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Photography as Illustrative Medium in Promoting Tourism in Rivers State, Nigeria

By

Nwombu, Ugochukwu Kingsley

Department of Fine and Applied Arts

Faculty of Humanities

Ignatius Ajuru University of Education

Rumuolumeni, Port Harcourt

Gsm: 08035251748

E-Mail: Ugokingsleyn@Gmail.Com

&

Ihua, Chukwudi Charles

 Department of Fine and Applied Arts

Faculty of Humanities

Ignatius Ajuru University of Education

Rumuolumeni, Port Harcourt

GSM: 07069674704

Abstract

The economic quagmire of Nigeria particularly Rivers State requires the State to seek for alternative sources of earnings which will improve her economy to run her affairs. Tourism promotion is the readily available earning means. Although, tourism promotion can take different dimensions, Photography as illustrative medium in promoting tourism in Rivers State is a strategy yet to be fully explored. Therefore, the aim of this study was to determine how photography as illustrative medium in promoting tourism in Rivers State can be achieved and the effect to which tourism promotion via photography could have in the state economy. The specific objectives of the study were to; (i) ascertain the role of photography as illustrative medium in promoting tourism in Rivers State, (ii) determine the potentiality of visual images in arousing the interest of prospective tourists in promotion of tourism in the state, (iii) ascertain the documentary role photography will play in tourism promotion in Rivers State, (iv) profile illustrative photographs of tourist attractions that heightens tourism promotion in the state. The research design adopted was survey whereby views and facts were collected, analyzed and used to achieve results. The sample was drawn from the tourist attraction facilities in Rivers State with the use of camera for photograph shots of the sceneries. Result revealed that the photograph of exotic sites of tourism interest in Rivers State were useful for global visibility as tourism attractions. The images which projected the rich cultural heritage/endowment of Rivers State will extensively promote tourism in the state. The power of photography in circulating images round the world has made reality visible, touristic and consumable. The attractiveness of visual imageries of the tourist sites in the photographs for prospective tourists to the state is potent enough to arouse the interest of prospective tourists to the state.  It was also revealed that all the photographs of attraction sites for tourism served the documentary role of photography to tourism promotion in Rivers State. The documentary of photography stands as a lasting legacy for reference purposes, and makes Rivers State truly a tourist destination in Nigeria. Finally, the result revealed that the illustrative photographs of tourists’ attraction sites were properly profiled for easy viewing and understanding which heightens the promotion of tourism in Rivers State, Nigeria.                                      

                                       

Keywords: Photography, Illustrative Medium, Tourism

 

Introduction

One thing that keeps a nation, state, institution or individual moving is the economic strength and stability of such a nation, state, institution or individual as the case may be. Nigeria rose to be the giant of Africa when she was swimming in the ocean of oil boom and exerting leadership role in every sector of African society; politically, economically, socially and  culturally. Similarly, Rivers State was elevated to the lofty height as the “treasure base of the nation”; reason be that oil and gas were extracted in greater quantity thereby placing her as the most contributor of economy of the nation, also standing prominent in the committee of states. The nation and the state however were running mono-economy, never realized to save for the rainy day or diversify their economy. The global economic down turn did not exclude Nigeria. Now that the reality of the economic recession is glaring, both the individual, institution, state and the nation have resorted to be self reliant in order to overcome the recession.

 

Self reliance means the ability of an individual, institution, state or nation to take care of its own affairs and needs without depending on external body or country for assistance. Rivers state is endowed with abundant natural resources such as many rivers that border its territory, within are mangrove swamps with aquatic lives and abundant vegetation for agricultural produce. Rivers people are highly friendly and hospitable with very rich and unique cultural heritage. The people come from various ethnic nationalities namely; Abua, Andoni, Ekpeye, Engenni, Etche, Ibani, Ikwerre, Kalabari, Ndoni, Okrika, Ogoni etc and are currently distributed in twenty three local government areas of the state. They however differ culturally with unified geographical tie that binds them together, Cometonigeria Staff (2011).

Port Harcourt the state capital is Nigeria’s second largest commercial and agricultural centre and has a second busiest seaport in Nigeria. A close study of the strategic position and great endowment of Rivers State in Nigeria nation indicate that she has several possible means to generate her economy in other to take care of her own affairs and needs. One of such possible means that had been neglected all along in the state of course with huge viable economic prospect is tourism promotion. Tourism is a term derived from the parent word “tour” meaning travelling. According to dictionary meaning, tour is a journey for pleasure in which several places are visited. Tourism therefore, is a social, cultural and economic phenomenon which entails the movement of people to countries or places outside their usual environment for personal, business or professional purposes. These people are called visitors which may be either, tourists or excursionists, residents or non-residents and tourism has to do with their activities, some of which imply tourism expenditure (UNWTO 2008). The North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) created tourism industry and break it down into broad industry groups in alphabetical order    (i) Accommodation (ii) Food and beverage services commonly known as “F and B”. (iii) Recreation and entertainment (iv) transportation and (v) Travel services.

