A Tribute To YOU


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I remember waking you up that Monday morning to share with you the dream I just had about you passing on. I remember being upset with you that we did not pray long enough to reject the dream from becoming a reality. I remember you telling me it’s not the length of a prayer that determines whether our FATHER will answer. I remember your calmness amidst my worry.

I remember getting the call few hours later that morning. I remember sitting by your side around 11am with oxygen tank and drips attached to you. I remember you telling me that you came back momentarily to tell me to let you go because your time was up. I remember being too shocked to cry and I am yet to cry the way the world expects. I remember that Monday morning was not the most prophetic and exciting way to start the week. I remember the criticisms, feedbacks, rebukes and advice I received all because I didn’t cry or react the way normal people react when things like this happen. I remember the counsels of psychanalysts, the admonitions of psychologists, the analysis of psychiatrists, and the gossips & gists of every other unqualified ‘gists’. But all the talk was said either because they didn’t know you the way I did or they didn’t understand this perspective of the God we serve.

You’ve been gone 996 days (not that I’ve been counting). You passed the torch to me with 3 angels to care for. Your departure gave me enough reasons to ask HIM why HE took you so soon yet I’ve refused to ask HIM those dreaded-but-well-deserved questions that start with WHY… You’ve been gone but yet I’ve been comforted knowing very well you’re in HEAVEN.

Since you’ve been gone, my relationship with the FATHER has gotten to another level for good. Since you’ve been gone, my understanding of your unconditional LOVE has been clearer. Since you’ve been gone, my definition of WORSHIP has been redefined. Since you’ve been gone, the revelation of what Mary felt when her firstborn was being crucified…. Forgive me, let me get a tissue, I’m getting a little emotional here. Since you’ve been gone, my LOVE for you has grown exponentially.

Sometimes your youngest son, Murewa, asks after his dad and I don’t know what to tell him. Sometimes your firstborn, Fiiresayemi, says he can’t remember your voice anymore and I try to play our wedding video for him. Sometimes your only daughter, Foyinsayemi, just wants to go for a walk down the street to buy groceries with her father but I’m left to be your representative.

Though it’s been 2 years, 8 months, and 10 days (really, I’m not counting) you’ve been on your vacation, I remember today – November 29, 2017 – as the day you would have turned 40 years old. I had planned this day years ago and never envisaged I would witness it in your absence, but then again you’re still present. I would have almost given up, had God not sent an enigmatic photographer my way to celebrate our family in pictures. The ONE that told me He had a hand in all that happened also told me your LIFE WAS A SEED that needed to die so that many will come to the consciousness of HEAVEN.

My prayer is that many will be encouraged to remain in the KINGDOM of this FATHER that makes all things work together for the good of them that love and seek him. My prayer is that many who have lost loved ones will find unexplainable comfort and undeniable peace like I found in the arms of the one I call OLUTUNU. My prayer is that many that see these HEAVENLY pictures that we took together will be reminded of the FACT that there is a place of peace, rest, and joy where those that pass on (I still don’t believe you’re DEAD) abide if they had a relationship with JESUS on this side of eternity.

As you celebrate your 40th birthday in HEAVEN and as we remember today the time you spent with us in years past, may God use these pictures and the blessed memory of you to heal the millions of hearts that see this. Like the unremovable birthmark we all have on our bodies, the memory of YOU & the God we serve will forever be engraved on our hearts. With TEARS in my eyes and joy in my heart, knowing very well that you’re reading this, I want you to know from the depths of my being that I LOVE YOU…. I ALWAYS HAVE AND ALWAYS WILL

Happy Birthday SWEETHEART. Keep resting in the bosom of your LORD.

Eternally Yours,
Your Beautiful Wife,
Funmi Afolarin

#feelfreetoshare

What is life?


Life is beautiful but not always easy. It has problems too; and the challenge lies in facing them with courage, letting the beauty of life act like a balm, which makes the pain bearable during trying times, by providing hope. Happiness and sorrow, victory and defeat, day and night are the
two sides of a coin. Similarly, life is full of moments of joy, pleasure, success and comfort punctuated by misery, defeat, failures and problems. There is no human being on earth; strong, powerful, wise or rich, who has not experienced struggle, suffering or failure.

No doubt, life is beautiful and every moment is a celebration of being alive, but one should be always ready to face adversity and challenges. A person who has not encountered difficulties in life can never achieve success. Difficulties test the courage, patience, perseverance and true character of a human being. Adversity and hardships make a person strong and ready to face the challenges of life with equanimity. There is no doubt that there can be no gain without pain. It is only when one toils and sweats it out that success is nourished and sustained. This reminds me of what Uche James Iroha said, “Money is a graduation of sweat”. Thus, life is not and should not be just a bed of roses; (anyways I really need to sleep on that bed of roses though). Thorns are also a part of it and should be accepted by us just as we accept the beautiful side of life. I came to learn many things from last week activities at the highly esteemed eloPhotos Academy, from discussions, classes and task assigned to me. The thorns remind one of how success and happiness can be evasive and thus not to feel disappointed and disheartened rather remember that the pain of thorns is short-lived, and the beauty of life would soon overcome the prick of thorns. This is the joy I have in heart, that as an intern I will be faced with challenges even from fellow students and the world at large but the ability to endure and conquer it is what makes the best in me glow. Those who are under the impression that life is a bed of roses are disillusioned and soon will become victims of depression and frustration.

One who faces difficulties with courage and accepts success without letting it go to its head is the one who experience real happiness, contentment and peace in life. Those who think that good times last forever easily succumb to pressure during difficulties. They do not put in required hard work and efforts because they break down easily. You can take the example of a student, who burns the mid night oil, makes sacrifices and resists temptations so that he can perform well. Similarly, a successful executive has to face the ups and downs of life, not forgetting that life is a mix of success and failure, joy and sorrow, if he loses hope during difficult times, he would not achieve success and would be replaced by others. Even the strongest Kings and Emperors have had their cup of woes. Life has not been a bed of roses for them.

The adage “Uneasy lays the head that wears the crown” has been rightly used for people, who are successful and are enjoying power and authority. To sum up, life is beautiful just as roses but it has challenges which are like thorns and have to be faced and overcome by all. Those who accept these challenges and succeed are the ones, who know how to live life in its true sense. Thus, enjoy life but also be prepared to bear the pricks of pain before getting to the top. One of the most captivating moment of my life last week was the insight I got from a book I read on photography titled THE SECRET OF DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY.

To end with, I would use the words of my mentor which goes thus, “how much money do you want to make in photography in the next five years?” Some of the answers from my classmates amuses me because when I think to myself

“Does this person have what it takes to rack in this amount of money in the next five years?”

Sad enough, the answer is NO!

So I say this word, NOTHING WORKS ACCORDING TO PLAN IF THERE’S NO PLAN.

I am King Lemuel and I am a photographer.

The Galatians 6:7 Principle


For whoever is a Christian, Gal 6:7 would almost be in your list of well-read scriptures because it has over time, grown into a passage that every Tom, Dick and Harry uses to judge some situations whether they are right or wrong. Galatians 6:7 states that “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.”

I’ve come to understand that if you sow into the life of your mentor, you definitely would reap bountifully. Well, only on the condition that you sow right but then not sowing and sowing right would definitely attract its own fruits which would be the rewards. Many times, you don’t have to do this directly; it can also be done indirectly. There are a million and one ways to sow into the life of a mentor and I’d be listing a few. Paying a token to learn from such a person can be a form of sowing a seed. Buying him or her things is a way of connecting to not only the mentor but the creator of the mentor. Dedicating special time to understanding their vision and also helping them to achieve this is also a way of sowing a seed. It’s a common saying that when you climb on the shoulders of a mentor, you are able to do things more than them not because you are better but because of the pitfalls you have been able to see ahead and avoid as a result of the platform you’ve been raised on. This is also a way of sowing a seed because you promote them and bring out the greatness in them. Giving or sowing now as the topic implies provides the platform to also roll minds with great people; there are many times you get the opportunity to do a few things not really because you are qualified to do such things but because you’ve been able to adequately leverage on the platform that your sowing into the life of your mentor has provided for you.

