Your address will show here +12 34 56 78
Twenty-eight-year-old Kureng Dapel went from being a welder, mechanic, bulldozer driver and theatre arts student to becoming Nigeria’s most talked about underwater photographer. He spoke to Daily Trust on Sunday about photographing at Yankari Games Reserve and his other exploits with the camera.
Underwater photography: I didn’t envisage the reactions – Kureng
Kureng Dapel

How did you become interested in taking photos?
My life as a photographer started with my father, Mr. Ronald Dapel, unfortunately he passed on before I found my feet in the industry. He was a photographer, so it’s natural to say he passed on those DNA traits to his son.
I discovered this beautiful gift in 2008 when I noticed an uncontrollable attraction to a device called a ‘camera.’ Luckily, my very first gear was handed over to me by Pastor Esther Ibanga. I volunteered in her multimedia organisation.
I was excited and eager and swung into action immediately. I began by exploring my immediate surroundings including my family members. I’d hounded them constantly and gladly they accepted to be my canvas. They wanted it printed or done with some graphics. I’d shoot anything and everything I could find. 
Then, I limited the power of what was in my hands, an eight megapixels Canon until I met Lawrence Olalekon. He was the window of opportunity I had. Where others had to pay a fortune to learn, he tutored me and laid that perfect foundation I’ve now built upon.

What did you do before going into photography?

It was really tough in the beginning. I didn’t think I had any talents or unique qualities that I could develop. I did all sorts of jobs including welding, being a mechanic and even driving a bulldozer. I got into the University of Jos and studied Theatre and Film Arts and now photography.

Underwater photography can be really expensive to get into and it’s rare, especially in this clime to run across photographers who go into shooting underwater. How did you start?

Humbly, my work gets a lot of attention. I’ve put so much personal work into building myself as a professional photographer.
Just because one is referred to by many as a ‘master of photography’ doesn’t mean it’s a title. Rather, to me, it’s a sense of responsibility. You’ve got to live up to people’s expectations. This means constant challenge.
 The underwater shoot sprung up as an idea from a group of people who sought to do more in our respective fields and be better at what we do. So team KJV comprising of Jaru (Makeup/Stylist), Vera (Model), and myself decided to try it out.
Next was getting the perfect gear which I didn’t have. Fortunately, a friend and co-photographer, Ditomatic, had just acquired one. Then it was time to search for “the” perfect location.
It got better. Now this project wasn’t about showcasing our skills alone, instead we sought to tell a story while changing the perception of people living outside the northern parts of Nigeria.
Yankari Game Reserve sounded perfect. It has the warm spring called ‘Wikki Warm Spring.’ So we jetted off and the result is what you see.

Please share the experience?

It was the most difficult shoot I have done. We used the most basic of gadgets and improvised a lot. It was Vera’s idea that we did the underwater shoot even though she was the only one without goggles. The shoot took hours because we kept coming out of the water to view the photos. We couldn’t do that in the water. Sometimes there would be so much water in the camera, we’d have to come out and let it dry. Even Vera’s costume was curtain we borrowed from the Yankari staff and Jaru did her magic and turned it into that outfit. There was a lot of improvising but we got great results. 

What was your first underwater photography setup?
This is my very first under water shoot.
Aperture or shutter priority, what are your base or default settings on your camera when you get in the water?

Not just for an underwater shoot, my default settings are always on manual mode. Then I set my ISO, aperture and shutter speed.
For the underwater shoot, of course I used the manual, setting my ISO on AUTO, since I was underwater plus the weather went from sunny to cloudy within moments.
With a lot of movement, my shutter speed was set on 250 to 300 so that I wouldn’t have blurred images. Aperture on wide and lens on F10. It’s very important you use a wide angle lens staying very close to your subject

What gear do you use now and is there any gear you have your eye on that you haven’t pulled the trigger on yet?

Basically, I use a canon camera with a 50MM sigma 1.4 and a 35MM at 1.4. I always tell people it’s not about the camera but the person behind the camera, the best camera is the one that you have.
I’m pleasantly surprised by how people are amazed with my photos. They find it hard to believe it’s achieved with the barest and most minimal effort. The secret lies in improvisation. With that, you can achieve anything.

When did you realize that this was something you wanted to do in a professional capacity?

An opportunity presented its self in 2009 when a relative had just opened a makeup studio and needed some professional shots with models, and that was it. I took on the challenge, rented an extra camera and got my first pay cheque. 

How much was it? 
I don’t quite remember. But the first photograph I sold was for N50 even though it cost me N200 to produce it. I wanted to give the client quality. 

You shoot almost exclusively colour for your professional portfolio, why is that? Are you ever tempted to keep a photo in black and white instead?

