Empower emerging artists with access to technology

Benita Nnachortam is a Nigerian photographer, entrepreneur and activist. Through her business, Ben Teller Media, she uses art to promote social values and foster economic development in her community.

A folder titled Ben Teller Media with four images.

By Lara Hillard

Like many young girls growing up in a typical Igbo-Nigerian home, Benita Nnachortam was taught by her parents that art is not a career path – merely a hobby at best. 'It was hammered into my brain throughout my childhood that art would lead me to poverty,' she recalls. It was a big gamble to pursue photography, but with a lot of hard work and access to the right technology, Benita was able to turn her passion into a profession.

Benita Nnachortam sits in a field.

Inspiration through technology

Benita initially followed her parents’ wishes and attended college to study international law and diplomacy. Her father gave her a smartphone to stay connected while she was away from home. His gift would inspire Benita to choose a different path, though, as she experimented with the Nokia C7 camera, taking photos of her friends, travels and daily life. 'I knew exactly why I had to capture the moment,' she says. Through the lens of her camera-phone, Benita saw a whole world of purpose, and pursuing a photography career began to take focus. 

Benita’s big break came when she landed a job with the creative agency DisruptDNA. As the only female photographer on a team of eight, she documented people’s lives all around Nigeria for Diamond Bank. Over 46 days, the team visited 28 cities in 18 different states. This trip shaped the way Benita interacted with her art and showed her how photography could be a vehicle for social change.

Four files and folders are in a Dropbox folder.
Three photos upload into Dropbox.

Physical distance, not an issue

Benita eventually started her own company, Ben Teller Media. As her jobs continued to take her further afield and her portfolio and team grew in size, she needed an easy place to store and share her photos. Working with clients and creatives all around Nigeria, Benita relies on cloud storage to organise her photos, keep them accessible and collaborate with her team and clients while traveling. With Dropbox, she could 'share thoughts, briefs, pin ideas, comment on photos and more, making physical distance not an issue,' she says.
Eight photos created by Benita Nnachortam, saved in Dropbox.
After on-location shoots, Benita often has to quickly select the best images, deliver previews to clients and share them with her team for additional post-production work – all while being far from her studio. 'Dropbox Transfer lets me deliver large files to clients, and I’ll use shared folders when working with teammates.' Since she syncs files on her MacBook with her Android phone using the desktop and mobile apps, she can give clients real-time previews from any device and share high-quality photos instantly.
Files and folders in the Dropbox web app and the Dropbox mobile app.
She loves using Dropbox Paper to tag photos of models, comment on images, share mood boards and attach links to working documents for her team. 'It keeps projects organised and on schedule without distance being a barrier,' says Benita. 'Working in Dropbox Paper saves time and gets everyone on the same page.'
A Dropbox Paper doc with a to do list, images and a comment from a user.

Voices of the community

As her job connected her to more people from all walks of life, Benita realised how 'it only takes one photo to have a cascading effect within a community. Photographs have the power to make real change in the world.' Building on her company’s success, Benita established Kuta Art Foundation, a youth-focused art community in Abeokuta, Ogun State, Nigeria. 'Kuta was born out of the need to inspire young adults in our community to make the most of their creative talents by giving them a platform to learn, share and impact their world through the arts.'

The foundation is currently working on funding a community art centre where young people can collaborate, learn from industry experts and access professional equipment. 'Having the right tools provides a chance for the ordinary person to have a voice,' says Benita. 'It gives room to save everyday moments that we deeply cherish.'

Keep building

Kuta Art Foundation is still growing and relies largely on Benita’s personal funds and even her business profits to stay running. She loves how Dropbox can easily accommodate her growth, whether as an individual, with her team or as a company. 'I won’t have to suddenly uproot or disrupt my workflow because my company or I need more business tools or storage space,' says Benita.

Instead, Dropbox seamlessly scales as her business grows. Far from the world of international law and diplomacy, Benita plans to continue expanding Ben Teller Media and Kuta Art Foundation and developing nonprofits. And contrary to what her parents envisioned, photography has not led her to a life of poverty. In fact, she’s using her success to empower emerging artists and arm them with the technology they need to reach their own goals.

Three people look at a computer screen.

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