When we look around us and we talk about great people, there are things that we will notice/observe about such a person be it their awards, financial splendour and the influence. The God that we serve is so great that it is only a fool that will not associate himself with Him. He will never give right to the left and left to the right

Seeds are hard to sow; it’s quite easy to throw the seeds of an orange away than culture it into being a big tree. It’s easier to just spend that money with you than sow it into the life of a mentor. It’s much easier to pray for yourself than involve the name of someone else in your prayers. Seeds are quite hard to sow but the reward is bountiful; so why not face the pain now and enjoy later. Ignore the pain and sow the seed. Ignore the difficulties and sow the seed.

I am Emmanuel Obanijesu Omole and I am a photographer.

The Day I Shot Jesus: Chapter 1


10 MINUTES TO OUR FINAL DESTINATION.” The Captain’s voice made me a little nervous. I had boarded the underground oceanic train that ran across the New Atlantic Ocean. The sight was unbelievable. Who would have thought that an underground train from New York to Israel via the ocean will be feasible. The year was 2137 and I had been commissioned to provide portraits of His Royal Majesty, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, Jesus Christ.

He had seen a portrait I did for prophet Jeremiah & Adam in the year 2136 and had been intrigued. He decided he was due for another session. The last time He had a photo shoot was in 2092 in Israel. I would be the 3rd human being (1st African) to give His Royal Majesty a session. How would I go about it. I wondered what specifically intrigued him about Jeremiah and Adam’s pictures. What a honor indeed it would be to carve a portrait for the one that created my being. Almost as if he could hear my thoughts, he interrupted: PEACE. Suddenly I had this overwhelming peace and confidence that this was indeed one of the reasons he had created me…..for such a session. It would be a session after which the world would see another side of Jesus that they had not seen. More importantly, this would be the first portrait that would be taken by a man and exhibited in the Lord’s Temple in Heaven. What a privilege.

We passed Jerusalem Institute of Technology and I realized I had just 2 more minutes to the underground train’s final destination. I took a last glance at the last portrait that Jesus took. Though blind & crippled in his pre-rapture life, Sou was able to get a portrait of Jesus laughing his heart out. You could see from the picture that the photographer had really said or done something that made the King of Earth burst out in laughter while simultaneously using his hands to cover his eyes. I looked at the scar on His hand. He didn’t have to go to the Cross but I’m glad he did. The picture had gone viral and was still considered the most downloaded “real” picture of Jesus in Human history. Who would have thought Jesus could laugh like that.

I turned to my assistant, Folu, and asked if all was good to go. He replied in the affirmative. He confirmed that the makeup artist had arrived at the New Gate Hotel in Jerusalem. Considered the headquarters of the world, Jerusalem had blossomed (in all spheres) in the last few decades as a result of the physical presence of Jesus.

I took another glimpse of my camera before getting off the train. I had just purchased the new SILT K5 which came with a whopping 2.16 zettapixels image sensor. A picture taken with this baby will result in over 2 billion trillion pixels if I take time to count. That should be enough to document the session. I felt fulfilled knowing that the camera’s first assignment would be to snap the creator of the universe. I smiled.

“Phone call for you sir,” Folu interrupted. It was the makeup artist. She was wondering why we are yet to get to the hotel. “Don’t worry Ofure, we’ll be there in 6 minutes.” I dropped the call and hurriedly boarded the…..

To be continued….

A Day in my Life in 2025: Seun Akisanmi


The following happened on September 16, 2025.

The day began a little late for me. It was quite unusual for me to wake up this late. The time was 7:36am. I was lodged in Sheraton Hotels, Cape Town, South Africa. My body was still getting used to the rigorous trip it had endured in the past 11 days. My flight in the Virgin Galactica had just returned from space the previous night. The past few days will go down in history as one of the most interesting experience a Nigerian could ever have.
I had just returned from a 10 day visit to the International Space Station. I was the first African photographer to have been privileged to make such a trip. Samsung International commissioned me to take pictures with their latest digital SLR technology. They wanted their product – the Samsung Q Ultima – to be the first 142 Megapixel Dslr Camera to take pictures of planet earth from space. Till today, I’m still not sure why they chose me to represent them on this project. Perhaps it’s because I’m the present President of the International Professional Photographers Association. Perhaps it was because I was recently awarded the Leadership Award for Change by the United Nations (first time an African Artist would be given that). Perhaps it was because the partnership we began over 10 years ago had resulted in sales of over 7,250,000 units of their Dslr models.

For whatever reason on earth, I was chosen to be a Samsung Ambassador for this monumental event. I was ecstatic. I checked my 30 TB mobile flash disk to be sure the pictures I took were still intact. It was then I remembered that I didn’t need to stress myself; a backup had already been made on Samsung’s Servers immediately the pictures were being taken from space. You should have seen how Africa looked like in space. The beauty I witnessed while taking pictures from that unique perspective was so overwhelming that I couldn’t hold back the tears. As the tears floated in my cubicle in the 5 seater Virgin Galactica jet, I had quickly repositioned my camera to photograph my first set of tear droplets in space. Looking at the view, I concluded that this is all the atheist needs to see to be convinced that there is a God.

How time flies. It was 9:25am and I was still on my bed viewing the pictures I had taken. It was almost as if I stood beside God to capture the beauty of the planet. And then I remembered I had not chatted with the one person that gave me this platform to be a blessing through my profession. I sat at the edge of my bed and communed with my creator for about 23 minutes.

At 10am I decided to put a call through to my best friend of 19 years & 1 month. Sometimes I wonder why she hadn’t run away all these while when I was attempting to bring to fruition all the dreams I had within. I sure had put her through some hell with the weirdness I manifested. Thank God she stood by me. She was glad I called especially since it was while I was in Space I spoke to her last. “How were the pictures?” “How did you feel when taking the pictures?” Those were usually the first set of questions she hurls at me after every trip. I promised her that my next trip to space will be with her by my side. She told me about my daughter’s (Anuoluwapo) forthcoming graduation at Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville, (SIUE) Illinois, USA.

Anuoluwapo had grown up to be a lady that wanted to be almost everything her dad was. That was the reason she had chosen SIUE to be her only choice of University. She wanted to have a feel of what it must have been like for me attending an American University away from my family. She had applied to study Architectural Entrepreneuring and was graduating at the top of her class with a Bsc degree just barely 3 years after being granted full-scholarship admission. She was doing fine and I was proud of….. I think I’ve drifted off for a while there.

Twas about 11:20am. My flight back to Nigeria was still 7 hours away. My workspace today was going to be in my hotel room on the 43rd floor. I had to put a call through to Samsung Town in Seoul (South Korea) to speak with the new Chairman of Samsung International (previously called Samsung Electronics). The grand-nephew of Samsung founder, Lee Byung-chul, Susan Waters was excited to hear my voice. She mentioned a 2 of the pictures I took of Nigeria from space and told me that the pictures had gone viral. The new definition of viral was having over 50,000 views per minute; the pictures had been viewed on Samsung’s site over 3.89 billion times. For a period of 3 days, the picture of Nigeria became the spotlight of the world.

Around noon, I checked my email only to discover that I had over 3552 new mails waiting for me. WOW. I had only been gone from earth for less than 2 weeks and I’m getting this much mail. I spent the next 30 minutes sifting through the mails to see the key ones I would reply immediately. My personal assistant will help read the rest.

Two of the mails that stood out caught my attention. One was from the British Government and the other was from the office of the Sultan of Brunei. The British Government was inviting me for the 5 years celebration of the new King on the throne. I would be coming on board as one of the 3 official photographers of the event (a privilege that was being extended to a non-british citizen for the first time). The Sultan of Brunei wanted a portrait session for the 4 ministers he just appointed. He insisted on working with me because he had seen some of the works I did for his friend, the Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

It is such a privilege to have worked with leaders in different parts of the globe. And to think that this same photography was what my parents discouraged me from embarking on. Now the same parents are my number 1 fans. Talk of parents, its been 2 weeks I called them. At about 1:03pm, I called to say hello and mum couldn’t help but ask her usual questions: “Hope you’re eating well”, “Hope you’re using your multi-vitamins?” Dad always seemed to talk for just about 2 minutes on the phone. Perhaps he reckoned that I should have other matters to attend to than to be talking to him. But what other matters will matter when I’m unable to spend time chatting or being with my immediate family.