Everyone has a style of photography they like to focus on. For me it depends on the object being shot. Besides, the world wasn’t created in black and white, look around. It’s an amazing canvas with lots of colours.
That doesn’t mean I don’t shoot black and white photos. They say the simplest of things are the most complicated. These styles of photos look plain but carry so much emotions and information.
Ultimately, black and white to me defines what photography is all about, which is painting with light, exactly what black and white does. Metaphorically, it says no to racism because thinking about it, it doesn’t show the colour, what you see is a wonderful picture.

What does your post-processing routine look like?

I love to work with loud music, the picture, light room and my beloved Photoshop.

Where do you draw your inspiration from?
From God and nature. I learn balance from nature, especially with composition. The elements which make my compositions believable lie in that co-relationship between man and nature.

What does your typical workday look like?
 Does work ever cease? Most times it’s buzzing from sun up till sun down. Editing takes the most of my work hours because I spend a lot of time on one picture especially when retouching. Photoshop compositions take more time though, which involves creating the environment and giving that surreal look.
Yes, if I’m asked to summarize my achievements my goals, four words – ‘Jos to the world.’
I would want to take photography to the next level, to be known and recognized internationally. Ultimately, I’d want to go as far as possible and be in a place where my work inspires others to be creative.
For me it’s all about the mindset not about owning the most expensive gears. Block by block builds a mansion right? We’ve got to learn to be content with our current situations while working on the bigger picture.

Any projects in the works, or specific goals for your photographic career?
I’m developing a series which involves tourism exploration in Nigeria. The underwater shoot is a start and we’re hoping to do more with other discovered and undiscovered locations.

Where are your favourite photography locations?
Nigeria is an amazing place besides all that the media paints. I can’t say anyone particular place because everywhere I have been has offered something beautiful and different from the previous location.


Fire!  Where ever my demons are gathering Holy Ghost  Fire Pursue Them! lol  (sorry i could not just hold it in anymore).

Kurengworkx is an awesome creative and he has the best team in the country, it seems like he is just getting started and he is taking the whole of Nigeria on this awesome journey, when your government is doing nothing about their tourism image, you have to do something,  and Kurengworkx and his team are obviously doing something.

This time around he is showing us a little bit of Jos, Plateau State Nigeria.  With a focus on fire, a beautiful but dangerous sight to behold.

And yes, no Photoshop was involved, its all in the angles, makeup, styling, and the right kind of fire.


Knowing that you have a camera worth millions is a wonderful feeling but knowing how to take amazing picture with a point and shoot camera is life changing.


Team members include  Titus Ubandoma, Lizzie Jankanwa, Parua, Leo Davou, Amin Muhanmed, Mili Manga, Uchennaya Onwukeme, Paul Izam , Kureng Dapel.


More on Instagram


kureng workx africa photo rising

By now you all know him as the photographer that shot those beautiful underwater pictures at the Bauchi State Yankari Game Reserve.   I can proudly say KurengWorkx is now an Award winning photography brand in Nigeria, and a big congratulation to the entire team. Just recently KurengWorkx launched a studio in the city of Jos, Plateau State.  And weeks later, was announced the overall winner of a photo contest, African Rising Photo contest, taking the lead photograher (kureng) to Arusha, Tanzania for the AiR Project. Other awards include the 2017 best photographer on the Plateau the WHOISWHO Award.

See below the picture that won the African Rising Photo contest

Kureng Dapel – Nigeria





Future works coming soon (African Queens)

With the opportunities and exposure gotten from the award, Kureng was able to work with some African artist in Tanzania and some other countries on a project called African Queens.  The Kenyan version of the project was about Mnyazi wa Menza (Mekatilili Wa Menza) (or Makatilili) was a Kenyan woman leader, who led the Giriama people in a rebellion against the British Colonial Administration and policies actively in 1913 – 1914.

While the Nigerian version is about Queen Amina, a Hausa Muslim Warrior Queen of Zazzau (now Zaria), in what is now north west Nigeria. The motive behind the project is to show that women can be independent and trail blazers of the society.  While shining a torch light especially on the northern part of Nigerian where women are not allowed to fully be in control of their lives.

