Emmanuel Whajah’s love for visual expression began at a young age.
With a keen eye for movement and emotion, the standout videographer and photographer has consistently produced work, well received globally due to their remarkable nature in touching the hearts and minds of anyone who has the pleasure of viewing them.
In 2012, he officially established Emzyproductionfilms, keeping his focus on creating artful and engaging dance videos. Today, Emmanuel holds an impressive portfolio from working with celebrity clientele such as Rita Ora, Jorja Smith, Eric Bellinger, and Keke Palmer. He has also worked with major brands such as Puma, Live Nation, and Universal Music Group.
We are thrilled to interview him to know more about his journey, from growing up in the diaspora and breaking into the global creative industry very early in life.
Born in Hanover to Ghanaian parents, Emmanuel started dancing and taking part in a lot of hip hop championships in Germany and Europe as a whole at age five.
By 14, he was part of a dance crew – “MUFUME CREW” which had a lot of TV appearances, and billed on huge events around Germany. It was after editing their dance videos on YouTube that he started with videography and photography, to capture their best moments and memories of dancing.
Speaking about what drew him into event photography he said: “My partner Duc John Nyguen and I shot a lot of events with our company Mazion years ago. We shot recap videos a lot and tried to take photos at the same time.”
I’m mostly self-taught, although I learnt a lot on YouTube, as well as from my mentor Andreas Aguilar, a well-known filmmaker and graphic designer from Hanover who taught me a lot in editing and how to capture special moments with the camera”, Emmanuel added on where he learnt his skills from.
Typical of creatives, he mostly works at night; and depending on the client or nature of the project, he could stick to the brief, or creatively flow organically during a shot.
When it comes to photography, he doesn’t limit himself – capturing every moment and mood through his lens. “My inspiration comes from music, movies, series, friends, family or artists. Simply put, everything around me because sometimes it’s things you see outside or in mother nature which inspires you for a shoot”, he says.
His career took off in style when filming an event featuring Les Twins, the duo who are famous for performing with Beyonce. Les Twins enjoyed his work so much that they asked him to join them on tour in Europe. This experience gave Emmanuel a good opportunity to establish amazing connections in the dance, music, and film industries.
He has since worked with several top celebrities all over the world including Beyonce, Burna Boy, Wizkid, Jussie Smollet, Omarion, Joria Smith, Eric Bellinger, Lauryn Hill, Keke Palmer and many more.
Although Emmanuel is living the dream of many creatives looking for their break on to the global scene, there have been struggles he’s had to overcome along the way as he explains. “To be independent and make my own money is one. Knowing who to trust and call a friend in this industry where you get to meet a lot of famous artists and people who just want to benefit from your work is another.”
However, Emmanuel knows his worth; and has also enjoyed many memorable moments in his career. “It’s always a standout moment for me when I know that people love what I’m doing and appreciate me as a person. Working with artists I can now call my family or close friends like Les Twins, Eric Bellinger or Keke Palmer for instance; and knowing where I come from and going, every moment of my life is a standout for me, and I thank God for that.
Emmanuel is also known for the excellent videos he produces. He thinks that sometimes his dance background helps here, as he explains:
“I’m glad that I’m a dancer because through my experience I know and feel every dance move which can be interpreted in my editing. My sense of ‘feeling’ things out of music is very high, and also the part about storytelling because as a dancer you try to tell a story with your body language and so, I’m able to transfer this into my videos.
What’s next for the multi-award winning creative? He has an exciting project coming up. “Divine Beauty” is a video series representing the beauty of women in a classic way through the ages. Different types of models with different backgrounds present how special and beautiful women are; stressing why nobody should be ashamed of their body in today’s society. “If you wanna show more skin DO IT, IF NOT THEN DON’T; but don’t judge a woman, because her “Divine Beauty” is unique in different ways, and so let me show you what I see through my lens”, he speaks on his sentiments about the project.
In addition to working with celebrities, Emmanuel dedicates his time to capturing the essence of current global social justice movements. He uses his skill and talent to show the world truths hiding in plain sight.
He also provides marketing management services – with a portfolio including Daniel Kyereh, an international football star who helped Ghana’s Black Stars team to qualify for this year’s FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
For an internationally recognised creative who has consistently achieved a lot, he has this simple advice to aspiring photographers and videographers: “Be really intermit in the things you do and say. Be consistent and focused on your goals, and just be you.”
By: Theresa R. Fianko
Additional Information By: Emmanuel Whajah
****Images used with the full permission of Emmanuel Whajah