Not Just Any PHOTOGRAPHY SCHOOL


A few weeks ago my dad asked me this question, using his exact words, he said "How long does it even take to learn this Photography sef? I was shocked at the question but I understand where this was coming from. I had told him earlier that same day that I was returning to eloPhotos and I actually didn’t explain why.

Of course he was confused and I wonder what must have been going through his mind. Maybe he was thinking "would I have to pay for a new training fee?" He just didn’t figure out the answer on his own so he decided to ask me.

As a Nigerian, I answered back with a question. I said "But daddy why do you still have to read after spending 7yrs in medical school?" and that was obviously the end of the conversation.

After that moment, I had a conversation with myself and I wish I had even answered the question differently.

I wish daddy knew eloPhotos academy isn’t just a photography school.

I wish I had made him understand that it is a place you learn about life through life itself.

I wish I had told him how eloPhotos had even taught me a lot about myself.

I wish he knew eloPhotos taught me persistence and hard work.

I wish I had told him eloPhotos taught me to put my trust in God.

I wish he knew I can now carry 50 litres bucket of water up a two-storey building.

I wish he knew he doesn’t even need to get a painter to cover any hole he finds in the house because I can fix it.

I wish he knew how much morals and standard eloPhotos had built in me as a person not to mention as a Photographer.

I wish he knew how eloPhotos had taught me the DIY (do it yourself) rule before consulting a specialist.

I wish he knew I can be whatever I want to be just because i don’t say "I cant."

At eloPhotos, we believe nothing is impossible; absolutely nothing. We produce excellence with undiluted integrity. We work on self-made furniture. We take our lives on our sleeves. We work our lives out knowing we have no choice but to succeed.

Dear Dad, I am back at eloPhotos academy knowing that knowledge has no borders. And guess what! You don’t have to pay for all I will be learning this time around because I got it all covered.

Yours Truly,
Tope Adeniyan

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XRAYED


Going through the week I would say was interesting because it was really tough but there was so much to tease and laugh about (I guess that was just to cover up for the internal numbness ravaging). Truth be told, the hardest part of being an entrepreneur should be this part of paying your dues on starting out, quite crazy how you would have to act out an “it is well” life/situation. A bitter pill to swallow, an internal groaning.

So this numbness lingered. How possible will it be for me to succumb to accepting there was a struggle within? Though I was fading off, gradually loosing Me, I thought the best way out is to suppress it, look off, shun it and play it off. Trust me, I have three wonderful colleague-clowns with me to excellently carry that out and we had lots of fun. That was the best escape route at my moment of reality.com. (Really, I love to be empty of worries and be happy always). But I am loosing myself, I couldn’t feel Me again, Help! Not even my “Friends” and co-clowns could not see beyond the plays, gist, teases and laughs, whew! I, even did not realize the extent till my mentor and i had a conversation that kept my eyes wet for minutes; I was xrayed, I was opened up like breaking the coconut shell to let the water out and get the softer and chewable part.

Then, I appreciated and learnt more about mentors, especially when you are in close contact and they know you. Mine has a skillful way to get you, after talking about some tasks done and to be done, he chipped in;
 Hope all is well with you?
 It seems something has been on your mind/heart for over a week now.
 But then again what do I know.
 Perhaps I don’t know Mosope as well as she is known by Enor or Tobi
Then I replied;
 What did you observe sir?
 It is possible you know me more than them o.
 They could be carried away by plays and gist. It takes a deeper look and observation.
I actually gave this response genuinely like I am with a doctor I expect a cure/solution from. He dropped the Punch;
 Your resumption time to office, your countenance (as if tired or something on your mind or someone annoyed you at home or office), and the fact that I usually have to ask you to do things at least twice before it seems to get done.
 Or maybe na me just dey read too much meaning into all these.
 After all what does a small boy like me know about a tough, complicated & seemingly-soft lady called Mo.
By this time, I was deep in tears, he was absolutely right. Why would I allow this to happen? If you know Seun Akisanmi and eloPhotos Academy well, all these above mentioned are non-debatably off, I felt really sorry. He had watched me over time and would not allow me do this to myself any longer, it really takes someone who is genuinely interested in your good to see beyond your ill behavior and take to caution instead of scolding or penalty. I accepted I haven’t been me really lately, can’t even feel my pulse (so many things to thrash I guess); but i admit all that are not enough excuses for ill behaviour.
Being true and genuine that I know him to be, he encouraged and ended the conversion with his gesture;
 Perhaps it will help if I take all of us out to the movies on Tuesday.
 Perhaps it will help ease all the tensions.
Quite thoughtful. What a boss/mentor!

This was the high point of the week for me as it made all the teachings of the week make more sense and reiterated I am in the right place. Though not sure my “Coconut shell” has all been cracked out because I am still in my “reality.com,” I will be more conscious of me.

This is still Mosopefoluwa Onanusi (actually soft, but tough, an overly committed friend, deeply nice, fun-loving, ambitious….Lady) taking life lessons at eloPhotos Academy.

Just Enough


It was an interesting week at the eloPhotos Academy. I found myself wondering what I had gotten myself into. From headaches (which I later learnt is not unusual), to sweeping and mopping the office, to going to see a movie with the intent of not just enjoying but learning from it – it was such a circus! Stepping out of the Cinema, I still couldn’t tell for sure whether I saw what I was supposed to see. Lol.

