Overture Center to Honor Photographer
Focused on Career
Amadou Kromah will be representing Dane County as he competes in the
area of photography at the NAACP's Afro-Academic, Cultural, Technological
and Scientific Olympics.
LaBelle, Boyz II Men and other famous artists.”
Holmes had hired Kromah to take photos to highlight the Overture Center’s Diversity & Inclusion Initiative. But it wasn’t the only thing that was being spotlighted.
“I was attending the Patti LaBelle concert and there was this young man walking around with a camera at Overture,” said Frances Huntley-Cooper, chair of the NAACP’s ACT-SO
Competition. “I looked at him and I went, ‘How old are you?’ That was the first thing. He was a junior in school. His mother was right there and I said, ‘Have you heard about ACT-
SO?’ They hadn’t heard about ACT-SO. I told them about ACT-SO and he joined. We were really pleased to get him. And then, since that time, when you see Amadou, you see a
camera. There is no Amadou without a camera. He is perfecting his skills. He has a good eye. And that really impressed me.”
Kromah earned a gold medal at the local NAACP competition and then went on to win a silver medal at the national competition in Baltimore.
“Locally, I actually felt more pressure than the national competition,” Kromah said. “I’m not quite sure why. But I just felt more anxious. But after I won gold in Dane County and
got into the national competition, I felt more relaxed about it because I had passed a major kind of mark doing this. And I knew that if I passed the local mark that I was at least
decent enough to compete with some of these top photographers out here. I thought it was another sign. It was an affirmation that I had it. It was kind of nice.”
And competing in the national competition gave Kromah a perspective he had never seen before.
“I really got to connect with all of the other gold medalists from across the country,” Kromah said. “I got to meet so many other African Americans who are similar to me, who are
artists and really love their craft and are focused on what they want to do in their lives. It was fun to see that because here in Madison, you don’t see that many African
Americans in the community competing like that every day. Many are just going through life day-to-day, just not really focusing. But there, everyone you saw was on their hustle.
I was surprised with how many young Black photographers are out here. I got to connect with a lot of them. I’ve kept in touch with a lot of them. It was amazing and
Overture’s Holmes has always been about discovering and promoting the talent of young people in Madison since the late 1970s.
“When you see a kid with a passion, you want to nurture that passion, nurture their skills, try to find ways to elevate them, to give them the support and the resources and the
opportunity to continue to improve in that skill,” Holmes said. “When I walked in the door, I saw the photos that he took at the first event when I was at Overture Center and I
was impressed, so much so that I said, ‘Okay, I’m going to talk to the vice-president of marketing and see if we can have you come in and take images of all of the D&I events.’
Since then, it has expanded. He’s taken photos of all of the Local Legends. He’s taken photos of Kids in the Rotunda. He’s taken photos of a number of really important events at
Overture and throughout the city. He’s been working with us for the last two seasons. He has photos of Patti LaBelle, Boyz II Men, Drumline, Wynton Marsalis and Gregory Porter,
nationally and internationally known artists from the Black and Latino community. It’s been just an incredible opportunity for this young man, but also he has risen to the
occasion. He has elevated his work and elevated the quality of the photos that he has taken.”
In appreciation — and to help Kromah reach the next stage in his career — Holmes and the Overture staff are hosting a reception for Kromah that will feature his photography.
“This is an opportunity to really shine a positive spotlight on a success story of a young African American male who has found a passion and is really representing the city, the
Overture Center and the community in a positive way,” Holmes said. “We’re honoring Amadou. Amadou is turning 18-years-old. He has a number of opportunities that are coming
before him. He’s been with us for two years and he is in his senior year. So we see this as a transition and a rite of passage. He’s looking at possibly going to college. And we
want to recognize him and thank him for the work that he has done. . He’s really helped document our journey as an organization around diversity and inclusion since he’s been
working with us.”
Kromah plans to open his own photography studio to earn his way and possibly explore a journalism career.
“Time is the most valuable thing that we can have in our lives, so we should always try to use it the best way possible,” Kromah said.
Amadou Kromah has used his time to his maximum advantage and it shows in his photography, which has reflected life at the Overture Center and beyond.
By Jonathan Gramling
While most students in their early years are focused on video games, sports and other activities,
Amadou Kromah, who is set to graduate from La Follette High School, has been serious about
developing his passion into a full-fledged career since grade school.
“I’ve always had a passion and love for photography ever since I was young, even first with film
cameras,” Kromah said at Edgewood College where he had been named a gold medalist in the
NAACP ACT-SO Competition. “I was around 10-years-old. When I entered high school, I decided I
wanted to get more professionally into it. I started meeting with community photographers to
teach me and mentor me throughout this process of becoming a professional photographer.”
Kromah stepped up his game his sophomore year when he started taking photos for events
sponsored by people he knew.
“Ms. Kathy Johnson and I are long-time family friends,” Kromah said. “She asked me to take
photos at her 75th birthday party, which also happened to be on my birthday. That was one of my
first times and then I took photos for The Capital City Hues at an AVID/TOPS graduation
celebration. I had a couple of small events before that. I got my first camera through a Summit
Credit Union competition. I first started with video and then transitioned to photography with that.
Winning the competition made it a fact that yes, I could probably do this as something
continuously. I could do small jobs here and there doing video work for a company. I did video
and photography for them. They kind of helped me grow my business. Dr. Ed Holmes saw my
work and he asked me to take photos at the Overture Center. That allowed me to shoot Patty