We had a great talk with Lucy Nkosi, Forbes Africa Art Director who will be judging the Spotlight Awards Corporate and Industrial Photography category. Read on to learn about her career path, expectations on the Awards, and more.
Production Paradise: You have been an Art Director for Forbes Africa for four years now. Could you give us some insight into your background and how you got to your position as an Art Director?
Lucy Nkosi: Growing up, I had always been fascinated by the publishing industry and had a growing passion to cultivate a distinctive career in the field. My career began five years ago when I joined Essentials magazine as a graphic design intern almost immediately after graduating from UJ with a BA (Communication Design) degree. At Essentials, I was introduced to the ever-changing world of print which further sparked my passion. Seven months later, I received an offer from Ballyhoo Media and took employment as a Junior Graphic Designer for the publications Nubian Bride, Joburg Style, Progressive Leader, and Business Update.
Over two years at Ballyhoo Media, I gained widespread knowledge on print production, industry trends, photography, fashion, and the rise of digital media. It was during this tenure that I enrolled at VEGA and completed a diploma in Digital Marketing. I believed that the publishing industry cannot fully thrive without taking into consideration the advancements that have been brought on by the digital age. In a simple act of trusting I resigned from Ballyhoo Media in 2017, and soon after joined Forbes Africa. My initial designation at the publication was Layout Artist for both Forbes Africa and Forbes Women Africa. With my knowledge of the industry and international trends, I was able to redirect the design of the publication by augmenting a more relatable and modern layout. This resulted in increased responsibilities which ultimately set in motion my promotion to Art Director of the publication.
Working at Forbes Africa has presented me with countless career-shaping opportunities. It has encouraged me to envisage my work as having significance in African media and a larger global community as well.
Production Paradise: Working in a magazine such as Forbes, could you tell us what has been your favorite project to work on, and why?
Lucy Nkosi: My favourite project to work on has always been Forbes Africa 30under30. As an Art Director, I’m responsible for the visual communication style. This specific project allows me to explore my creativity while ensuring that the stories in the magazine are communicated effectively and in line with the brand. With this project, I’m also able to collaborate with other individuals within the creative industry, specifically photographers and stylists. Conceptualizing 30under30 covers and ensuring that the vision the team and I may have comes to life is extremely gratifying. It’s a process of generating ideas, seeing what works, and learning from what doesn’t work. It challenges my creativity and ability to ensure that the end product is relatable to Africa but is also in line with international trends. With each project I’ve learned that it is important to have a good relationship with people, especially those I’m in collaboration with, to ensure that everyone thrives and gives their best work.
Production Paradise: It is your first time judging in the Spotlight Awards, as a Corporate & Industrial judge, what are you expecting to see in this competition?
Lucy Nkosi: As a Corporate and Industrial judge, I’m expecting to see well-composed and captivating imagery from the talent participating in the competition. I’d like to see a grand demonstration of art direction and a unique approach to corporate and industrial photography. I expect the judged imagery to effectively communicate the photographers’ point strikingly. In essence, I’d like to see an exceptional expression of talent and creativity taking into consideration all the fundamental elements that make a winning photo.
Production Paradise: How important are online platforms for finding new talent? What platforms do you use to scout new photographers?
Lucy Nkosi: Online platforms are an integral part of finding and recruiting new talent. Such platforms equip creatives with the ease of sharing their portfolios of work and skills to be noticed by potential employers and clients. Those seeking new talent can do so effectively through online platforms which provide them with a broad directory of creatives that extends across the globe. It’s an efficient entry point to access new talent. The more exposure you receive online, the higher your chances of being scouted. Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter have been extremely advantageous for me and my team when scouting new photographers. There is so much talent out there!
Production Paradise: In what way do you think the Production Paradise Spotlight Awards could benefit photographers?
Lucy Nkosi: As much as the rise of online platforms has given photographers the ease of sharing their work with the world, it still can be challenging for them to be seen and respectfully acknowledged. Having contests such as Production Paradise Spotlight Awards allows for photographers to receive the recognition they deserve and encourages them to continue to create and improve their work. This contest allows for photographers to receive the desired exposure to potential employers and clients. It also allows for photographers to, in some way, advance their careers through the connections they make and exposure to other types of photography which they had never thought to explore before.
We thank Lucy for taking the time to speak to us; now you know how to catch this judge’s eye, pick your best corporate and industrial shots and enter the Spotlight Awards!