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,
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.