You can checkout the team members for African Queens on Instagram.  @rich_allela @kurengworkx @emsquared_photography @ceciliaouko @_natasha_boella @sharylapondi @sharonallela @bellabwora @d_emois @miss_miona and that gorge horse.


africa queens kureng , allela


From the bowels of Kenya, a prophesy about British oppression had gone ahead. What also followed was that the savior would be a woman. No one guessed that it would be Mnyazi wa Menza, an only girl among 5 children, born to poor parents in Mutsara wa Tsatsu, a village of the Giriama sometime between 1840 and 1860. The little girl had no idea as well until she became an eye-witness to the capture of one of her brothers by the Arabs in the market place. The rage and dissatisfaction was only fueled when the British colonial masters arrived the sacred Giriama of Kenya and marched right on to threaten the values of the Giriama people; pushing it right to the verge of erosion. The culture, norms and values of her people were to be replaced with British policies and ordinances. But this was unacceptable to the young woman whom the birth of her son katilili had christened Mekatilili (Mother of Katilili). It didn’t matter who stood as the tower against her, she was ready to fight and tear out her people from the jaws of the British colonial lions.

africa queens kureng , allelaafrica queens kureng , allela

Despite the fact that numerous ideologies from time immemorial have oppressed, caged, trodden, abused and discriminated against the woman and her core, gender inequality has also provoked her to be referred to as one who is to be seen and not heard and to crown it all, cultural moves, beliefs and practices in the world at large and in Africa particularly, have justified this unnatural behavior.
Gratefully, women like Mekatilili of Kenya have been bold enough to step forward, rising beyond the embargo placed on them by society to express their inner strength and worth.

africa queens kureng , allela

The fact that she was a young widow without a man to stand up for and protect her should have deterred her but she harnessed and embraced it, preferring to see it as a breath of freedom to travel and speak for the emancipation of her people.
She was a woman of many qualities and these became her tools. Her exceptional prowess in both oratory and the kifudu dance which was a funeral dance garnered many admirers who turned followers. When the need arose she conscripted them to become her army of fighters against the brutal colonial masters. Many of them were women but their gender wasn’t an impediment because they drew strength from their Mekatilili.

africa queens kureng , allelaafrica queens kureng , allela

She made Wanje wa Mwadori Kola; a notable traditional medicineman her ally. He helped in organizing a large meeting at Kaya Fungo and together, they administered the deadliest oaths: the mukushekushe among the women and Fisi among the men. The oaths helped them keep sacred creed never to cooperate with the British in any form whatsoever or die. Together, they went to war with their courage and trust in the singular course of freedom.

africa queens kureng , allela

Her exile on 17th October 1913 together with her ally by the colonial oppressors to Mumias in Western Province only functioned as a necessary retreat for Mekatilili. She is said to have escaped and trekked about 1, 000km with Mwadori through the dangerous forests, back to Giriama to continue the fight right where she had stopped. This instilled fear in the colonial master thus, she was recaptured but, this instigated the uprising of October 25, 1914.

africa queens kureng , allela

Although the British had the upper hand, they were unable to gain total control and eventually, yielded to the demands of the Giriama people.
Many may frown at the insinuation that she is a preserver of life but a close look at the mere fact that she is a carrier of the seed that blooms into a human being is proof enough. The woman is thus to be preserved. In the case of Kenya’s Mekatilili, it is within her bowels that the seed of freedom is birthed and she stopped at nothing to ensure that the freedom of the Giriama people came to be even though she was far away in the Northern parts of Kenya. Five years later, Mekatilili returned again from her second exile.

africa queens kureng , allelaafrica queens kureng , allela

africa queens kureng , allela

She was indeed a warrior and one would imagine that her outspoken nature in the battle ground would generally define her. But it’s almost ironical that she enjoyed a very private and quiet life in her home when she wasn’t about the business of freeing her people from the clutches of colonialism or holding leadership positions among the Baraza, Hifudu or Makushekushe. She was womanly in every sense of the word and cared so much for her immediate family, providing basic home needs and dutifully performing wifely responsibilities to her husband Dyeka wa Duka until he died.
Although she died in 1924, and was buried in Bungale, in Magarini Constituency, Malindi District, her heart beats on, inspiring many simply because the woman has been built to be the guardian of the flame of life, virtues and values; the active and total expression of her innate worth in its entirety spells preservation of life and core human and societal values. Her life represents the strength of womanhood and inspires African women to RISE above the inequality and discrimination saddled around their necks.

africa queens kureng , allelaafrica queens kureng , allelaafrica queens kureng , allela

Post Written by: Mfon Abigail
• Rich Allela(Kenya) -
• Dapel Kureng(Nigeria) -

• Michelle Ngoje -

• Erick Mochache –

• Sharyl Apondi:
• Natasha Boella:
• Naomi Wamalwa:
• Sharon Allela:
• Cecilia Ouko:
• Priscilla Kabiru:
• Bella Bwora:

• Sybril Atemo –
• Mike Mutua –

• Bomas of Kenya –
• Achi Horse Riding School –
• Pro Tisa Creations –


Awom kenneth
– Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
– Afro Tourism City Icon – Mekatilili Wa Menza, Kenya.