Oluwatosin Bakre was one of the guest facilitators at the Academy last week. Her brand of photography is unique, in that, she photographs mad people. Her belief is that these mad people will be off the streets a few years from now and this is the time when she can capture imagery going extinct. Oluwatosin believes there’s a new Nigeria emerging from what we have right now and she’d like to stand out then. To sponsor our thoughts, she asked: “How will you be relevant in the scheme of things when the new Nigeria comes?”

Michael of Nobis Photography was another facilitator at the Academy who had these to say to us:
1. Don’t use your skill as gift; I did this a lot in the past.
2. Insure your equipment.
3. Calculate depreciation on your assets.

As an entrepreneur, taking cognizance of the above in decision-making will ensure one prices his services appropriately.

Sal Cincotta’s training videos were another important part of last week. A few of the points that have stayed with me from those videos are these:
1. Put your average charge on your website so that only the people that can afford you will contact you.
2. Check yourself; if people contact you and do not buy from you, the fault in that process is often times traceable to you.
3. Experiment with new shooting ideas, but not on your clients’ big day.
4. Everyone is a photographer, but not everyone is a professional photographer,
Hmmm….
So, I got to the office on Friday and to my surprise, one of the tables had been constructed. I was so enthralled that I asked Oluchi about 5 questions in the space of a minute. I mean, I had barely been out of the office for a few hours and a brand new table was already in use.
Thankfully, my opportunity to get creative came later that evening, as we were tasked with the responsibility to construct a much-needed second table. Mr. Segun, Sola and I bounced ideas off each other, noting that we didn’t have the exact materials the first team had to work with. Clearly, we needed to come up with a creative way to complete the task. More importantly, the functionality of our creation was paramount, as there was the need to protect the paper legs from being ruined by water.
So, we set to task and in about 2 hours we had our table! I found the saying: ‘When there is a will, there is a way’ to be true; we had everything we needed, even though we didn’t have everything the other team had access to.
It is amazing how human beings tend to maintain a status quo – we want to be like everybody else and do things the way everyone once did it. This brings to mind a certain Yoruba saying which goes thus: ‘E je ka see bi won se n see, ko le baa ri bi o se n ri’ (Let’s do it like it has always been done, so that we can get the same result everybody gets).

Like someone once said: If you want to be an outstanding Creative Professional, know the rules and break them! I actually battled with this line of thinking for a while because it sounded counter-intuitive. Now I know that this precisely is what I need to stand out.
So the next time you suddenly realize that you do not have all the resources you think you need, refuse to panic! Instead, remember that what you have is just enough.

Adenike Alonge.

The RIGHT Place


I have only been one week at the eloPhotos Academy, but my experience thus far indicates that I am going to have a good time. On my first day at the Academy, I encountered some difficulty locating the venue, because there was no form of notification in front of the building. However, on stepping inside of my new school premises, I immediately felt welcome.

There was Adenike who greeted me with a hug. And then, there was the security personnel of the house who welcomed other students and I with chairs while we waited for the arrival of members of staff of eloPhotos. Such warm welcome was a good first impression – it spoke of love and care. And, as if that was not enough, Tope came in panting shortly after, apologizing for keeping us waiting outside. With sincerity written all over her face, she said to us, “Oh dear! We are sorry for keeping you outside for too long. Please bear with us. I’m not with the key, but Mr Seun will soon be here.” That, for me, was beautiful and touching. A few minutes later, Mr Seun came in and it was time to get into serious business.

The office opened with a cleaning exercise, followed by a quick session of devotion, after which the CEO of eloPhotos and Principal of the school came forward to address everyone. Mr. Seun Akisanmi welcomed the new interns, among other things, inviting us to trust him for a good training.

And next on the agenda was a family meeting! Like seriously? A family meeting?!! I thought I was here to learn photography and nothing more. Well, as I was about to find out, I had thought wrong. That meeting, the family meeting, was very unique and homely. With what I witnessed in there, I became convinced all the more that I am in the right place.

During this week, we had a video training session with Sal Cincotta, titled: Master the Business of Photography. I learnt a lot, and even got to share some of Sal’s business principles with my family. Without doubt, some of these principles will help my mom in her catering business. One principle that stood out and I will never forget is, “Don’t feel bad to charge your clients for your hard work.”
I also witnessed two photo shoot sessions: one for students who required ID cards and the other, a portrayal of Prayer for Siblings with Miss Kike (of Red19 Photography).
Away from class activities, we went to the Silverbird Cinemas to see a movie titled: INFERNO. From watching this movie, I learnt that betrayal can come from anyone; and that by determination, one is sure to conquer and break new grounds.

Some alumni of the Academy were also around to speak to us during the week. Michael, the CEO of Nobis Photography, was around on Tuesday to speak about Photography and Business. He said, “As the law wig is important to a lawyer, so is the camera to Photopreneurs.” Then, Miss Tosin, the CEO of Charis5 Photography, came by on Thursday. She shared with us her thoughts on hardwork, and how sacrifice has opened doors of opportunity for her.

On Friday, we held discussions bordering on relationships, marriage and religion during our leisure time. It was as much fun as it was educative, I tell you! Tope and Mosope revealed their desire to marry Ibo men, while Oluchi (an Ibo lady) preferred a man outside her tribe. I also contributed to the discussion, declaring that I had no tribal preferences. In the end, we all concluded by praying that God will give each of us the best man.