The above five industry groups are not alien to the state government. If they are given a boost through effective and efficient management with enabling environment to flourish in the state, the state will reap huge returns in the form of increment in the purse of government treasury within a limited period of time.

Tourism and photography are modern twins. Since its early invention, photography has associated with travelling. At a time when steamship and railways made the world physically more within reach, photography made it visually at hand (Larsen 2006). The author states further that tourism is one social practice that simultaneously shaped and was shaped by the “compulsive” photographic culture of cameras and images. Hence the tourist loves to track down and capture sets of photographic images which have already been seen in tour company brochures or television programmes for personal gratification. Against this background, this study investigates photography as illustrative medium in promoting tourism in Rivers State, Nigeria.

 

Statement of the Problem

The economy of the state is being challenged. The situation is biting hard both to the government and the citizens. The revenue of the state which comes from taxation of individuals, cooperate bodies, companies and the entire work force in the state is insufficient to tackle the needs of the people. This however, has led the state government to search for other possible means of raising fund for the state, since the derivation fund from the federation account has drastically slimmed down so much that every state makes effort to augment her federal share by looking inward to what she can do for herself to beef up her revenue strength.

Tourism promotion in the state is another means through which the state can have a robust economy. Howbeit, tourism has all along been neglected as a viable economic means in the state. This is because tourist attraction centres in the past were mismanaged and somewhat left in a state of decay. The redesigning of the city of Port Harcourt and facilities of tourist attractions scattered all over the state is a renewed assurance for tourism thrift. Photography as illustrative medium in promotion of tourism in the state will give a wider visibility to tourism through which the state economy will be strongly built.

 

The Purpose of the Study

The purpose of this study is to determine how photography as illustrative medium in promoting tourism in Rivers State, Nigeria will be achieved, and the effect to which tourism promotion via photography could have in the state economy. Specifically, the study tends to:

  1. Ascertain the role of photography as illustrative medium in promoting tourism in Rivers State.
  2. Determine the potentiality of visual images in arousing the interest of prospective tourists in promotion of tourism in the state.
  3. Ascertain the documentary role photography will play in tourism promotion in Rivers State.
  4. Profile illustrative photographs of tourist attractions that heightens tourism promotion in the state.

 

Significance of the Study

The significant of this study lies in the fact that photography as an aspect of visual arts could serve as vehicle for public exposure in promoting tourism in Rivers State. The study will also draw the attention of the state government on the viability of tourism to economic drive as well as employment agency in the state. The study will equally expose the rich cultural heritage of Rivers people and the aesthetically treasured tourist attraction centres, strategically located in Rivers State for global visibility, which will attract tourists all over the world to the state and increase the purse of government coffers. This study will remain a lasting documentation on tourism promotion in Rivers State, Nigeria. It would also widen the knowledge bank of tourism and photography as an offshoot of visual arts. Lastly, it will become a platform of reference in terms of development, and can also be replicated in any part of the world.

 

Scope of the Study

All the tourist attraction centers such as beaches, parks and gardens, public sculptures (monuments), recreational centers, et cetera across the length and breadth of Rivers State are due for coverage in this study. The appropriate use of photography for documentary of tourism industry in Rivers State will be covered so that the state will reap full benefit accruing from it.

 

Theoretical Framework

           Theory and research work harmoniously because they are closely related like two sides of a coin. One side complements the effort of the other in achievement of a common goal. While theory provides logical support to the study, research provides empirical (observational) support. It is based on this note that this work is predicated on “COMMUNICATION THEORY”, “art as communication”. Communication acts and events are multifarious. According to Hockett (1958), all behaviour even silence or repetition is communicative. The importance of communication for mankind is underscored by its necessity for inter-personal understanding, cooperation and survival. The kind of communication this study employs is characterized as visual, that is, the conveyance of ideas and massages through visual images. In prehistoric art, the primitive men communicated their ideas through art, drawing and painting. This was discovered in their dwellings; caves, rocks etc. Art as communication is a communication through art. Like most forms of communication such as verbal and written, art communication is mainly sight perception which disseminates information more effectively. Art as communication in its simple understanding, is a form of communication. As most forms of communication have an intent or goal directed toward another individual. Illustrative art such as photographic illustration is a form of art as communication. Mithen (1999) states that, “art is a set of artefacts or images with symbolic meaning as a means of communication”. Therefore, photographic illustrations will communicate effectively to prospective tourists in promotion of tourism in the state.