At about 2pm, I remembered that I had forgotten to eat breakfast. I always hate having to spend time to eat. I walsys thought it was a waste of time. Perhaps one day, there will be a pill I can take daily to replace having to spend at least 1 hour daily eating. It was the headache that reminded me. Whenever I had head aches, it was usually because I had not eaten or I had not slept for 2 days. I ordered for plantain and eggs and decided to take my Centrum multivitamins.

While eating my “break-lunch”, I remembered that it was one of my closest friend and fan’s birthday. Tcrown. I have been privileged to work with so many people over the years but Tcrown was one person I’m glad our paths crossed. She worked with me for a few years before deciding to head the media department in a new TV station that had just opened in Lagos.

In collaboration with her husband, I had planned the gift I would give her on this faithful day months ahead. I put a call through to her mobile line, one of the 9 numbers I had grown accustomed to having in my memory. She was at work and was about going for her lunch break. I wished her Happy Birthday and told her to open the envelope that a DHL delivery man was holding at the doorstep of her office. I wish I was there in person. Her scream almost deafened my ears. I had put in a small envelope the keys to the new solar-powered 2024 BMW 340i. I told her the keys would open and kick-start the “gift” that was packed outside her office. Solar powered cars were in vogue and I had gotten the BMW 540i model earlier in the year for my wife. I don’t know what’s with me and the giving of cars as gifts. Anyway, I’m sure her phone scream really meant she appreciated it. I thanked her for her years of supporting my NiPHEC (Nigeria Photography Expo & Conference) dream and wished her many more years to come.

Twas 3:15pm. I spent the next 40 minutes quickly sending emails to my inner circle friends: Shola Animashaun, Femi Adewuyi, Dare Tanimomo, Emmanuel Effiong-Bright, Ronke Alao, Tunde Ojikutu, Theophilus Emmanuel, Joe McNally, Aisha Augie-Kuta, Ebenezer Akisanmi & my 4 supportive Tee siblings. Keeping in touch had been a weakness I was working on and spending 10-20 minutes every week emailing them was a way to let them know I appreciate them and still haven’t forgotten them.

About 4pm, I put a call through to Steven Spielberg. He had been instrumental in shaping my entry in the world of cinematography. We chatted for about 15 minutes and we tried to iron out some of the details of my 3rd film that he was Executively Producing. It would be the screenplay for the New York Times best seller “From Prison to Photography”: a book I published about 10 years earlier chronicling my journey from an American prison to a world-class photographer. We still had not come up with the title for the movie but he promised to get back to me the following week with any latest development. Before I ended the call, I asked if he’ll be chanced to be one of our keynote speakers at NiPHEC 2026. I mentioned that he’ll be talking extensively on the relationship between Photography & Cinematography and where technology is heading for individuals in both industries. He said he’ll check his schedule and get back to me by the next day.

Twas about 4:20pm. I started packing my stuff to head for the airport. I was so eager to return home. No place like Lagos, Nigeria. It had grown to be the 2nd largest city in the world and the largest in Africa. And I was right at the centre of it all. I got to the airport in time to rest at the airport lounge and read 2 of the books I had purchased 3 weeks earlier: Jide Alakija’sThe Chronicles” and Nike Adeyemi’s “Once upon a Mother“.

My flight eventually boarded around 6:30pm and I was a little surprised by the reception I was given. Apparently almost everyone at the airport and airline knew me to be the photographer that shot the picture of Nigeria from space that was currently going “viral”. I try many times to make sure all those admiration and greetings don’t enter my head. My head was already big enough and I didn’t want to be having more headaches as a result of a swollen ego because I was now a considered a “super celebrity”. Who comes up with these words anyways.

I was sitted by my favorite spot in the plane: the first class window seat A2. Looking out of the window, I couldn’t help but think back over the last 17 years of living on this great planet. The flight attendant went over her usual takeoff protocol and all I could do was stared out the window until my eyes got teary and I couldn’t help but say it from the depths of my heart: THANK GOD (OLUWASEUN)

At 7:30pm, the Virgin Atlantic flight took off heading for Nigeria. Apparently I was wrong to think that my body had adjusted and rested enough. Within minutes, I was fast asleep…..only to wake up in Lagos Nigeria.

The time is 2:44am, September 17, 2025 and I’m waiting for my colleague, Oyebola Famuyiwa, to pick me up at the Lekki International Airport. My name is Seun Akisanmi and more than ever before I’m proud to be a PHOTOGRAPHER.
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Plan to take a photography course at eloPhotos Academy. Visit eloPhotos Academy for a detailed list of options of classes to take. It will be the best investment you’ll make in your journey to photography greatness.

10 Years a Photographer


Fantastic,
wonderful,
this is beautiful,
lovely,
wow,
Seun, you’re too much…

These were some of the words being hurled at me by my 72 year-old grand-aunt when I delivered an album to her last week. The album was for the 80-year-old celebration of her husband. We delivered along with the album a type of frame she had never seen in her life: a 3D frame.

As she embarrassed me with the comments she hurled at me, I couldn’t help but express my shyness. I felt like a 2-year-old being admired as a beautiful princess by her dad. I felt happy, I felt shy. I felt speechless. Or what words could I have used to reply her?

It was then I remembered. I remembered sitting right in front of the same woman sometime in 2004. This time she was giving me the counsel of life. It was in 2004 I had told my dad that I neither wanted to pursue my accounting career nor did I want to do my NYSC. It was a blasphemous declaration and my father reported me to a few respectable family members to “talk sense” into my BIG head. So in 2004, I found myself in front of my grand-aunt receiving admonitions on why Accounting is a better career to pursue than Photography.

At the memory of the 2004 meeting, the words came out of my mouth without much thought: “And to think that this was the same profession you were advising me to give up in 2004”. She replied in a repentant way that she didn’t know this was the type of photography I meant.

Its been a while I felt that much fulfillment. Knowing that I pursued my heart’s passion instead of the career that would please my parents… Knowing that the same parents that were against the “photography career” have been my number 1 referrers… Knowing that the same grand-aunt that discouraged me from pursing photography is the same one of whom I’ve made over N500k from…. Knowing that I probably would not have made that much money from her alone if I were an Accountant. I felt fulfilled knowing that I had been photographing for over 10 years without any regrets whatsoever. My only regret might be the fact that I didn’t study photography in the University. But then all things work together for good.

The next day, I headed to the cinemas to watch what would later turn out to be one of the best movies I’ve ever seen in my 35 years on earth: 12 years a Slave. To think that was once the history of man. I was ashamed of the way I cried at the cinema. Watching the roll of credit of the 310+ people who made the film a reality, I found myself having a prayer meeting in the cinema hall, crying and wailing (as if a loved one had died in a fatal accident) and pleading wholeheartedly to God to use me to be an instrument of change in this generation with emphasis on the photography industry. My heart was overwhelmed. My heart was encouraged.

More than ever before, I knew that I was placed in the photography industry for such a time as this. And its only a matter of time before people realize that God can use anyone, regardless of their background or past, to impact a generation, a country or an industry.

Its been over 10 years that I’ve been a photographer and if I had to go back in time to start all over again, I’ll still choose photography as a profession. Ultimately, I’m confident that one day I’ll be the official photographer in heaven when the ultimate Wedding of all Ages will be happening. Till then, let’s start with the raising of 10,000 world-class photographers one day at a time. Till then, let’s start with the Nigeria Photography Expo & Conference.