Then, it was the turn of Mr Segun to lead the discussion in the direction of religion, its dictates and the way it is practiced here. On his own part, Mr. Segun believes it is unbecomingly easy to get into the pastoral position in some churches in Nigeria. Then, Enor shared that her Dad does not like it when ladies wear trousers. Though she thinks otherwise, her Dad sees this act as sin. This made a number of us erupt in laughter and several thoughts and religious standpoints followed. Like I hinted earlier, there was a lot to learn amid all the fun we were having, such that I look forward to another enjoyable week at the eloPhotos Academy.

I am Olajumoke Sanni, a world-class photographer.

Creativity Has Its Own Language


The previous week, for me, was an avalanche of many learning opportunities. However, by far the most remarkable event that stood out in my mind was the “creation” of the editing room tables.  I used the word CREATION because that is precisely what described the making of the tables currently adorning eloPhotos’ editing room.

Ordinarily, when people want to make tables, in fact any furniture at all, they call a carpenter,then tell the carpenter exactly whatthey want and leave the work to him; after all that is the carpenters job?  But then, as I have come to appreciate, in eloPhotos you are not bound to follow such restrictive “rules”. If you need a table nothing stops you from creating one yourself. In fact, a table does not have to be made with wood or the usual materials that the unyielding mind has arrogantly come to associate with furniture. What says furniture must be made of only wood, metal or plastic? What law prohibits a table from being made with paper?

Well, you can make your own furniture, you do not always need a carpenter to make one, and you can make one with paper. I saw it all happen at eloPhotos.

As it so happens, eloPhotos is currently renovating, and everyone is aware that there is plan to redesign the studio and bring in new furniture. But what most people, including I, never considered, was the manner some of those furniture will be acquired.

So when the amiable owner, and the creative engine behind eloPhotos – Seun Akisanmi, fondly called Mr. Seun by all, observed quite a number ofhard cylindrical paper rollers, which were be disposed by the printing outfit that occupies the second floor. He imagined that these rollers could be used for something and voiced his thoughts to the rest of us – “What if we use these to make the legs of our tables?”

Well, I was skeptical and doubted how a few about-to-be disposed pieces of cylindrical paper could possibly be used for tables? What if someone spilled water? What if these tables collapsed under the weight of the equipment’s that will be set on them?

But then, Mr. Seun not only insisted it could be done, he practically demonstrated what he meant by constructing one.  Whoa! We have an office table with wooden top and paper legs! Not only is the table sturdy, it looks neatly crafted. After the initial one, two more tables have now been constructed by members of the team using same approach and material – wooden top and paper legs.

 

This experience was a huge learning point for me, as it reinforced in my mind what is possible when creativity is buoyed by imagination. Not only was Mr. Seun able to see what was possible with supposedly worthless paper rollers, he was also creative enough to put what he had imagined together.

In my mind, albeit unconsciously, I had narrowly delimited being creative within a photography studio environment to what could be achieved with images only. Aren’t images what one “logically” wants to be creative about in a photography studio? But creativity has its own language and logic is not necessarily part of its vocabulary. It does not matter its application –whether in photography or making furniture; creativity has a common language. When allowed to blossom, creativity does the same thing over and over – connecting things that logically seem unrelated to provide unique, valuable solutions. I saw that demonstrated and it was a gratifying experience.

Segun Ishola

BEAUTY IN THE DARK


“It is dark not blank…

The calamity of today is “how far can you see.

But the brightness of today needs less of our eyes…”

When will life lessons ever end? Never I guess, because even death teaches some tough lessons to people around.

On that premise, I will not hesitate to blow the horns on the two worlds I toured and engaged with in this past week. Then I made an assertive conclusion;

Our environment and circumstance are like a wall around us, it is now left for you to make a window to see the other side.”

Attending a seminar with boss on a speaking engagement brought me to realise of a truth (like boss used to say) that; “you do not know or appreciate how much you know until your knowledge is tested or you are in the midst of some other people.” Then I appreciated the in-depth knowledge that is being impacted in eloPhotos Academy where I am even still scared of so much left to be learnt. These guys sure do not know what so much is embedded in this art- Photography, much more beyond the lenses, shutter and Albums….whew! They are great guys though, just need to make a big window in their walls, see the larger beautiful world on the other side and pursue whatever it takes to get there. I sign out here. It was also pleasuring to see how beautiful ikorodu has transformed into and will be in the near future.

Then I found myself photographing these set of Awesome people whose predicament all people dread and it will be almost impossible for someone with such to be a photographer (until I met Taivis). We have everything in common except their sight; they even have their four other senses sharper than ours. You really need to have an encounter with these guys, very energetic, smart, highly talented….name it. It was their International White Cane Day, the white cane is their walking stick (a sign of independence) to guide their walk and safety. We had a safety walk on an expressway with volunteers and Lagos State Traffic Maintenance Agency (LASTMA) Officials around to guide, we had long rows of blind and visually impaired persons; I did not really know how I felt about this, the sight was humbling.

Guess what, they were full of life, not looking in anyway downcast, sure they have accepted their disability and moved above it. Hence, they turned out stuffs you would not believe. Caught one, very smart lady pulling a friend (with a good sight)  with her to run an errand, leading the way very fast as if she could see the way through. I just shook my head in amazement. Their countenance was impressive, they danced, cracked themselves up, laughed and I looked at myself with excuses to justify my being sad sometimes, what an ingrate I was.

The final stroke came when one, who has authored a book, came up to recite one of her poems. And she goes:

“How beautiful is it in the dark.

