It is Sunday 30th August, 2020. I woke up at 4:00am in my hotel room in Washington DC- I had flown into the United States the night before- after the annual Charity Photowalk "Give A Child A Book" on 28th August in Nigeria.
After my morning prayers the next thing is to attend to my emails, and as usual there would be nothing less than 40 emails to attend to from clients, colleagues, agencies, family and friends. The very first mail is from my mentor, ‘Seun Akisanmi, inviting me to have a talk session with the present students of the eloPhotos Academy on the topic "Attitude Of A Photographer". The invite comes with a month notice giving me ample time to prepare, so with excitement I sent my reply acknowledging and accepting the invite to impact the new set of World-class Photographers been raised at eloPhotos Academy.
The second email is from the Office of the Secretary to the Commission, African Union Headquarters in Addis Ababa. The AU invites me to have a tour of African Nations where there was war and civil unrest. There are 14 countries involved and the project would take a couple of months because, the African Union had requested that OBASOLA Photography gives them professional intelligence on how to set up a Charity Project that will rehabilitate the children and youths caught up in the midst of these prolonged crisis. To make this happen, I would have to work with a team of Social workers, interpreters and many photographers.
The AU needed my reply and that I also make an appointment with the Secretary to the Commission and present my professional suggestions to the AU committee in charge of the project. This huge project is going to be a great career motivation and am warming up to give it my best because the lives of children/ youths will be impacted. This project would make me African Union Ambassador which will be a plus to my profile- I remember my mission in photography- Making Positive Impact through Photography. Using Art To Touch Hearts and now the impact is bringing in flow of finance into my ministry… Smiles.
Also, I have to send an email to the graphics designer doing the Nigeria Photography Expo and Conference designs because I’m a NiPHEC ambassador and it is eight months to NiPHEC 2021. Every design-related activities must be right and flawless to ensure proper publicity of what started as the biggest Photography event in West Africa, to the biggest Photography event in Africa and rated among the three biggest Photography events in the world. NiPHEC has groomed world-class Photographers not only from Nigeria but all over Africa and visiting photographers from Asia and Middle East.
Oh, it’s past 6:00am, time to talk to my darling wife and awesome kids. I shared my latest invitations with my wife and she was so glad hearing of the impacts we will be making in Africa. My wife also broke the news that our 4-year old son won a Canadian National Children Photographers first Prize. He picked so much interest in Photography right from a tender age and has always accompanied me for various photo shoot. We are so glad he has won an opportunity to exhibit his work in four galleries in Canada: NATIONAL GALLERY OF CANADA, CANMORE ALBERTA CANADA PHOTO GALLERY, STEPHEN BULGER GALLERY, GALLERY 44. My wife also told me of our daughter’s sudden interest in the game of badminton since I left the house two weeks ago.
I really have to hit the streets of Washington for some Street Photographs. I eventually located the new branch of House Of Faith Christian Centre here in Washington for the Sunday celebration Service. It was a wow time worshiping God with the beloved brethren here in DC and back to my hotel to pick up my luggage and head to Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport for my 1pm flight to New York City for the main business of the day.
I arrived at La Guardia Airport, New York City at 2:10pm and a welcome committee was at the arrivals to take me to my room where I would get set to attend the UNICEF 2020 Humanitarian award ceremony at 5:00pm to receive my award. I was nominated for the Humanitarian Photographer Category of the 2020 UNICEF Awards and I am to be honored because of the Photography-Related Projects: Give A Child A Book and Ability in Disability.
At some minutes to 5:00pm, am informed that my personal protocol team is on ground to escort me to the award venue. The whole scenario is so exciting and am feeling a top celebrity. Wow!
I step out in my well starched guinea (native attire) and a pair of suede shoe. I noticed the smiles on the faces of the Protocol men, I guess I looked different. There is a Black Limousine waiting to take me to the venue, that is just 20 minutes drive according to Mr. Harry (one of my protocol men). It is indeed a ‘VVIP treat’ for me. Stepping out of the Limousine, the first person to welcome me is the Consulate General of Nigeria in New York, he complimented my attire and we walked arm-in-arm into the hall and he introduced me to over two dozens of distinguished personalities and Ambassadors.
Finally, at some minutes to 6:00pm, I was ushered to a seat with my name tagged on it. Sitting to my right is the Consulate General of Nigeria in New York and to my left is the Turkish ambassador that has requested I photograph his only daughter’s wedding taking place in Maldives Islands in December at any cost I state.
It is 6pm and the veteran journalist and Broadcaster, Christiane Amanpour of CNN was the compere.
In her words "The first name on the awardees list for the Two Thousand And Twenty UNICEF Humanitarian awards. A young Nigerian Street and Documentary Photographer, who has used his skills to affect many lives and transformed generations through his Photography-Related Projects: Give A Child A Book and Ability in Disability. For the UNICEF Humanitarian Photographer of the year 2020, I present to you Obasola Bamigbola".
I stepped up to the stage and was amazed at the applause that filled the five-hundred sitting capacity hall of the UNICEF Headquarters. As I stood there, some of my photography works were displayed on the screens and the audience clapped in amazement of the great images.
The United Nations Secretary General presented my award plague to me as over forty cameras (still and motion pictures) of different news agencies pointing their lenses at me.
A couple of award plague was presented to several others that made the list received there awards. I got Twelve international photography contract offers to be finalised before the end of the week and five international speaking engagements.
It is 10pm and the dinner was over. My protocol men showed up to drive me back to my hotel.
My wife’s short email greeted me back at my hotel room as I powered on my laptop – "Wow! What a day. We are so proud of you honey, we love you". Apparently she followed the live streaming of the event on the internet.
My name is OBASOLA Bamigbola and what a fulfilling day today has been. The year is 2020