial constraints. I intended to reach at least ten individuals, but I had to cut it down to six because I could finance the travel expenses. Taking the pictures wasn’t difficult, I tried to find my unique views from sitting in my wheelchair. 

  • Why did this project matter to you, and what do you want the viewer to get from your photography project?


It means a lot to me, it pains me to see people living with disabilities begging on the street, it could be me if not for the kind of family God blessed me with and the very good people around me who didn’t give up on me when I was hit with Polio at barely one-year-old.

They did everything possible to ensure I received the best education they could afford. That is what every child living with a disability deserves. I want society to embrace us, to see us as a critical part of society, because the truth is if you live long enough, you will become disabled, so at that old age, would anyone pray to be abandoned?

So, people, the government, and private entities should embrace the Policy of inclusivity in construction designs, access to education, health services, and many more and champion redefining people’s perception towards people living with disabilities. 

Versatile Photography Training Program changed my career as a photographer 

Versatile Photography Training Program

Speaking on the Versatile Photography Training Program, Gregory Akinlotan mentioned that the program changed his career beyond what he expected.

  • You participated in the Versatile Photography Training Program, What were your biggest takeaways from the training? 

Versatile Photography training is not just a training for beginners, it is a training for anyone seeking clarity, new goals, and new energy. My biggest takeaway was the opportunity to meet and connect with different people of diverse ideas. The way the interactive sessions were organized ensured that everyone is really involved in the training. 

  • How do you feel your photography has evolved or improved since the Versatile Photography training? 

Even though the training didn’t center on the business of photography,  anyone who is keen to study the process will understand a lot from Gazmadu. This training has broadened my knowledge in that aspect, some of which I have started implementing to improve my business.

I want to do more, no relaxing 


One would think Gregory Akinlotan has achieved a feat and wants to take a step back but this Versatile champion stated that he wants to do more.


  • What is your next step? Any photography goals for the future?


The next step is to focus on strengthening my brand, make it more visible to reach potential prospective clients. To keep improving my art and trying new things. I am proposing to do another documentary on another social issue around my community towards the end of the year. I will also like to have a public exhibition very soon. 


  • How can more people like you rise above their limitations and live their dreams?

People-People including government and private organizations need to come to their aids, by embracing them and accepting them as one of them. They need to invest in their education. And my fellows also need to brace the disabilty by accepting the challenge. Living with disability is a challenge to do something better in a different way from how it is commonly done. Do not give up, rise and embrace it, device means to overcome it, do it no matter what it takes, just do it, never give up! 


Gregory Akinlotan - Versatile Photography Training program

Gregory Akinlotan’s story shows how perseverance, creativity, and a strong support system can achieve great things. His training at Versatile Photography Training played a key role in his success. His photographs capture beautiful moments, but they also promote social change and inclusion.

Through his project called “Beyond Barriers,” he has given a voice to people living with disabilities. He challenges society’s views and advocates for equal opportunities. Gregory’s journey is an inspiration to everyone, reminding us that with determination and the right mindset, any limitation can be overcome. As he continues to grow as an artist and a voice for change, we look forward to seeing what he will do next in his remarkable journey.


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