It is dark not blank.

The calamity of today is “how far can you see.

But the brightness of today needs less of our eyes…”

I paused, put down my camera for a while and thought; is this not the same thing I have heard, learnt and known for too long? She just presented it in this way and it felt like I was slapped. She obviously understands it better, maybe because she’s got no balls like I do.

Still on my life lesson series, my name remains Mosopefoluwa Onanusi

 

Lessons From A BURNING Building


It happened yesterday. After returning to my office from a trip that entailed the purchase of my supper – 8 oranges, 1 titus fish & 1 loaf of bread – I found my colleagues snapping pictures of a building in flames about 100 metres away. The view from the window of my office seemed to be perfect for them to capture compositions that would perhaps be submitted as their weekly reports or even sold to an international art buyer.

Upon discovering what was happening, I found it a little interesting that no one thought of going to the burning house to see what can be done to help. Without thinking (honestly I really didn’t think it through), I put down my supper on the table and told them I was heading to the burning "bush" to see how I could help.

About 5 minutes later, I was at the entrance of the burning 2 storey building that seemed to have gathered a cinematographic-audience of about 150+ people. About a third of them had their camera-phones pointed in the direction of the room that was spewing out flames from the second floor. Perhaps I should have brought my camera. Perhaps the thought didn’t occur to me. Like Superman or Spiderman I felt as though a good friend of mine was trapped inside the fire that seemed to be raging from within the seemingly small room.

Without thinking I was determined (in KANU Nwankwo’s Peak Milk accent) to help. I asked an onlooker stationed at the building’s gate if more hands were still needed to put off the flame and was shown the staircase that led to the room burning on the second floor.

A few young compatriots had already climbed the roof and were pouring soapy water in buckets to try the quench the flames. The fire department had been called upon but it seemed they were either wearing a woman’s 2-hour makeup or they were just stuck in Lagos rush hour 6pm traffic. Either way it was obvious that if we were going to wait for the fire fighters to get there, the house would be a rubble of ashes.

I discovered that I seemed to be the only one to have entered the house through the stairs. It was my first presence in a burning house and I was glad to discover that no friend or enemy of mine was trapped within. I was immediately followed by a team of about 7 men who would later help pass me buckets of soapy water that we used to help reduce the inferno stirring up within the 6 by 10 feet room.

The smoke was intense, the fire unforgiving and the determination of the 10 man-impromptu-firefighters to quench the fire was relentless. At one point I had to retreat because the smoke that was emanating from the burning rooms where choking my eyes and lungs. I felt I was 45 seconds away from collapsing. While retreating back for air, I saw one of my fellow firefighting compatriots using his handkerchief to cover his nose. I asked him to give me the handkerchief because it wasn’t going to do much for him if he’s not ready to go closer to the fire to pour the soapy water. He didn’t argue.

What was I thinking? Come to think of it, I wasn’t thinking at all. It was as if the burning house was my beloved BMW 750i that was in flames and I was not going to let this be an easy defeat. By fire by force, I would do my best to quench…. I handed my other colleague the handkerchief and we discovered it wasn’t long enough to cover his nose with. At the speed of thought, I found myself removing my shirt and singlet (let the Nigerian reader know the meaning) and handed him the 2 year old faded singlet to cover his nose. It worked like magic and we were able to stay longer in the flaming room to quench the fire. Of course I wouldn’t have survived if I hadn’t used my shirt to cover my nose. I would later find out that we had been in the room for over 10 minutes.

After dispensing about 200kgs of soapy water into 2 rooms whose ceiling and rooftop were gone, we seemed to have won the battle. However, this wasn’t a victory to celebrate because of what was lost. I would later return to my office with revelatory thoughts that ran through my mind simultaneously with the headache I had just contacted as a result of the inhaled smoke. I probably should have thought this through before heading in, but then again the house might have been burnt to the ground if I had thought before going in (just a thought).

The following are some of the thoughts that hit me as I passed the team of professional fire fighters that just arrived at the scene.

1) A crowd of over 300 people stood outside to watch and photograph the building burning. Only less than 10 people (not related to the owner of the house) went in to help. In fact, I later discovered that most of the 10-man firefighting team were people considered to be the miscreants of the society: area boys.

2) The crowd were muttering words of commotion that I had to ignore most of the time. Some were shouting out orders to us on how to quench the fire, some were abusing the owner of the house for making it difficult to gain access to his house, some were blaming NEPA for the supposed-surge of electricity that started the flames while others were just smiling (yes, smiling) because they got there in time to capture the "beautiful" potentially-viral scenery on their smartphones.

3. The room where the fire raged the most was as a result of the tons of clothes stored there by the owner. A small room housed what seemed to be about 8 large suitcases of clothes. It was obvious the room belonged to one person that had PLENTY of unused clothes that fueled the anger of the flames. How many clothes does a man really need, I thought.

4. If I were a member of a religious organization that reigned down "fire" brimstones prayer on my enemies, I would repent because I just witnessed firsthand what real fire can do. I would definitely not want this to happen to any of my enemies. Really.

5. The fact that Bible scriptures were written on the building did not stop it from burning. But then again maybe it was the scriptures that prevented it from burning completely.

6. A church service that was holding just a few buildings from the house was uninterrupted. Since it wasn’t their building burning, there wasn’t a need to interrupt a meeting where God was ministering.