Till then, I remain Seun Akisanmi…..and I’m proud to be a photographer.
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Plan to take a photography course at eloPhotos Academy. Visit eloPhotos Academy for a detailed list of options of classes to take. It will be the best investment you’ll make in your journey to photography greatness

….And then She KISSED me


Earlier this month, I was invited by the leadership of Daystar Christian Centre to render one of my poems at their forthcoming Excellence in Leadership Conference. It was a privilege to be given the opportunity to bless thousands of people with a 5-minute rendition that was composed almost a decade earlier in my time of pain.

November 6 arrived and I found myself on the “pulpit” at approximately 10:58am. After reciting a poem that was appropriate for the theme of the conference (Corruption-Free Leadership), the applause and “congratulatory” messages I got was overwhelming. All of a sudden, it SEEMED I had become a celebrity overnight. One of my colleagues at work later told me that he got up at the end of the recitation and shouted (to the “pretty” lady beside him) “THAT IS MY BOSS RIGHT THERE”.

seun akisanmi excellence in leadership conference

With Pastor Sam Adeyemi giving me a handshake, Pastor Nike Adeyemi giving me a thumbs up, Fela Durotoye asking for my contact details…..I wondered what was it really that I did that touched their hearts. Whatever it was, it was titled “Corruption: Not an Option” and it resonated a determination within the hearts of the audience that it was possible to live a life void of corruption in a corruption-congested society.

And so it happened that as I attended Day 2 of the conference, I met one of my photography protégé at the entrance of the church building. Before I could say “Hi”, she hugged me and gave me a kiss on my right cheek. I was shy, I felt nervous, I was awe-struck. “That was the first time I’ll see you recite a poem on stage and I just want you to know that I’m proud of you and I’ve missed you”. Those were her words.

If you were eavesdropping on the 40 seconds encounter we had together, you would have thought that Seun Akisanmi was having an affair with someone who couldn’t make it a secret anymore. It all happened so fast that I didn’t see it coming. “Thank God” was all I could say to her. Perhaps it felt more awkward because I was carrying my 235-days-old daughter and she was staring at this aunty that just gave her dad a kiss. I could have sworn that my daughter thought she was my girlfriend.

In a way I could sense the state of her heart….the lady’s heart, that is. She was proud to be associated with someone she would consider a success & role-model by her definition. I knew she had no “corrupt” motives. But then it got me thinking. With this level of fame, it would be easy for me to get into an extra-marital affair with a lady that holds me in such high esteem. Afterall, some of our leaders in church & society seem to be doing it. Instead of saving her real name on my phone, I’ll probably just save it as “Akeem Battery-Charger” or “Gas Cooker Messenger” so that my wife will not be suspicious. Infact, with a church of this size I could easily have 7 girlfriends that will be servicing me for each different day of the week. It will be so easy.

And then it occurred to me that “whatsoever is hidden shall be brought to light” and that it will only take a matter of time for the thing I do in the “secret places” to be made manifest to the world. Just like the poetry recitation was able to reach over 10,000 people within a 5minute time frame (though no one saw me when I was composing it in October 2004), my act of “corruption” would reach a greater number at a faster rate. I made a decision that in my marriage, corruption will not be an option.

Subsequently I realized the burden & pressure that is being placed unconsciously on people that are regarded as stars, role-models or celebrities. People expect a higher standard of living from their role-models. Consequently, I now have to think twice (& sometimes thrice) before doing things like beating the traffic light, urinating in public places or “fighting” with a driver that just collided with my 2012 BMW 540i ActiveHybrid car. That really got me thinking.

Consequently, I made a resolution that no KISS or LADY or JOB or PERSON or SITUATION will be given the authority to mar the great destiny that awaits me. I know it won’t be easy and that’s why I’ll deliberately surround myself with people and resources that will help me to declare BOLDLY without any compromise that CORRUPTION WILL NOT BE AN OPTION.

 

“PUNISHMENTS” We Endured While Growing Up in NIGERIA


I recently embarked on a project to document the exercises (punishments) some of us endured while growing up. Thanks to the parents, teachers, uncles & cousins that gave us such as punishments, some of us can never be FAT in our lives. The “poses” depicted in these pictures might seem normal to you. However, you’ll realize they’re sweat-provoking once you replicate it for 10 minutes or more. Even our model Emmanuel Omole was almost giving up on us. Please kindly mention the EXERCISE you were given the most while growing up. Mine was number 8, 9 and 12. Kindly help with the names also.
Nigerian punishments (1)

Nigerian punishments (2)

Nigerian punishments (3)

When Parents Are WRONG For The RIGHT Reasons


Recently I met with a parent who wanted to send his daughter to eloPhotos Academy. She had recently finished her WAEC exams and was waiting to do another exam next year. In the words of the parent, “we want her to while away time doing photography”.

I explained to the man that the training we offer is not for people who want to while away time. The training program offered at eloPhotos Academy is for those who have made a deliberate and conscious decision to follow diligently the pathway of photography till they discover the beauty of the light at the end of the tunnel. I told the parent that his investment in the training will be worthwhile if photography was what the daughter wanted as compared to forcing her to go and learn photography just to pass away time.

I would eventually ask the potential student why she was considering coming for a training in photography. Her response was surprisingly short: “that’s what they want me to do”. Something about the tone and mannerism that was expressed by her gave me the indication that eloPhotos Academy won’t enjoy training such a person.

Gone are the days when parents will instill their career of choice upon their children under the guise of “obey your parents in the Lord”. Gone are the days when most parents dreams & prayer is for their children to grow up to become doctors, lawyers, architects and bankers. If a child in 1980 were to declare to his parents that he wanted to be a comedian when he was grown, the parents might either give him “igbati”, cast out the demon in the child, or declare that their child was JOKING. We all know that now the comedy industry isn’t a joke.

Getting an education is good and I’m sure most parents mean well. What isn’t good is to ignore the innate abilities of a child and instill into their hearts the career we UNCONSCIOUSLY SELFISHLY want. The boy that seems to be prone to “destroying” gadgets as a small boy might be showing traits of an engineer. Such a child would most likely be unfulfilled if he ends up in the banking industry regardless of the money he makes.

This is the reason why I don’t shout on my daughter when it seems as if she’s talking “too much” or asking too much questions. Who knows, she might end up being a lawyer instead of the photographer that her dad is or the makeup artist that the mum is.

For this reason, we’ve added a pre-requisite assignment that must be done before we can consider admitting anyone to the 6 months program we run. One must write a 500-words minimum article on what a day in one’s life will be in 2020. There’s a probability that if you can’t see yourself in the 2020 photography industry, then perhaps spending 6 months in a photography school might not be a worthwhile use of your time especially if you just finished accumulating over 20 years of education.

I have a funny feeling we might not be admitting the daughter whose parents are forcing her to come study photography. As much as we need the money they’ll be paying, we’ll be saving the parents N150k of their money to use for other things. I’ll prefer if the desire to learn photography is coming from the daughter’s heart as compared to coming from the parents’ heart. But then again, what do I know: I’m just an accounting graduate who happens to find fulfillment in walking in his dream career: PHOTOGRAPHY
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Plan to take a photography course at eloPhotos Academy. Visit eloPhotos Academy for a detailed list of options of classes to take. It will be the best investment you’ll make in your journey to photography greatness

Discovering the Customer-Service at DiscoveryAir


A few weeks ago, a colleague of mine recommended that I try out an airline that opened for business in June. He was so impressed with the customer-service that was extended to him during his trip to Abuja that he demanded that I give them a try.

I eventually flew with them and discovered that although they were not flying with BRAND NEW planes, the customer service I got made me feel BRAND NEW. No, this isn’t a paid advert by the company. I just thought that people out there – especially those that fly with companies like Aero-contractors who have repeatedly proven that they can treat customers anyhow – should know that they have a new option when it comes to traveling by air.

I wasn’t surprised when I checked to see that the flight was almost filled. And it wasn’t filled with people that were traveling by air for the very first time. I’m guessing that customers of other airlines decided to try DiscoverAir and see if they will get a better experience from what they were used to.

