The year was 2006. The day was August 19. The time was 12:05pm. I had just uttered the words “I Do” after a Reverend in a church in Benin City asked me if I was serious about taking to wife a princess/damsel/friend/sweetheart called ELOHIAGHE. A few minutes later we were introduced to the world as Husband & Wife.
I had met my wife at a mutual friend’s place at 6:30pm on February 26, 2005. In May 2005, I was sure she was the person I wanted to spend my life with. Our courtship started immediately and the climax of the relationship would be the exchange of vows on August 19, 2006.
Little did I know that I would fall in love with another entity that would eventually rock the foundations of my marriage. I wasn’t conscious of it until my wife uttered the words 3 years ago: “You’re married to this your PHOTOGRAPHY more than you’re married to me.” I was quick to deny that blasphemous statement. I would eventually check the dictionary definition of MARRY and surprisingly stumbled on an interesting definition: TO COMMIT YOURSELF TO SOMEBODY.
Although I usually hate admitting it when my wife was right, I silently swallowed within me the realization that I was not only committed to somebody called ELOHIAGHE; I was also committed to “somebody” called PHOTOGRAPHY. Infact, it would seem that I had paid more attention to the latter wife (of whom I had courted since I was 10 years old) than to the former wife.
How else would you explain my hunger & thirst to buy more books for “Photography” than for “ELO”. I would eventually buy over 200 books on photography and less than 20 books on marriage. Come to think of it, its this same love I have for both entities that made me think of a way of combining both parties’ names to form a business name. The first three letters from my human wife combined with the words “photos” from my mental wife forms the word eloPhotos. It was borne out of an understanding within me that I was being poetic.
8 years has “waka” gone and I would realize that the resources I’ve committed to my Photography wife has made me to be a better photographer than a better husband. Infact, I realized that most of the people (over 80%) I considered as mentors usually have more marital problems than “photography” problems. Some even go the extra mile of divorcing their wives just so they could focus more on their “secondary” wives: PHOTOGRAPHY.
A lot was going through my head a few days ago when I was invited by Yemi Royal to speak at World Photography Day celebration at Freedom Park, Lagos. I found myself asking within myself a lot of questions.
Could it be coincidental that my wedding anniversary also happened to be the day photography was invented?
Could it be destiny that my calling is to be committed to both my wife and to photography? Why are many of my proteges not at this gathering to learn?
What is the future of Photography in Nigeria & the World?
Although I knew in my heart the answers to many of the questions, I felt a huge responsibility upon my shoulders. Will I be able to effectively LEAD a family of 3 ladies & 1 guy (wherein I’m a minority) while simultaneously helping to shape the foundations of an industry. Will I be considered a success by my wife and daughters on the same scale as I’m being admired & adored by my photography “children”.
Its more of a burden than I envisaged. Especially when I find myself having visions of my photography escapades in 142 years from now…. Especially when I find myself having portrait sessions for 3 of my favourite great men of the bible: Jeremiah, John the baptist & Joseph…. Especially when I find myself thinking of the type of conversations I’ll be having with them to bring out their serious side and their jovial side.
Getting back home from the World Photography Day Celebration, I found myself ruminating on the wise counsel of speakers like Seyi Body-Lawson, Kelechi Amadi-Obi, Don Barber, Ade Plumptre & Olusola Akeredolu & Mr Adeboye. It was as if I had returned from one of those sermons that Jesus preached and half of his followers stopped following Him. Was I ready to take this photography to the next level? Can I simultaneously succeed in photography and in family.
I would eventually find myself in my office at an hour wherein I ought to be cuddling my real wife. Am I really ready to do WHATEVERITTAKES to standout? On this and many more questions I meditated on until I woke up the next morning in my office. The time was 5am, August 20.
A new day has dawn in my life, marriage and photography. Never before have I been clearer about my purpose. I’ve made many mistakes….I’m still learning…. But at the end of it all, I pray for grace to fulfill destiny in my photography & in my marriage.
My name is Seun Akisanmi and I’m not even sure if the title of this posts correlates with what has been written thus far. Just airing my heart. All will be well.
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