7. The owner of the house wasn’t around when the house caught fire. Whether or not he was a good person, the area boys bravely took it upon themselves to help quench the spread of an inferno that would indirectly affect them.

8. The fact that you’re seemingly surrounded by a lot of people and admirers does not mean they’ll be willing to help you quench your house when it is on fire. The fact that I have 35,000+ followers doesn’t mean they’ll be willing to help in my days of affliction. Many times, real lifesaving help will come from unexpected sources. At that point, I prayed to God to help me have friends that will help quench the fires of life when they rage. I figured that 10 of such friends would be enough.

On my way home, I found myself fighting the tears that struggled to leave the domain of my eyes. So much has been witnessed with these same eyes in my 38 years on earth. I could only smile when my wife then mentioned that she felt sad because she forgot her phone in my office earlier in the day. She forgot her phone and that made her sad. I’ve been sad also for similar forgotten items. I handed her the forgotten phone in the darkness of my room and silently prayed for the family that just almost lost their house. So much lessons learnt from a burning building. So much lessons learnt about life. May God help us all.

OF THE MIND


The week started as usual with worship and prayers to God and with words of exhortation from the Boss Mr. Seun Akisanmi, the brief exhortation led to the Monday morning meeting; I was particularly worried and unsettled about the meeting given what happened in the past week.

The meeting commenced with everyone sharing the experiences, well or bad, they had last week and I’ve noticed overtime that Mr. Seun always has something to say about everybody’s experience, he either amplifies the lessons present or answer a question in the shared experience; then again he’s practicallybeen in this for over ten years, I shouldn’t expect less. From Mr. Seun to Miss. Kike (Red19), Tobi, Tope, Mosope and I, we all shared varying experiences and lessonswe gathered from the past week. My story brought about quite interesting feedbacks from everyone and in summary I just learnt there are more than enough ways to go about a task.

The week was quite lazy for me, not because we didn’t have anything to do, in fact we had lots of things to be done but I was just lazy in my mind despite the fact that I was busy doing one thing or the other and I still can’t explain why and how; perhaps because I was short on funds and needed to meet lot of targets.

We had a 2-year birthday shoot for a little boy during the week; shy baby Keni was interesting and at the same time a lot of work to shoot, he got everybody dancing and singing and jumping and doing all sorts to get his best expressions. During the session with our cute baby I learnt a few things; as much as I encouragereprimanding a child when he or she is wrong, I advise you understand the childand know which technique best suits the child and will not affect his or hertemperament. I noticed our little baby Keni’s reaction when his mum scolded him and forced him to loosen up during the session, He is one child that would not do well with harsh scolding as it willmake him scared and run away from the person scolding which might eventually turn out badly later in life if the person always sounding harsh is either of his parents.

It does a lot a good to understand children, know that they are different personalities and have different behaviors and should be handled differently, it’s super sad when parents compare their children; they can’t all be the same. In a way this also applies to our individual relationships as adults, I know but I also learnt during the week that all humans aren’t the same; one shouldn’t expect the same reaction on a particular issue from two different peopleas they aren’t the same. Of course there are some occasions we would expect that we all see things from the same perspective, even then we’ll see it and perceive it in our different and variant ways. This is what makes each of us unique and special, so don’t take it personal when someone doesn’t see things the way you want them to see it. I appeal that we be mindful of these things because they are of the mind.

Photographically Yours,

Enor Izomor.

The Break of Enthusiasm


The light of the new week was merged in hope and enthusiasm. I finally concluded on a project to pick and work-on . And not only did I make up my mind, I eventually started out. Having something to start out was a complication for me for years. The idea of a project was not just what I gelled into, of course not just for the sake of what to do(as I have had the privilege of getting proposals from mentors and colleagues) but what I could eventually buy and call my own.

The passion and enthusiasm to start and complete something worthwhile could have only been fortified with inner conceptualization and perception. I have had speakers and teachers speak for years on great photography career and I am an ardent follower of those with the idea of photographers going on inner search, on a journey of self-discovery. We see and perceive the world in a different light, and since we as artist make good use of the eye we are bound by forms and shape to communicate our paradigm, feelings and emotions.

Picking the book humans of New York was Insightful, revelatory and brought new light to what it is to engage in documentary photography for me.Brandon Stanton had collected street portraits and interviews on the streets of New York City for his blog andbestselling book. The project started out in November 2010 and has developed a large following through social media. The blog has over 16million followers onfacebook and around 4.7 million followers on instagram as of January2016.

The book had caught me with so much interest, inspiring me into what more can be done with pictures, and eventually saving me boredom of just being a wedding or event photographer.

Tuesday was just a day for another shoot; it was a shoot of a two year old baby of the name Kenani. We had earlier in the day hosted Samuel Obaderu to take on a class on some of thetechnicalities in photography. He started the lesson with his journey so far and how he started out in photography.

Having to listen to others on how they started out, the challenges they facedand how they are where they are has been so much helpful, injecting me with much faith and energy to keep up in the field; Obaderu was not much different, he ended his class with a bit touch on technicalities. The baby shoot had later bomb into the class, there was dividedattention, and the class eventually came to its end.

Thursday was to come; Mr Seun had earlier in the week started his class for the DSAP(Daystar Skill Acquisition Program) for the present session. My first attendance for the program was to assist my boss with video recordings and a bit on the logistics. The event was to satisfy my love for adventures and differences; having to work with the student and watch my coach take the class was an encouragement. Maybe I could one day take a class with quite a number of students, May be I could insight my student with the love and passion, May be I could be just be a teacher and much more than a shooter.