Photographers @rich_allela and @kurengdapel are finally getting the recognition they deserved.  And CNN Africa is their newest fan, after seeing pictures of their latest project African Queen. That revisit the African history and resurrect an African Icon, Mnyazi wa Menza aka Mekatelili, a woman known for her fierceness and resistance of colonial rule in Kenya with this stunning imagery.

See The Story on CNN

See more



• Rich Allela(Kenya)
• Dapel Kureng(Nigeria)


• Michelle Ngoje

• Erick Mochache

• Sharyl Apondi
• Natasha Boella
• Naomi Wamalwa
• Sharon Allela
• Cecilia Ouko
• Priscilla Kabiru
• Bella Bwora

• Sybril Atemo
• Mike Mutua

• Bomas of Kenya
• Achi Horse Riding School
• Pro Tisa Creations


Awom kenneth

Mfon Abigail


Is has been said somewhere in the book of times that Kureng and team Kurengworkx are the guardians of photography, period.


Kureng had this to say about the motive behind this project.

From time immemorial, the pervading name tag as it relates to Africanism and the response to westernization or what many would prefer to refer to as ‘civilization’ has always been Culture Clash.
However, for the Maasai people of East Africa, another tag has been given them. The external gaze has always been that they are a people who prefer to stay away from civilization and ‘all’ the technological advancements that come with it. They are gazed as backward, afraid and unflinching towards all that defines the evolving 21st century world and are thus unwilling to relate with it. Infact, they have been termed ‘Technophobic’.

As the winner of the 2017 African Rising Photography Competition, I was afforded the opportunity to travel the very lands of Kenya and as such chose to embark on an exploration of the Maasai people, just to gaze at them through my own lenses. I hoped to uncover for myself the assertions about the Maasai in these regards. I found out that the Maasai had a reverse memory of all that ensued between their community and their people during the colonial era. They believe that westerners invaded their space and deconstructed their sovereignty thereby bringing division amongst them. The presence of the colonizers also instigated the death of countless Maasai people.

For this reason, the inherent Maasai gaze has always been to be aware, learn and utilize all that comes as time progresses and all that there is about technological advancement, but, to never get entangled with it to the point that the core of the Maasai culture is lost or termed as irrelevant. To this people, their culture is priceless!
This realization of the Maasai belief system informed my own gaze towards them. I saw with my eyes how they were able to not just come in contact with technology but adequately handle the machines from contemporary times. The Maasai have even learnt to create their own clean energy. Even one of the oldest amongst them exploited these gadgets with the best ease a man his age would muster. This unique perspective as it concerns culture is what I offer the world. The Maasai are not a technophobic people.

Nevertheless, I learnt these:
• We must learn to make that clear cut difference between westernization as it brings with it many technological advancements and our Africanness as a people. We must never discard one for the other or soon. We would remain archaic or lost in our approach towards life if we ignore technological advances. Or, our culture, tradition, norms and beliefs that define us as a people, will become extinct and lost from the map of life and existence if we grab too tightly to westernization.
• Again, despite the invasion into our African territories, we must cease to see western culture as ultimate and superior.
• We must rise above the mental slavery as the Maasai people have.


Amazing Composition Photos By Nigerian Photographer Kureng Workx
The digital age is definitely here to stay!

The invention of photography has been traced back to the early 1800 when Thomas Wedgwood made the first known attempt to capture the image in a camera obscura by means of a light-sensitive substance. Since then its only gotten better and easier.

So let me present a scenario: You book for a photo session with your local photographer. A few days to your appointment he calls to inform you about a location for the shoot and also throws in some suggestions for wardrobe. In your minds eye you go ‘but its just an ordinary photo shoot.” But because he’s your friend and you trust him, you sluggishly go with his request.

At the scene, you’re given awkward positions as poses and made to stay still for only God knows how many painful minutes, and God help you that’s the moment when your nostrils begin to tickle and you just cant scratch it. You’re wondering whats going on in his mind and the outcome of your session.

A few days later you get an email from him with your package delivered and the outcome:


Kureng 1




You go ballistics in the office, your colleagues run in to check up on you only to see an over grown adult smiling like he’d just been handed a lolly pop! Your photographer made your day, you didn’t expect it. Simply put, ‘He blew your mind away.’

Meet Nigeria’s budding photographer Kureng Dapel of Kureng Workx Photography. He’s taking Composition in photography to another level.

Kureng 2




He calls the first the first portrait “Fallen Angel.” It depicts the fall of the first angles banished from heaven who became the curse giants to first roam the surface of the earth.

The second he calls it “Dancing in the rain.” Instead being angry with the heavy down pour, take a minute and soak it in and possibly drop everything and just dance in the rain. When was the last time you did that?

And finally, “The Chronicles of Queen Amina.” The Hausa warrior queen of Zazzau.

Kureng 3