Willem Vrey, Omeho Project partner to demystify startup entrepreneurship
Local photographer, Willem Vrey has been selected through a competitive application process to partner with Omeho Project to capture the spirit of startup entrepreneurship in Windhoek.
The Omeho Project will produce a series of captivating portraiture and documentary photography about the everyday lives of entrepreneurs and stylized photography to represent the contemporary and urban side of Africa. The project demystifies startup entrepreneurship locally and diversifies the imagery of Africa for the West.
The talented Vrey won a competitive application process and will play a critical role in designing the way startup founders in Namibia are portrayed.
“Vrey’s photograph submissions were technically flawless, and portrait photography is his signature. Vrey really knows how to capture his subjects’ personality and will do a great job in documenting Namibian startups,” said Toufic Beyhum, award-winning creative and photographer and the Creative Advisor for Omeho Project.
“The technology-based startup entrepreneurship is transformative to the economy but this is yet not well understood by the general public” said Mark Mushiva, one of the judges for the selection panel. “We need the local businesses, government and consumers to wake up to the economic potential startups can have, and that starts with awareness of who the local entrepreneurs are and the work they do. This project can help with that.”
Disney Andreas, a social entrepreneur, said she was intrigued by the different visions all the applicant photographers took in capturing the spirit of entrepreneurs, but she was particularly drawn to Willem Vrey’s work because it truly captures female startup founders in Africa in its simplest form.
“It is refreshing to witness photography at its best in a society that does not have a clear visual representation of how startup culture looks and feels like,” Andreas said.
Vrey has over a decade of experience in photography working with clients such as individuals, businesses both large and small, NGOs and governments. The work has taken Vrey all around the world, and has allowed him to be part of celebrations and events. He describes himself to be a storyteller at heart and thinks that a mark of a successful photograph is whether it tells a story.
“With the image of the model at Café Prestige I wanted to share the story of an entrepreneur who is excitedly pitching their business idea to a potential business partner or perhaps an investor”, explained Vrey.
Vrey’s work will form the basis of a digital photo bank, a social media campaign and an upcoming exhibition in Namibia.
Auri Evokari, project coordinator for the Omeho Project said the project will continue to Lusaka and Cape Town during the upcoming year.
“We will aim to organize an exhibition with the photos in Finland, too, and maybe even publish them in a coffee table book,” Evokari said.
Turipamwe, a multidisciplinary design agency, will continue to partner with Omeho Project advising on the communication, exhibition and book design.
“We are partnering with Omeho Project in-kind because we truly believe in its ability to impact the future. It shapes people’s understanding of valuable new businesses that create jobs in Namibia”, says Tanya Stroh, founder and creative director of Turipamwe.
Chantal Claassen, the co-founder of Dololo DoBox and a judge on the panel, agrees that the Namibian technology startup ecosystem will benefit from more role models solving real problems and adding real value.