My name is Tobi Idowu; I love life, people and the Art of photography.

THAT FATEFUL FRIDAY


As usual I’m seated at home this Saturday evening pondering in my conscious and subconscious what to document about the past week. On the surface of my mind there are a few things I’d like to put down now;  then again I don’t just want to tell a story of how the week sped off, I’d prefer to share what will be most beneficial to my esteemed reader.

Some days are great and perfect while some are not even close to it; some days are interesting and informative while some are not; some days you’ll be hungry while some you’ll have more than enough to eat; some days will be super busy and stressful while some will be boring and less busy; some days are clumsy while some are not; some days you’d have enough to spend while some days you won’t; some days you’d be in the best of moods while some will be moody; some days you’d feel like you’re in the right place while some you’d doubt your sense of judgment; some days you’d be carefree while some you would have cause to worry.

On that fateful Friday, I got to work at exactly 7:59am – the latest I’ve been to work in a while, apparently boss had been waiting for me to run a quick and important errand. It has been proven that those who live close to church come late to church than those who live farther; those were the striking words that greeted me (Yes, my boss has a diplomatic way of scolding someone). More subtle as the words came, it sounded loud in my ears but I had no other choice than to agree.  The words convey a standing fact that even I can prove considering the many incidences I witnessed in my family church somewhere in the east. Thinking about it now, I believe it is a conscious thing because one tends to get a bit relaxed when he/she is closer to the destination.

About an hour after this revelatory period, we were working on our creative frames and in the process of improving the quality of the frames; we got an idea that required the use of very-small-sized nails. Of course, we are not woodworkers to have various sizes of nails so we had to go buy. Tope and I who were assigned to that task had to trek a wonderful distance in search of tack nails as it is called. From one shop to another asking the same question “please, do you sell nails?” and if they don’t the question is changed to “please, do you know where we can get nails”; with each person directing us back and forth, we visited a total of 13 shops ranging from shoemaking shops to electrical and book shops before we got it from a miniature kiosk popularly called “mallam shop” (just in case you’re wondering why we didn’t stop looking, my boss’ name is Seun Akisanmi and I’m learning not to give excuses).

Still that morning, boss told me that I’ll be going with Mr. Segun (a new face in eloPhotos) to get frames at Aroloya on Lagos Island. I didn’t understand the comical “odabo o” (meaning bye bye o) Mosope told me when I was leaving until I got to the place; it is that dirty, smelly, disgusting and horrible looking place Mosope told me about some time ago. I totally forgot; I would have braced myself up for the experience. The sight was even worse because it rained on our way, but it was also an avenue to learn some negotiation skills.

Just when I thought I’ve had enough for one day and was about leaving for my humble abode, a building opposite us started burning all of a sudden. Seeing they didn’t have much help plus the fire service was not forth coming, my boss stormed out to the rescue; in my  mind I was like come back o, you’re no super hero. I realized not long after how timidity and fear can override and cloud one’s sense of judgment and empathy; the main lesson for me was when Mr. Seun told us the extent of the burns, he said a small room stacked full with clothes stimulated the fire and all the clothes got burnt. He said “it’s not as if they can wear all the clothes, they just lie there wasting”; these words got stuck and kept ringing in my head, probably because I’ve been worried and complaining about getting new clothes.

Some days? No, all days are wonderful and beautiful; it all depends on how you perceive it and what you decide the day be like for you. Truly that fateful Friday gave me a lot to think about and I’m grateful for it.

I’m Enor Izomor, improving daily and becoming a better person.

The UNGRATEFUL Broke Photographer


So I woke up last Saturday with just N350 left on me. Not that I went to bed the previous night with $493,562 on me; just that I was low on physical financial resources. My wife of 122 months was quick to ask one of her favourite questions of all time: ANYTHING FOR ME? I was quick to let her know that there was nothing to give her for that day as the only money I had was to transport myself to a client’s house in less that 90 mins.

"How are we going to do the weekend," she quizzed. I wished I could tell you how optimistic my response to her was. I think I just kept quiet and presumed she had made a rhetoric statement. Trust me, being broke is not a pleasant experience especially if you have hungry mouths that are waiting on you. However, I had been broke too many times in the last 2 decades to know that this storm too shall pass. I always rebound.

Within 30 minutes I was heading out of the house to someone who had read one of my write-ups a few days earlier and asked to see me. He wasn’t just anyone; I had photographed his birthday last year and impressed him so much with an album that made him give me the largest transport fare back home any client had ever given me. This is someone who will make you make time for him if he says he wants to see you. I sensed somewhere in my heart he wanted to bless my life with some financial resources. My head started playing with potential figures this wealthy retired citizen would endow upon my life. The figures seemed to be having at least 5 zeros in my head.

Fast forward to about 3 hours later. I had just left the man’s house. I wasn’t happy. I was disappointed. How could he have done what he did to me. How could he have shattered my expectations beyond irreparable Humpty Dumpty status. I wasn’t happy. I was disappointed. Oh, I already said that.

I was right to have sensed that he wanted to bless my life with financial blessings. I was wrong to have dreamt of so many zeros in my head. "Can you imagine him giving me just N20,000," I thought. He should have just asked me to send my account number so he would transfer the amount instead of having me waste time to come collect a meager amount. Didn’t he just buy a Toyota Camry 2017 edition. Didn’t he just paint his 12-room mansion. The thoughts were endless in my head as I took the 40 years journey back to my promised land called HOME.

