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Renaissance man

Nana Akatora is a photographer, athlete and aspiring doctor

By Myava Mitchell - Echo staff reporter
On February 27, 2013

The day becomes night. The street lights illuminate the city. The pavement is absent of life. In the eyes of a photographer, this is the perfect moment to capture.

Nana Atakora agrees.

Atakora, a biology senior at N.C. Central University, is an aspiring doctor and a gifted photographer.  Not many have heard of such an interesting combination.

"I've never heard of a doctor being a photographer, but I respect that he wants to help people but is also willing to show his creativity," said mass communication senior Nagil Johnson.

He is quite versatile in the photography field. He photographs city skylines along with fashion, graduations, weddings and birthday parties.

Atakora said his interest in photography started in high school. He took a digital and film class that enhanced his curiosity outside of school. Atakora said he practiced with a Nikon D40 camera. By Jan. 2013, he began experimenting with lighting when he upgraded to a Nikon D5100 digital camera.

"The more I practiced, the better I got and the more compliments I received," said Atakora.

These compliments prompted Atakora to start his own business, Nikonnana.

He has taken graduation and student government association pictures, built model portfolios and has even shot some videos for upcoming artists and designers on campus.

Atakora said he is sure to keep affordable prices for college students.

"He's my roommate, so I see him practicing every day and notice that he's very dedicated to his craft," said mass communication senior Thomas Leak. "I've done a shoot with him before and despite our friendship, he was very professional and had a creative eye."

Yet, his love and dedication to photography takes away from school and another love of his: Track.

Atakora has been a track star since middle school. He was the second best in the state in high school leading him to a partial scholarship to NCCU. He's now the MEAC champion, bringing home a gold medal for finishing first in the men's triple jump. His athletic talents continue with cross-country, wrestling, soccer and football.

"My love for track is different than my love for photography; with track it's the competitiveness, but photography relieves stress," said Atakora.

Neither one of his loves can compete with his future profession as an anesthesiologist. He said he plans to attend medical school after graduation and that his passion for photography will be secondary.

"I may sometimes come off as egotistical but the truth is I love photography and take the time to really understand what was going on and listen to people with experience," said Atakora.

Atakora is one of many students who have the initiative to get a head start on success. With ambition as strong as his track record, Atakora shows no sign of slowing down any time soon.

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