A better experience I eventually got. I even had to take a picture of the food pack just so that I can have enough evidence against them the day they decide to “reduce” the contents of the meal they give customers on board.

The last time I got such customer service was when I visited Transcorp Hilton Hotel (Abuja) in 2007. If they keep it up, I sense that one or two airlines that we’re all familiar with will eventually close business. I think you should try it out and feel free to drop you comments here if you were treated well or not. Just check them out at discoverair.com.ng and do let me know what your experience was like.


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Plan to take a photography course at eloPhotos Academy. Visit eloPhotos Academy for a detailed list of options of classes to take. It will be the best investment you’ll make in your journey to photography greatness

YOU’RE AN ANIMAL


It was sometime in 1990. Twas either a Tuesday or a Thursday…can’t remember the specific day. It happened during lunch break in my secondary school. I was in JSS 1.

While growing up in the Akisanmi household, we were mandated to follow ardently the food timetable that had been meticulously crafted out by my mum. Tuesday and Thursdays were the days we had beans for lunch or dinner. On Tuesday & Thursday school days, our lunch packs were packed with beans & plantain (or garri). Unlike the other richer kids in International School (UNILAG), I wasn’t privileged to have been given an exorbitant amount to spend on food during lunch break; sometimes I took lunch packs, other times I was given “enough” money.

On that faithful day, beans was my portion for lunch. After covering the beans in a “planta butter” container for over 4 hours (we usually left the house by 6:30am), I proudly opened the cover to descend on the contents within. Upon opening the white cover, a sour aroma filled the 45-pupil-capacity classroom. My then-bestfriend Dipo frowned and covered his nose at the scent of the aroma.

It was at that moment that my classmate, Lanre, made the statement that will lead to the name I was popularly known by in school.

“I HOPE YOU’RE NOT GOING TO EAT THAT”, he screamed. I assured him that I was going to do justice to the beans regardless of the aromatic stench that filled the atmosphere.
After putting a full spoon of the beans in my mouth, he said something I might never forget: YOU’RE AN ANIMAL. He shouted at the top of his voice to the hearing of everyone in class. A few of his friends started shouting ANIMAL repetitively as if it was rap sentence in MC Hammer’s album. That was how I was eventually tagged “ANIMAL”. I was the guy that eats “expired” beans. For the next 5 years, I would be known more as ANIMAL than Seun Akisanmi.

If you had visited my class during my secondary school days, you might have had a difficult time locating me if you were asking who Seun Akisanmi was. But if you had mentioned that you were looking for ANIMAL, your search would have led you straight to JSS 1 Gold.

It wasn’t until recently when I visited memory lane that I realize how derogatory that nickname was. Because I didn’t have the characteristics of a “G” (the term that was used to describe someone who had money, girls and every thing that would make them invitable to all the parties in town), I would eventually discover that people like me did not deserve to flow with the big boys in school.

I would eventually become a messenger to some of my classmates in an attempt to be considered cool. If Olumide or Damilola needed to buy donuts & AfriCola at the kiosk, I would gladly offer to go because these were to coolest guys in school then. Ofcourse they bought food for me also and I was happy to be called ANIMAL by most of them.

Fast forward to 2014. I’ve backslided 12+ times, managed over 5 companies, been depressed countless times, attempted suicide twice, been to prison once….in short, I’ve been and done many things I’m not necessarily proud of. One thing I’m grateful for however is the fact that I’m still alive. It is memories like the ANIMAL season that makes me determined to make an impact in the lives of people that might have been considered ANIMALS, stupid, incompetent, ugly, idiots, dullards, lousy or mad.

I’ve learnt so much about history to know that most of the people that have made positive impacts in history have been given one or more of the aforementioned nicknames (and in most cases, they were rightly called so). That is why I enjoy teaching the class of 8 & 9 year olds in my church. That is why I encourage many parents that their “troublesome” child is a great person in the making….if only they can see.

Its been an adventurous journey on this planet thus far and I’m wholeheartedly grateful for the many challenges & blessings that have come my way. If you’re one of those that have been given nicknames that isn’t befitting of the person whose image you were created in, know that a great destiny awaits you if you faint not. At the end of the day, you’ll realize that truly ALL THINGS WORK TOGETHER FOR YOUR GOOD.

I’m not perfect. I still have issues (just ask my wife and my first daughter). But I know that if I stay focused on being a blessing to my generation (and generations to come) through my photography, poetry & teaching gifts, people will say my name from the depths of their hearts each time they think of me: OLUWASEUN (Thank God)….
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Plan to take a photography course at eloPhotos Academy. Visit eloPhotos Academy for a detailed list of options of classes to take. It will be the best investment you’ll make in your journey to photography greatness

Dad, My Leg Is Hurting Me


That was the sentence hurled at me by my 300week old daughter. We were on our daily trip from her school to the house when the bus dropped us at the junction of our final destination. “Daddy, I said my leg is hurting,” she murmured as if I didn’t hear her the first time.

So what do you want me to do about it?
She answered my question by repeating her statement. We would eventually walk the 4-minute-long trip to the house. I felt within me that since a requisition had not been made, I wasn’t obliged to do anything. Usually in time past, I would carry her 25 kg weight on my 65 kg body while happily walking the 55 metre distance to her 6 by 4 ft bed. But on that day, she would cry & grumble while she walked the entire distance.

The next day, after getting down from the same similar bus, she would hurl the exact same sentence at me. "Daddy, my leg is hurting me”. (At this junction, its important to note that nothing is wrong with her legs, she just likes the idea of me carrying her on my back each time we’re approaching the house).

“So what do you want me to do about it?”
She proceeded to speak the words that I wished she had spoken the previous day. “PLEASE CARRY ME“.
I was touched. Almost moved to tears. As I happily carried her on my back for the rest of the mini-marathon back to the house, I thought of how many of us have approached our mentors or God with the complaints of the problem we’re going through instead of asking for the specific HELP that we want.

I thought of the many times that I would complain to God that I was broke instead of asking him for ideas that will make me rich. I thought of my protege that was complaining about too many photographers in Nigeria instead of him to ask for strategies that will make him stand out of the lot. I thought of the many times I complained to God or people about the many wrongs in our great country…..instead of just praying for wisdom and courage to be a solution provider. And then I found myself at the doorstep of where I call HOME.

Dropping Anuoluwapo from my back, I assured her of my love for her. I told her not to be afraid to ask me for whatever she wanted (though I must admit that the requisitions can be sometimes annoying). I told her that its my desire to make sure I do my best to put a smile on her face and fulfillment in her soul. And it was at that moment I could sense God saying the very same words to me.

Once again, this might not be a message for only photographers. However, the message ought to be clear: “Complaining” & "Murmuring” won’t get you far. Start ASKING for the specific HELP you need and start BECOMING a solution provider to your generation.

Ask & you shall receive, seek & you shall find, knock & the door shall be opened unto you…….
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Plan to take a photography course at eloPhotos Academy. Visit eloPhotos Academy for a detailed list of options of classes to take. It will be the best investment you’ll make in your journey to photography greatness

POOR PEOPLE DON’T LIVE HERE


Earlier this year, I was privileged to have been invited by Yetunde Babaeko to her house for a “small” social gathering. Apparently she didn’t like the way top photographers only saw each other during NiPHEC 2013; she wanted to create a networking atmosphere where we could keep in touch with each other without having to wait for a conference gathering like NiPHEC.

Present at the friday night gathering were photography mentors like Kelechi Amadi-Obi, Leke Adenuga, Seyi Body-Lawson & Uche James Iroha. Looking back, I’m not sure what exactly I had done or achieved to have been invited to such a meeting…..but that’s a thought for another day. It will turn out to be quite an insightful networking experience that I’m glad I was present at.

I listened ardently to the gist every other photographer was bringing to the table. From SEX to cigarettes to clubbing in New York to photographing stingy clients….it was as if I was in a seminar titled “How Great Photographers Think”. As if trying to soak in everyone’s gist, I found out in retrospect that the words of my mouth were few that night. I was there to appreciate and know more about how these photography colleagues of mine THINK. I had no regrets whatsoever.