I was barely 231 steps from his house (not that I was counting) before I came to my senses. I slapped myself in the spirit. I punched my imagination. How could I have been so so ungrateful? Was I not the same person that woke up a few hours earlier with almost nothing to feed a family of 5 (not forgetting my dream BMW 750i ActiveHybrid baby that seems to be delaying in arriving). I was ungrateful, unthankful, unappreciative and any other synonym that falls in within the family of ungratefulness. This man just literally gave me 20k just because he appreciated the work I did for him over a year ago…….and I was ungrateful.

Suddenly I found myself saying "I’m Sorry" as if apologizing to an invisible Father by my side who just scolded me for not saying THANK YOU from the depths of my heart. I was broke just a few hours earlier and now I was ungrateful. I’M SORRY. I’M SORRY. I’M SORRY.

With a remorsefully thankful heart, I got home with the good news of the testimony we had read in the Open Heavens devotion earlier that morning: DIVINE PROVISION. My wife was happy, my children were fed, and my imagination was reinspired to continue dreaming about my long awaited BMW 75……

What is it you’re not wholeheartedly thankful for? Don’t be like the ungrateful broke photographer. Don’t be like Seun Akisanmi. Even if its N350 you have now, be grateful that you’re still in a sane mind to know how to count and what money looks like. Be grateful that you can still use the restroom without anyone assisting you. Be grateful that your eyes can still read to this point. Be grateful that you’re still alive. For only the living can be hopeful. Don’t be ungrateful. Be thankful.

NOTE
If by any chance you want me to come and see you so you can express your appreciation for whatever work I’ve done for you in times past, please be rest assured that I would be very very very very grateful. I have repented. Trust me, I would be very grateful. 🙂

In Prayers & Business


Starting the week with God in prayer and singing was not uncommon, Red 19 was on ground to head the session, Mr Seun Akisanmi had ended the prayers with his poetic-like lines. The first and the only regular meeting of the week had begun, everyone with one or two words; one two three the ball was passed and in few minutes to the hour the meeting was over.

Our usual training session had started with Sal Cincotta, a video session of about 29hrs, the thing was to break it down and take the dose of photography and business bit after bit. The Basic business principle was explained; either in photography or any other it’s all same: pricing, marketing, target market and the face of the brand. During the period one could easily behold himself as in a mirror. The description of a man who enjoys creative and passionate of his craft, he set out on a business venture to make earning, in no time he soon becomes aware of the enormity of the task he has embarked on and that business is business. His emotion and sentiment had brought him nowhere. The business is riddled with the passion of the craft, family and friend factor, and the face of undesired and undeserved clients. He is faced with mounting bills and cost, and the craft had brought him no farther than he thought.

Video classes are not uncommon with the foreign artist, and so much for download on youtube and some other video platforms. Majority are centered on camera techniques and skills, posing techniques and its likes, and just a little on doing the business of photography, getting to see the video was just it, and no much fun can be than to listen to the artist with much of the understanding of the business.

Sal Cincotta is very successful business owner and the owner of the Salvatour Cincotta photography. He turned pro back in 2007/2008, and made successes in the business of photography. His business had a time declared 1 million dollars in the year 2014 as revenue.

Snapshot was a part of the week of business of photography. We had hosted him to facilitate a class on the Tuesday. We suspended our video lecture and justify his presence with the attention of our team to his knowledge and experience. His local perspective was best right on time, no better time to share his over five year’s journey. One of the high point was to him making money and improving his art without a sense of direction and vision. At a point he made up his mind to take up the full-time role of an artist after a period of about four years and his journey had been much adventurous.

One or two things to pick, sometimes we tend not to agree their perspective of life, but they have a message and the result is evident. Mr Seun had made arrangement for us to be part of the seminar down on the island; Sottu was on ground to discuss business. The talk had ended with just little on the business and more on his techniques and portfolio. His openness to show his pricing and his packages was it for me. The bottom line is Sottu has just decided to join the league of the few who are committed and passionate about helping the upcoming.

IT IS SCRAP


“Do not blame the rich, they do not know how it feels to be poor.” That is the interpretation I gave to the outburst of a speaker at the summit I attended recently, saying cameras that are not high ends are scraps. But he failed to teach us how to get there. As much as I agree that a very good and very expensive gears kill the job for you as a photographer, you do not get to access such gears at startup except you have a rich family background. So how do you save up to acquire the “high ends” if not by using the “scraps,” which makes great images as well; after all, the camera only makes the image your eyes already saw.

I suppose he is one of the rich dudes that started out as a big boy. I sincerely did not get his point because not even he will lend out his “high-end” gear to a newbie photographer, so how does a “not privileged” newbie pull through? Really, I am grateful for the foundational education in eloPhotos, very balanced I must say.

Analysing Bayo Omoboriowo and his philanthropic photography was a high point in the week for me. Yes I call a philanthropist; His foresight is deep, his interest and commitment to things and people is impressively genuine. So many of us photographers pursue money, but he personifies the saying; “Pursue your passion and success/money will follow you pants down.” The whole event of “The Coversation”/Book launch held at the Presidency showcased his high level of wisdom,value-adding attribute, forward thinking, humility, human relations… I can go on and on, the guy
captured my heart. And all these attributes did not just jump on him as the presidential photographer, he has upheld these values and the philanthropic nature since when he was a street photographer, had a personal experience with him back in the years. Something cuts at me, who does that? Giving all the proceeds from his book launch to IDPs (Internally Displaced Persons).

