A self-taught photographer Michael Aboya who dropped out of school after suddenly losing his father, beat out 130,000 competitors from nearly 200 countries to win the best photo of 2019 in the recently completed Agora Awards.
Aboya was born and raised in Nigeria. When he turned 13, he moved to his father's homeland, Ghana. His passion for photography began in 2014 when he was studying software programming. His father suddenly died due to cancer, and Aboya realised that life was too short to spend doing something you that you don't enjoy. He, therefore, decided to quit school altogether.
With his tuition savings, Aboya bought his first professional camera and started taking photos. His purpose: to change how people perceive Ghana and the African continent. He is now a 4-time global award-winning photographer. His latest win: Best Photo of 2019 for his photograph titled "Songs of Freedom".
"I believe that when Black and Indigenous People of Colour tell their own stories, they can present the country and continent differently to the world, showing the love, peace, and harmony, and making the bright side a little bit more, putting the dark side behind it. I created this image to emphasize the fact that we have the power to free ourselves from any form of mental, physical, spiritual and emotional captivity," the 24-year old Aboya said, continuing, "with the prize money, I’ll be able to invest into my photography by getting gears I need. I’ll invest into learning videography, putting my visions into moving pictures, visiting new places I have never been to capture the beautiful people and their colourful stories, support my family and give back to the community of youths."
The Agora Awards 2019 competition was hosted by free-to-use photography app Agora.