I particularly enjoyed almost every discussion Kelechi Amadi-Obi brought to the table. Although some of our values were not in total alignment, I found myself praying to God for a mind as crazily creative as Kelechi’s. One of the experiences he shared with us was about his experience with a particular security man about a decade ago.

In what seemed like an attempt to understand how the rich think, Kelechi decided (in the early 2000s) that he would use the services of a creche located inside Shonibare Estate in Maryland. For those of us that might not know, owning a property in Shonibare Estate implies directly or indirectly that your net worth is over N1billion: only the rich live there.

The security men at the entrance of the estate would easily identify someone who doesn’t live in the estate by the type of car the person was driving. In those days, the reputation Kelechi’s car had was nothing to write home about. Nevertheless, he knew what he was looking for by attempting to “enter” the inner circle environs of the rich.

On one particular day, a security man stopped him at the 2nd entrance of the estate and after a quick psychological analysis of Kelechi & his car he blurted out (perhaps without much thought) “Poor People Don’t Live Here….where are you going?” He then told Kelechi that people like him (I.e. Kelechi) are not welcomed in a rich man’s estate like Shonibare Estate. Besides, he continued, that particular entrance was strictly for the use of residents of the estate. After much pleading by Kelechi to enter the estate (because he was going to pick up his child from the creche situated within), the security man insisted that he should turn back and use the main entrance.

Kelechi was offended especially because he felt that the economy status of the security man did not warrant him to make such a statement especially since he (I.e. The security man) was not considered to be in the class of rich men. He would think of what to do to make him realize that “Kelechi isn’t a poor man” (though his car might suggest otherwise).

The next day, Kelechi decided to use the same entrance where he was denied entrance. Upon discovering that the security man in question was not on duty, he gave those on duty N1000 and told them to have a great day. The day after, he did the same thing. On the third day, upon arriving at the same entrance and meeting the security man, Kelechi willingly put his “rich” car in reverse and headed for the next entrance. While reversing he noticed that the other security men were pleading with him to go ahead and enter but Kelechi would not bend to their pleas because according to the “rich” security man, “Kelechi was a poor man”.

Kelechi continued with his plan for about a week until the other security men started getting angry with their colleague for insulting a “rich” man like Kelechi in such a manner. Apparently, even the rich residents of the estate don’t tip them in such a way and here comes someone that treats them “well” but is being denied entrance by one security man because he didn’t have a beautiful car. Eventually the same security man approached Kelechi and apologized for making such a blasphemous statement. Kelechi’s point had settled in.

The moral of the story might not necessarily have anything to do with photography but I got an insight on how to handle situations in a non-conventional (but creative) way. You might take this the wrong way but I thought within myself that what Kelechi did was wisdom. He used wisely his actions to prove wrongly what someone said about him. I learnt that one shouldn’t be quick to reply people’s accusations with words. In most cases, its wiser to “do” than to “say“. If people “say” you’re a fool, prove them wrong by your “actions“. If people say you’re “poor“, let the combination of all your actions ultimately make them regret saying that.

Ofcourse, the ultimate wisdom is to realize that you can’t be stopping at every junction in life to be “proving” yourself to people that might think otherwise. Just focus on doing what you know how to do best and eventually they will see the results of your labour and change their minds about what they “thought” or “said” you were. Some people thought photography as a profession was going to be my worst decision ever. The same people that “thought” that have paid me millions of Naira for my photography services.

Enough of my babbling. Whenever you meet people that think you don’t deserve something, take it as an encouragement “pill” to make you focus on your vision and destiny. Ultimately and in due season, those who thought you don’t deserve it will realize that its actually people like you (Yes, YOU) that really deserve it.
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Plan to take a photography course at eloPhotos Academy. Visit eloPhotos Academy for a detailed list of options of classes to take. It will be the best investment you’ll make in your journey to photography greatness

WANTED URGENTLY: Friends With HIV


It is with a heavy heart I write this advertisement. Seriously, my heart is heavy. Heavy for the fact that many of the people who have pierced my heart are those that have been closest to me. Heavy for the fact that most of the people I’ve met that proclaim to be “like Christ” seem to be more like cousins of the devil. Seriously. But then again, perhaps I ought to work on being a good friend myself.

If one is to go by the number of friends that Facebook proclaims that I have, then why should my heart be heavy thus. Why should I not be the most privileged person on earth knowing that according to Facebook, Google+, & Twitter, I have over 7000 human beings as “friends”. I think the social media’s meaning of “friends” should be replaced with “admirers” or “fans”. As for me, Seun Akisanmi, I’ve made it a prayer point to ask God for 11 friends…..hence the reason for this seemingly-comical-yet-serious advertisement. I’m urgently in need of 11 friends with H.I.V; Humility, Integrity & Vision.

HUMILITY: This seems to be a trait that seems to be a scarce intangible commodity in our society today. Infact, I was recently disappointed when I thought I would find it in abundance among the sect of people who proclaim to be religious. I was even more surprised that a large percentage of people who are struggling in their businesses or personal lives have serious “pride” issues. A lot of people are struggling because of ignorance and yet we will not humble ourselves to learn from sources that will provide the right info and platform for the next level. Consequently, this is a trait I’ll appreciate for my friend applicant to possess. And if you think I’m proud to be seeking this trait in a potential friend, may God help you me.

INTEGRITY: I think this goes hand in hand with humility. I think a lot of us need to do a 30 minute research on the word “integrity”. If integrity seems to be a word that can’t be used to describe you, then I don’t want to have anything on planet earth to do with you. I’m that serious. Only people with integrity will reach the promised Canaan Land that we’re heading to. It might take 40 years to get there, but the reason it will take that long will be because people without integrity need to die in the wilderness. It’s okay to be work-in-progress; I’m number one patient of a work-in-progress. Just make sure you’re ready to do whateverittakes to build a reputation of integrity in a corruption-congested society.

VISION: If you have no idea where you’ll be in 10 years, or what you’ll be doing in 15 years, then I’m so sorry that we can’t be friends. I’m really sorry. I really need to associate myself closely with people who have a clear vision of where they’re heading to in life. If all you have to tell me is that only God knows what will happen to me in 10 years, then you’re grossly & proudly mistaken. The steps and actions you take now should ultimately lead you to the attainment of whatever God-given (or personally-discovered) vision for your life in 10, 20 or 30 years time. A lot of us wish to acquire the level of wealth that visionaries like Warren Buffet, Steve Jobs & Bill Gates have reached. However, very few are willing to realize that they didn’t get there by accident; they had VISIONARY eyes. I understand that the level of poverty or lack that you’ve experienced is the reason why you’ve been discouraged from thinking too far into the future. But perhaps we should consider envisioning our lives so far into the future that the steps we begin to take henceforth will have no choice but to rescue us from the sinking sand of today’s poverty.

So all I ask is for the good Lord to bring my way 11 friends with HIV. So if you think you’ve tested positive to HIV, don’t just “like” this message because it makes you feel good, let’s partner together to be the change and role-models that Nigeria (& our world) seeks. I know this post might seemingly have nothing to do with making you a better photographer. I know you might be thinking “who does he think he is to make such demands“. All I ask is that you look beyond my sarcastic tendencies and flaws & please be my friend. You know how to reach me.
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Plan to take a photography course at eloPhotos Academy. Visit eloPhotos Academy for a detailed list of options of classes to take. It will be the best investment you’ll make in your journey to photography greatness

A Day in My Life in 2020: Onodje Oshevwiyore


It was some minutes past 6:00a.m when I finally woke up from my standard family Italian sized bed. Just beside me standing was my lovely wife holding a tray containing already prepared toasted bread, fried eggs with a cup of lipton tea. Honestly in my mind I wondered when she had got the time to have prepared this delicious meal for me, must be pretty early she woke up, I thought to myself. With a delightful smile on my face I said to her “Good morning My Page”. Really sweet and thoughtful of you to have made me breakfast, thank you. Do you know most times I wonder what in this world I will be doing without you. I love you so much my dearest. I then gave her a kiss and we both asked how our night went.
   
