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Since leaving Ravensbourne, Ope has built a highly successful career as a freelance photographer and social media influencer. He now has over 85,000 followers on his Instagram account @greatarsenal and has recently released his first book Parallel Lines.
What initially appealed to you about Ravensbourne and your chosen degree?
I knew so much talent within various creative fields were (and still are) nurtured at Ravensbourne. Ravensbourne was always spoken highly of, but I think what sealed the deal for me was knowing I’d be the first year to experience the new North Greenwich campus. I was built up with so much excitement at the time, I couldn’t really picture myself going anywhere else. I was in the very first year they ran the BA (Hons) Digital Photography course so I didn’t really know what to expect. I definitely took a bit of a gamble there, but I’m so glad I did!
Could you tell us about the benefits of studying with us?
The tutors were very helpful in supporting me along the path I wanted to follow in terms of my photography. I remember Julian Hawkins especially. He always pushed me to follow my vision and supported me in the way I wanted to do things. My fellow students were cool people and I’m still in touch with quite a few today. As a group we definitely had our ups and downs, but always managed to get through it. We weren’t a very big group, but everyone on the course had their own style and passion for a particular field of photography.
Could you tell us a little bit about what you have done since graduating - where are you working and what does your typical day look like?
Since leaving Ravensbourne, I have developed a career as a freelance photographer and social media influencer. It wasn’t easy to begin with! I had the idea that by the time I graduated I’d be working comfortably in a full-time job of my choice but this wasn’t the case. I had to settle for a job in hospitality which I used to fund my photography — I did this for about two and a half years. Working a job I wasn’t really keen on, I felt it was always important to keep my creativity flowing. I’d use my free time to go out networking and shooting with like-minded people while of course keeping the business side of my social media active. You never know which potential client could be keeping a close eye on the content you post. With that in mind, I made it my mission to upload the best of my work on a regular basis in order to attract the kind of companies I wanted to work with.
Could you tell us a bit about some of your favourite brands to work with?
I did a promo with Huawei recently, having previously done some work with them which they absolutely loved. One of the creative agencies that they partnered with contacted me via email to ask if the promo video was something I’d be interested in getting involved in. I had to say yes - there was no hesitation! It’s always a nice feeling representing a huge brand like Huawei, especially when they come to you. The first time I was approached by them was purely off the back of a public relations company seeing my Instagram feed and offering me the opportunity to create visual content for one of their social media campaigns.
Adidas, Puma, Timberland, Nokia and BMW have been some of my other favourite brands to work with. I’m proud of what I’ve achieved so far. I think the biggest achievement is getting to travel to do what I love. There was a job I did with the rum brand Havana Club in which they flew me to Cuba to document anything and everything. The brief was so broad it didn’t even feel like I was working! Another one I’ll never forget is getting to work with Arsenal Football Club — I’m a massive fan, so there's no topping that! The fact that I’m doing what I love for a living is a major achievement in itself.
Do you have any advice for prospective students?
I would encourage current students to never lose passion to continue doing what you love even when things aren’t so positive. Consistency really is the key. I’ve found the more you do something the better you’ll get, people will eventually see your desire and everything else will follow.
Ope studied BA (Hons) Digital Photography
Ravensbourne University London
6 Penrose Way
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