Oggi Ogburn – “The Entertainer’s Photographer”

With a career that has spanned three decades, photographer Oggi Ogburn is still one of the hardest working men in showbiz. His exhibit, Backstage Pass, opened Nov. 6 and is currently on display at the Northwest Activities Center, located at 18100 Meyers Road and will run through Dec. 1. Featuring some of the most brilliant and dramatic black-and-white stills, this exhibit is as much testimony as it is documented history.

On Nov. 5 and 6, lovers of music, art and photography were treated to an up close and personal experience as Ogburn shared stories of his journey as a photographer. “I have been fortunate and blessed to have photography find me. My sister gave me my first camera, a friend gave me my first job, and the first photograph of a musician I took was of Roberta Flack, which led to me gaining backstage access to the entertainment industry. Through these various blessings, I have been able to create what I like to call employment of enjoyment. I tell people all the time, if you work at doing something you truly love you will never work another day in your life,” he said during the exhibit’s opening reception.

Humble and gracious, Oggi Ogburn talked at length about his backstage experiences with artists such as Earth, Wind and Fire; Detroiters Anita Baker and The Temptations. It was his chance meeting with the late Dr. Chancellor Williams, renowned author of The Destruction of Black Civilization, however, that he describes as life-changing. “Chancellor Williams was the man; he helped me understand the power and majesty of our history. Reading his work gave me a deeper appreciation for myself and our people. The things I learned from him are reflected in my photography,” he said, standing in front of a photo of Dr. Chancellor Williams, Dr. John Henrik Clarke, and Dr. Ben Jochannan.

Guests entered the room with a sense of wonderment and surprise as they took in the exhibit. “I am amazed at his work. This is a real history lesson. All of these people came through Detroit at some point in their careers. He has a great eye for the feminine energy. He captured the women here at some of their most powerful moments,” said Courtney Johnson, a second grade teacher at Thurkel Elementary School. “This exhibit brought back a lot of childhood memories. It’s very nostalgic,” added Marvalisa Coley, a Detroit painter.

In addition to his awe-inspiring photography, Ogburn displayed original backstage passes that allowed him unfettered access to some music industry giants.

“I am so proud of my brother. He’s not just a photographer, he’s a true historian,” said Robert Ogburn, as he stood in front of an exhibit that featured Michael Jackson, Janet Jackson and Whitney Houston in the prime of their lives and careers.

Prints from Backstage Pass may be purchased while the exhibit is on display. The prices range from $300 –$1,000 — quite a bargain for what can only be described as high art.

“I am very happy people have cameras now, because they can now document history and capture the moment with the click of a button,” Ogburn said. As true as his words are, there will always be one Oggie Ogburn and only one Backstage Pass exhibit, so be sure to check it out and experience great moments in our history.

Article courtesy of The Michigan Citizen written by Shaka Senghor