Jonathan Adagogo Green (J.A. Green) was Nigeria’s first indigenous professional photographer, noted for his photo documentation of the colonial days in Nigeria and the country’s local culture, particularly his Ibani Ijaw community.
Jonathan was born in Bonny, present day Rivers State in 1873 and he died in 1905 at the age of 32. He studied photography in Sierra Leone and then established a studio in his hometown, Bonny.
Because of his foreign name, he was able to secure high-paying jobs from the British colonial officers in southern Nigeria. His use of initials on his business cards and stamps concealed his indigenous origin.
Jonathan also leveraged on his father’s connection to get more jobs as he was born into elite trading family. He was the son of a prominent Bonny high Chief.
Jonathan used photography to document his environment, the people, their culture and their activities. He contributed greatly to Nigeria’s recorded history.
When the Ibani Ijaw town in Bonny became the hub of maritime trade, the demand for Jonathan’s photography increased.
Some of Jonathan’s works are currently in the British Museum while his remains are in a marble tomb in Bonny, present day Rivers State.