Words might not just be enough for me to best describe the lady that shares my life with me. Anyway she is this cute average height lady with slender figure and well shaped curves at the right places. It is the combination of her physical attributes, her ability to wear cloth well and her inherent good taste of fashion that constantly gives her an elegance of appearance that is quite unique. Her smile is one of the amazing things I have ever seen. Truly captivating indeed I must say. No doubt you would want to say that I am lucky but I rather consider myself so blessed. She is the one that constantly fills my thoughts, the closest to my heart and someone I fondly would call “My Page”, “My Love and “Best Friend”. Her name is Cindy and she is twenty nine years old. 
   
After taking my breakfast, I undressed and went straight into the bathroom where I took a steaming hot shower, stretching and flexing my arms above my head and twisting my shoulders from side to side in a bid to exercise a little bit. Ten minutes later, I came out of the bathroom. I immediately started dressing up. I wore a pair of black trousers on a customized black suit with a white long sleeve inside and a brown Italian shoe to go with it. After dressing up, I glanced for a few minutes, the previous day’s vanguard newspaper where I read an article on “Repositioning the Nigerian Entertainment Industry”. It was now 7:20am and I am fully set to go out for the busy business day schedule ahead. 
   
I quickly stepped out into the bedroom corridor, pushed open the door exactly opposite mine and went inside my kid’s bedroom. I just wanted to say hello before leaving and also check how far they have gone in preparing for school. Am so blessed with two amazing and lovely kids; Richard and Mary. Richard, now 5years old is the elder while Mary will be 3years old by March next year. The presence of these two beautiful kids in my family brings my wife and I so much joy and happiness that words can’t possibly express.
     
My presence alone in their room elated so much joy and excitement as they both rushed towards me and hugged me. “Good morning Daddy” they greeted me. Morning kids, I replied. I hope you guys are now set for school? “Almost dad” as they replied in an angelic tone. Am sorry I wouldn’t be able to take you guys to school this morning as promised yesterday. Daddy has to rush off to the office as soon as possible for an unplanned meeting scheduled by 8:45am. But never worry kids, Mummy will drop you two in school today. I promise to take you guys to school tomorrow. I have to go now, hope to see you two when I get back in the evening. Always remember that daddy loves you both so dearly. Love you too dad, as they both replied with smiles on their faces. Ok, bye!
   
After a brief chat with my wife, I eventually stepped out of the house at new layout Jakpa road Effurun Delta State. At about 7:35am, I drove off from my apartment in my range rover 2018 model. My apartment is a newly built four bedrooms bungalow that has a big sitting and a dining room, a well sized kitchen with a store room, four standard sized rooms with their individual toilet, a separate visitors’ toilet and finally a car parking garage. The apartment has a well spacious surrounding as it was built on a 100 by 100 feet plot of land. One lovely thing about this edifice is the fact that it has a simple architectural design. The surrounding also has lots of beautiful flowers worth admiring.
     
On my way to the office I thought about how well my various businesses are doing. I thought of how my photography outfit “Oshez360 studios” which started some six years ago has now become a well known brand name for event coverage, portraits, product and food, advertisement, training and consultancy. On a scale of 1 to 10, I would rate my outfit 8. Not a bad rating you would want to say. The secret of our success story lies in the fact that we do whatever it takes to satisfy our esteemed clients by delivering quality services. We are bent on creating lasting memories.
     
Before getting to the premises of Oshez360 studios, I thought of the welding inspection company that was established more than a year ago where I am an active partner. I thought of how the company is about to make a major breakthrough of winning the contract bid for the welding inspection of a 52km pipeline project worth over 100 million naira. “Wow! We are not doing badly at all” I said to myself.
     
I also thought of my one acre plot of land farm investment located at my home town in Agbarha Otor, Ughelli. The farm land currently has a livestock, fishery and crop section. And it is being administrated by a capable manager. I finally thought of the real estate project I intend to embark on in a couple of months from now. It will be a storey building containing four (4) two bedroom bungalows that will be built on the recently 100 by 100 plot of land I acquired at Osubi, Delta State. From my projection it is going to be a worthwhile investment.
     
After about 35 minutes of leaving my apartment at new layout, I arrived at my office. Oshez360 studios is a four bedroom bungalow rented as office space and it was strategically redesigned to accommodate a studio, an editing room, reception and my own personal office. At the reception I met my secretary, Mrs. Rebecca who gave me a quick briefing of my schedule for the day. Good Morning Sir, “here is your schedule for today; you have a meeting shortly with Miss Rose at 8:45am, thereafter a meeting by 1:00pm in Ikeja Lagos with the regional marketing and brand manager of PZ Industries plc as regards some of their products shoot. Your flight to Lagos has been scheduled for 11:00am and a return flight by 3:15pm. Finally Sir, you planned on visiting your farm land at Agbarha Otor by 5pm”. “Thanks so much for the briefing” I said her and then worked straight to my office.
     
The meeting with Miss Rose went well as anticipated and it only lasted for less than an hour. She agreed to our terms of the contract and has decided on hiring our services. My outfit will be covering the photography aspect of her wedding ceremony to be held in Port Harcourt, Rivers State. It is going to be a two days event with Friday and Saturday which is the 23rd and 24th of October 2020 as the traditional and white wedding ceremony respectively. That is roughly a month and two weeks from now. We billed her half a million for the two days event. The amount will exclude flight reservation and bookings for the three photographers covering the event as well as their hotel accommodation and feeding that will also be taken care of by the client. It was a pretty good deal for us I must say.
     
It was a quick trip to Lagos. The Arik airline I boarded from Osubi airport in Warri to Ikeja in Lagos only lasted for 45 minutes. Straight from the airport, I took a taxi to PZ main office at Ikeja. At about 12:30pm I successful gained entrance into the company premises after I have undergone the compulsory security check at the gate. My meeting with the regional brand manager didn’t go as expected as we couldn’t reach an agreement on major issues as regards pricing differences and the products right that I wasn’t too comfortable with. A rescheduled date for the meeting will be arranged soonest for us to be able to finalize on the terms and conditions of the contract.
     
Some minutes to 4pm, my returned flight landed at the Osubi airport. At that moment I felt so tired but still needed to visit my farm land at Agbarha Otor since it has been a while I went there. I quickly put a call through to my admin manager to inform him that I was on my way coming. At about 4:55pm, I got to my farm and walked straight to the office of the admin manager. He briefed me on the activities of the farm most especially as regards production and sales progress. I later went round the farm accompanied by him to see things for myself.
   
At about 6pm I drove off from the farm and headed straight to Warri. On my way, all I could think of was my lovely wife and our two beautiful kids back home. They are no doubt the ones I so much treasured in my life. I feel so blessed to have them around me. I just can’t wait to be home to see them once again. With a smile on my face, I said to myself loudly, “Home sweet home, here I come”.

Proudly WEIRD & Loving It


So the weird Seun Akisanmi checked the dictionary for the meaning of ‘Weird’ and he became excited. The word weird has been commonly used to describe people who are non-conformists and won’t do things the usual way, but I was surprised to see that it also means ‘something supernatural’! That explains the reason behind what we do at eloPhotos. So please call me weird, because I am really of the supernatural breed. Anyway, only weird people will do things the way we do at eloPhotos.

I remember during the office devotion last Monday, when Mr Seun told us about how unacceptable it is to give excuses for not accomplishing a task.”All I want is result, No excuse is acceptable, however genuine it sounds” he said and I quite agree with him. The act of going the extra mile to get a task accomplished is one that we all need to imbibe.

Then came the Vision assignment – Describe a day in your life in 2020 – due for submission the next day before the close of work. I have heard my Pastor talk about the power of vision and Imaginations, but I just never found time to write it, or better put, I never had the discipline to sit down and picture such a day. But with a deadline in view, I didn’t have a choice than to sit down and picture myself in 2020. Believe me, its the greatest exercise I’ve ever done. The future became more real to me than ever. I encourage everyone to take that exercise too. Click here to read about my day in 2020.