 

The Concept of Photography

      The word “Photography” is derived from two Greek words photo (light) and graphie (writing) which together literally means “writing with light” (Harpe, 2000; Saggers and Petterson, 2010). Photography is science as well as art. Photography operates within two opposing discourses, the art (aesthetics) and the science (reality), Larson (2006). The practice of creating durable images by recording light or other electromagnetic radiation, either electronically by means of image sensor or chemically by means of light sensitive material such as photographic film or memory card (Spenser, 1973). From inception, photography was used to capture large possible number of subjects which the subsequent industrialization of camera technology had made easier. This operation inherent in photography from its very beginning, to democratize all experiences by translating them into images today has become part and parcels of our daily life. The credit goes to the ongoing technological revolution that has made photography accessible to everyone and made it such user-friendly that anyone can take a beautiful photograph without knowing any of the technicalities (Gogoi, 2014).

Photography according to Ganagana (2014) is the medium by which an individual’s replica image is produced on a paper through a mechanical means. Through this, images, actions, scenes and episodes in human and material life are recorded and even kept for the future. He stated further that the advance form of photography have come through the invention of Hollywood cinematography. He added that it has become a necessity rather than a luxury for individuals to own a camera for photographing. Photography as Uzoagba, (2000) posits, is a picture made with camera. According to him, the word photography means “writing or drawing with light”. That is to say that a camera picture is a picture drawn with rays of light. The basic purpose of photography is to produce objects realistically, which goes a long way documenting such objects for future use. This is why photography is such an important documentary activity in tourism business.

 

        Illustrative medium of Photography

The dictionary meaning of the word “illustrate”- stands for providing a book et cetera with pictures. It also stands for making clear by using examples and so on or act as an example of: that is illustration (Hornby, 2015). Similarly, medium is defined as a means of doing or communicating something. The analogy of the above definitions, signify that photographs will be used in a compendium for tourism purposes. The phrase commonly cited “a picture worth a thousand words and a thousand words worth a picture” rightly fits in here. An illustrative photograph will speak volume in communicating to its audience, in this case “the tourists” in clearer terms those exciting cites of tourists’ interest to behold. The facilities that will make tourism experience memorable and enjoyable et cetera. Photographs of tourist attractions well illustrated will arouse the interest of a prospective tourist, therefore promotes tourism.

Photographic Recording Images 

Photography was invented in the mid 19th century and has been utilized by artists ever since. A camera records image onto film by using a shutter. Modern cameras have several features that help photographers control their result under widely varying conditions. There are many types of camera available. The commonly used type today is the advanced technological mass produced digital camera, Encarta (2009).

The expansion of photographic images in Newspapers, Magazines and Journals including all kinds of topics; photo journalism gradually became a means of artistic express in photography. Photographs serve as scientific evidence, conveyers of news, historical documents, works of art and records of personal/family life. Millions of people around the world own cameras and enjoy taking pictures, every year over ten million exposures are made with cameras. From such images, the public who could not actually travel themselves become familiar with exotic places and culture past and present. In photographic recording of images with digital camera, a digital camera owner displays back of the camera with its liquid crystal screen showing him the image being captured. Ones the shutter is snapped, images are stored on memory devices such as floppy disks or memory card; so that users can review the photograph they have taken and determine immediately if the image that is captured is what they want. If not, it could be deleted from the memory card instantly, for a better image to be taken for replacement. All reviewed here were sourced from Encarta, (2009).

 

Photography and Tourism

Tourism and Photography has been described as modern twins. This is as a result that photography has been associated with travelling as early as its invention. At the time steamship and railway brought the world closer, photographs made it visibly real, Larsen (2006). Photographs have become cheap mass produced objects that has made the world visible, aesthetics, desirable and has offered the world in limitless qualities, figures, landscapes, events which had not previously been utilized at all or used only as pictures for one customer (Osborne 2000). This in a way has transformed the perception of the world by turning it into a “society of spectacles” where circulating images over rides reality and reality becomes touristic, an item for visual consumption (Sontag, 1977).