All the efforts, all the calibre of people who attended the event and their supposed depth of donations! Who does not like money, not even in this recession. It reiterated the truth that; “Joy is not defined by wealth, it is contentment that has its key,” and “wealth is not in money, but how many lives you affected positively.”

October 1st won’t leave my mind in a haste, not just because it was Nigeria’s Independence, but this contentment thing that brings joy confronted me again. Took out time with some younger friends to go visiting some families unannounced, just to show some love. Touched quite a number of places but one stood out. More than meeting a full house (the whole family members were present), much more than meeting them eating, the aura in the home lighted my heart. Even though we were getting tired by then because of moving from one place to the other, we were energized by the so much love in the family. They were not the “rich” that had varieties to munch, they did not have beautifully painted walls, well tiled floors or beautiful sofas, but they had joy.

We actually met all of them; Dad, mum and four well-built young men eating “garri (cassava flakes) and beans” from the same plates, gisting and laughing over the meal. Wow! I felt that was awesome and will be more tasteful than eating “fried rice and chicken” crampy. They were all very friendly and funny, I sincerely loved what I saw. Contentment is sure a virtue to be valued in life.

I am not sure going to stop taking life lessons as I, Mosopefoluwa Onanusi, savor my photography skill learning.

Attached are pictures taken last week. Do let me know what you think of them

evening-sky-ait-rd-6 evening-sky-ait-rd-10 macror-1 rainbow-after-rain-ait-rd

The N100k I LOST


As happy and motivated as I was, I dashed my dreams and disappointed myself. I had a hundred
thousand naira within my grasp and on a platter, all I needed to do was complete a simple task of
negotiating for a particular commodity for a particular price and redeem the N100K prize but
unfortunately I was unable to complete the said task. The situation was and is so disheartening that I
can’t even explain the details without shedding a tear. The fact that I lost the money is not as hurting as
not being able to complete the task.

The week brought a lot of lessons along while coming; having not to cover an event for a cousin was a
big deal for me and became a platform to learn something new. I kind of had a soft spot for her and
didn’t even charge her a reasonable amount because she’s family, unfortunately she wanted a free job. I
really don’t understand why because I also used to have that mindset before that if my family member
ran a business I should pay less or nothing to get their services or goods, now it seems difficult for me to
charge a family member but this issue is something that is needed to be really dealt with if not, one will
soon run out business.

We have been watching a video on Sal Cincotta’s lecture on the business of photography and among all
that I’ve been learning, he said we shouldn’t feel bad for charging what we charge as photographers and
as business persons generally but should be confident to charge what we as well as our service is worth.
He also gave us tips on how to transform our business from the ordinary to an outstanding business
outfit. As much as it sounded harsh and not nice the Business tips from Sal Cincotta plus admonitions
from my boss came in handy for the negotiation with my cousin during the week because I probably
would have done the job for free on her own terms not mine.

We also had a guest lecturer over during the course of the week in the person of Adesanmi Oguntade of
Snaptures Photography. He shared his experiences with us regarding how he ventured into photography
to escape a certain academic frustration but it turned out not bad, he shared how he had failed and
excelled thus far in his photography career. I also learnt the principle of low-end customers and how
they can proportionate to great business transactions. Often times we neglect marketing to a set of
people thinking that the other set cannot afford to hire us, of course not everyone is your client, but we
can even make transform people into marketing for us without directly rendering a substantial service
to them.

My name is Enor Izomor and I’m proud to be female photographer interning at eloPhotos Academy.

Caught In A WEB


He just stood there still as a rock. He should fight for his life, struggle his way out of that unfavorable situation; I expect that he’d at least give it a try. Still he was still; I stopped to ponder for a minute, he didn’t seem to be worried about the situation he was in.

Why wasn’t he worried? Why wasn’t he devastated? Why wasn’t he struggling his way out? Why? Why? Why?

I had been in this place called Akonko, somewhere in south-western Nigeria, since the day before and seeing the lifestyle of the people in this village I was marveled; nothing like I’d ever seen before. They were so carefree and not tensed unlike the city I live in where even the oxygen we breathe in is tensed. I’ve said it times and again that if there’s a reason to worry, then these people had more than enough reasons. Where there is no electricity, no good drinking water, no health care facility, no internet or mobile network source, school fees worth less than N1k seems unaffordable, schools are equal to a dead end and a lot more that can’t be written; I think there’s no better definition for misery than these but ironically these people didn’t see it as that but were even more carefree than people that had all that and more.

This butterfly was caught in a web and when I expected it to be worried and struggle its way out of the web, it just stood there and watched in patience. I’m guessing it had earlier been struggling and fighting to get out of the web and that didn’t seem to be working so he opted to try a calmer and stress-less method, it’s just a guess but I suppose the worry-free spirit was abundant in the village called Akonko where I captured this butterfly.

Relating this to our lives, as long as man lives there will always be reasons to worry and when you try worrying does it work? I can say 99% of the time it doesn’t work except you’re banking on the negligible 1%; so I was thinking why not emulate the Akonko approach and try the calmer method. It’ll cost you nothing to try anyway; let’s reduce the hypertension in the world and loosen the web easily, it all begins with you.

Just so you know I released the butterfly afterwards.

butterfly caught in a web in akonko

butterfly caught in a web in akonko