Contemporary tourism is craftily constructed culturally, socially and materially through images and performances of photography. The tourism industry invests enormously in photographic images to choreograph desirable “place myths”, desiring bodies and photogenic places. It has become almost unthinkable to embark on holiday without taking the camera along, writing postcards and returning home with many snapshot memories. Thus, tourism is the social practice that simultaneously shaped and was shaped by the “compulsive” photographic culture of camera and images (Larsen, 2006). This is why the tourist moves to track down and capture sets of photographic images which have already been seen in tour company brochures or on television programmes for oneself. The end result is that travellers demonstrate that they really have been there by showing their version of the images that they had seen before they set off (Urry, 2002). Photography as prime commodity forms in tourism, the photographic image that promotes it in many instances the very item consumed – the advertisement has become its own commodity (Osborne, 2000). Photography and Tourism  composite an ensemble because photography has been crucial in constructing tourism’s visual nature of sightseeing as the objects and technology of camera, films and memory card have constituted the very nature of travel, as sites turn to sights (Urry, 2002).

   

 

Profile of the illustrative photographs for promotion of tourism in Rivers State

 

   Plate 1: Rivers State Museum                Pate 2: Port Harcourt Tourist Beach.

 

    Plate 3: Isaac Boro Park                Plate 4: Port Harcourt Polo Club.

 

Plate 5: Carnival Beauty Pageants              Plate 6: Port Harcourt Carnival

 

Plate 7: Canoe Regatta Display           Plate 8: Port Harcourt Pleasure Park

 

 

Plate 9: The Statute of King         Plate 10: LNG Boat in Bonny

Jaja of Opobo

                           

Plate 11: Kilimanjaro Eatery Home                  Plate 12: Finima Beach and Nature Park

  

 

 

Plate 13: Protea Hotel             Plate 14: Hotel President

 

 

Plate 15 a & b: Port Harcourt Zoological Garden

 

        Results 

Result revealed that the photograph of exotic sites of tourism interest in Rivers State were useful for global visibility as tourism attractions. The images which projected the rich cultural heritage/endowment of Rivers State will extensively promote tourism in the state. The power of photography in circulating images round the world has made reality visible, touristic and consumable. The attractiveness of visual imageries of the tourist sites in the photographs for prospective tourists to the state is potent enough to arouse the interest of prospective tourists to the state.  The facilities such as accommodation, feeding, recreation and entertainment, shopping, transportation and travelling services are exotically positioned to take care of every tourist to the state. It was also revealed that all the photographs of attraction sites for tourism served the documentary role of photography to tourism promotion in Rivers State. The documentary of photography stands as a lasting legacy for reference purposes, and makes Rivers State truly a tourist destination in Nigeria.    Finally, the result revealed that the illustrative photographs of tourists’ attraction sites were properly profiled for easy viewing and understanding which heightens the promotion of tourism in Rivers State, Nigeria.

   

        Conclusion

This paper has examined the economic disarray of Rivers State in relation to that of Nigeria which has made life difficult to live. Rivers State has alternative means of adjustment through tourism promotion whereby photography as illustrative medium is capable of promoting tourism in the state. As a matter of fact, the study has fully explored the subject based on the following sub-headings, viz: Introduction, theoretical framework which is predicated on “communicative theory”, i.e. “Art as communication” based on sight perception. Concept of photography derived from Greek words “photo” (light) and graphine (writing) when combined meaning “writing with light”. It is the creation of durable images by recording light electronically by means of image sensor of a camera. The illustrative medium of photography by utilizing pictures of tourist attraction in promoting tourism in the state. Photographic recording images through snap shut, images are stored on memory device to be used at any time. Photography and tourism are modern twins that associated together with travelling. They have made the world visually at hand. Finally, profiling the illustrative photographs for promotion of tourism in Rivers State. However, the study has shown that photographic illustrative medium is feasible in promoting tourism in Rivers State. And all the goals set as objectives of the study were meritorious realized.

 

Recommendations 

This study recommends as follows:

  1. Rivers State Government should take a further step graciously to recognise public art and the artists who executes the work.
  2. Photographic art should be given a boost in visual art curriculum by addressing the issue of lack of photographic equipments and materials.
  3. The State should provide more tourist facilities in the state and provide also facilities of art exhibition within the tourist sites. This will give succour to the artists and enhance the revenue strength of the government.

       

 

References

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Sontag, S. (1977). On Photography: In Plato’s Cave. New York: Rosseta Books, LLC.

Spenser, D. A. (1973). The Focal Dictionary of Photographic Technologies. Focal Press Pd 454.

United Nation World Tourism Organization (UNWTO, 2008). Highlights. http://www.unwto.org/facts/eng/pdf/highlights/UNWTO_Highlights 08_en_HR.pdf

Urry, J. (2002). The Tourist Gaze. Second Edition. London: Sage.

Uzoagba, I. N. (2000). What an Artist Should Know About Photography. Third Edition, P. 195.

 

Published inNumber 2Volume 5