Have you ever seen a complimentary card printed on a film? That’s another weird part of us at eloPhotos. Our complimentary cards are uniquely designed to portray the creativity that we stand for. Coming in contact with our complimentary card should make you want to  associate with us.

In other news: So my sister, as I fondly call her is now a graduate! My stay at eloPhotos so far has been an exciting one, but meeting the great Ronke Alao has made it even more exciting. She’s such a lady you can never have a dull moment around. I’ve tapped from her wealth of knowledge and skills both in photography and other areas of life. Her human relations skill is just amazing. I am most intrigued about her attitude to work.

In the few weeks I’ve been around her, I’ve watched her dedication and loyalty to the organisation. You can’t beat her ability to relate a story. When she tells a story, you don’t have to wish you had a first-hand experience because she tells the story and includes all the emotions. I’ll sure miss her, but most importantly, I wish her the very best in her photography career. Now I become the only lady amidst these weird men at eloPhotos.

This new week is sure going to be better for me than the past week, as I look forward to acquiring new skills and knowledge and most importantly make the best of the resources I have at my disposal. Attached is a picture I took last week. What do you think of it?

Vegetables - Eat and Live

Photographically Yours,
Damilola Opawale

A Day in My Life in 2020: Babalola Michael Tayo


The following happened on 1st May 2020

Dear diary,
It’s my birthday and though I am not a big fan of birthdays, I dare not forget that of my charming wife and my delightful kids. I am sitting here in my study trying to examine how far I have come. Have I made a difference and if I were to be called up by God today, have I completed my mission?

While deep in thoughts, my eyes drifted to the table and I saw my gold plated complimentary card, it read:
     Babalola T.M.
     CEO. MOB MEDIA
     CEO. MOB Sport Management
   
MOB Media is the parent company of my photography and film production outfit while MOB Sport Management is a talent Management Company for athletes.
     
Now, on to the best part of my day. Today is the Grand Opening of Lagos Grace Hospital; it’s a clinic I have always dreamt about building, so I guess now I can say boldly that dreams do come true. It is comprised of two wings: the West wing is for paying clients while the East wing, which is bigger, is for clients who can’t afford expensive hospital bills. Both wings are well equipped with the state of the art medical equipment and we are also listed as a research institute. 40% of our medical staff are expatriate and the remaining 60% includes Nigerians abroad who were ready to come home to serve in
their country plus Nigerians who are resident here. I am really excited about this, it has been my baby for long and I can’t believe it finally grew.
       
Nigeria has changed a lot, we are now beginning to embrace our potentials and take our rightful place as one of the super powers in the world. First off, we currently have a leader and not a ruler and truth be told, the man has done well. Our roads are great, our educational system is excellent judging by the fact that my four year old son now takes history classes. Our agricultural sector is taking back its glory, ( ninety percent of the rice we eat is produced locally and we now export cocoa too). Oh, we have round-the-clock power supply and we collectively as a nation are fighting the disease tagged corruption with every weapon we have. Our streets are safe, our homes are more joy- filled and our churches are now concerned and caring about their congregation’s welfare.
       
Before I forget diary, I bought that Range rover sport we’ve been talking about, 2020 model and custom made. She is so pretty and efficient. Imagine, she reads my heartbeat to open doors, all I have to do is place my hand on the steering wheel to start the engine and its safety measures are so amazing that I can crash it and someone can’t crash into me. In fact she is so cool that my wife; who by the way does not like SUVs can’t stop “test-driving” it, (that’s her excuse for driving it about twenty times already).
   
Hmmmm, I can feel someone kissing me on my lips, and only one person is authorized to do that in the whole world…. “Happy birthday Omotayomi”, the unmistakable voice said. I answered, “Thanks gorgeous!”.

Dear diary, I guess you don’t want to find out what happens next, so ‘arrivederci’.

I am Babalola Michael Tayo and all I can say is thank you Lord for
letting me do this much..

Life Lessons From Van Damme & Volvo Trucks


By the time you’re through reading this and watching the 77 seconds video embedded within, over 10124 people would have been inspired to be the best at what they do.

It happened on November 16. As I logged unto the University of Internet to get my daily dose of inspirational education, I stumbled upon the 77 seconds video that Volvo Trucks did with Van Damme. I did not hesitate to click on the link and within one minute of watching it, I discovered that the teary gland in my eyes had resumed from their 5 month break; I was in tears.

Now, wait a minute before concluding that this Seun Akisanmi is too teary for your liking. You see, I’ve been on a recent journey to learn and digest as much information as possible that will help me in the pathway of destiny that has been set before me. Hence my reason for ensuring that I’m connected to an internet that will be a platform of continuous education for me. What stood out of the advert and jumped right into my face (hence causing the tears to burst out) was a lesson God had been impressing on my heart lately: the importance of being the best at what you do. Eventually if you’re diligent at harnessing the talents & gifts that has been entrusted into your life (and don’t you dare insult God by saying you don’t have any gifts/talents), eventually you will stand before kings and not mere men. Here was Van Damme, an actor that many of us have associated with martial arts fight scenes in movies in the 90s. What on earth is he doing associating himself with Volvo Trucks?

Apparently, there must have been a marketing meeting at Volvo trucks months ago when someone popped up a question: “Which brand can we associate our brand with that will ultimately help increase the sales of the latest edition of our trucks?” A few names popped up but Van Damme was concluded on for reasons only known to them. Perhaps it was because he happened to be one of the very few celebrity actors that could perform such a stunt. Perhaps because he doesn’t seem to have a notable stain on his image/brand. Either way, I’m sure Volvo Trucks is impressed at the amount of views the advertisement is getting now.

Consequently, I resolved to be consistent at whatever it is I’m doing now that many people might consider irrelevant (albeit they’re very relevant to my distant future). I resolve to keep writing, training and inspiring people to stand out and be the best at whatever they do (not just photography). Eventually, my seemingly tiny steps of dedication and commitment will get the attention and audience of the people/organization that matters. And although I might not be driving fine cars or using the latest photography gadgets now, theses steps of dedication will ultimately lead to me having to choose which company’s ambassadorship proposal I want to go with in 2020. It was almost as if all the years of practicing that particular stunt seems to be paying off for him now.

I was reminded of the poem I recited at a recently concluded Leadership Conference. I had written the poem (Corruption: Not an Option) approximately 9 years ago. I had even recited it about 5 times within the last 9 years. I eventually gave up on poetry because I felt it wasn’t bringing food to the table of my family of 4. After the recitation I did on November 6, I got a call from a gentleman who asked for my full name over the phone. He asked to see me in person and when I eventually saw him, I was thanked for being a blessing with the recitation and given an envelope that included a check that will put food on my family’s table for 6 months. YES, 6 months feeding allowance. In my heart I fainted when I saw the figure. I almost thought there must be a mistake somewhere. I was getting rewarded for a 5 minute poetry recitation (that took me 2 weeks to compose in October 2004) with an amount greater than what some wedding clients will pay eloPhotos for their wedding photography. I was shocked. I was in tears. And I was inspired to utilize to the greatest heights all the talents that has been entrusted within me.

And that is why I cried when I saw the Volvo Trucks commercial. I’ve watched it over 10 times in the last 3 days and each time, it moves me to inspirational tears. I will be the best at what I do. I will not just walk past on the sandy path of life, I will make a mark. I will not just be a photographer, father, friend, cinematographer, poet or son….I WILL ADD the word “INSPIRATIONAL” to all those roles. Enough of my babbling. Watch the video.

 

WHO AM I?


It’s a question I always ask myself, not because I am not sure of who I am but because I need to keep me in check. Directing that question at you, I know some of you might probably answer: I am an Accountant, I am a Photographer, etc. Of course I know you are, also that is not the answer I am looking for. The expected answer goes deeper than that; it’s leads to more of questions like what do you stand for & why are you here.

What do you stand for?
“A man that stands for nothing will most likely fall for anything”…. Are you the type that is known to always compromise at the mention of naira bills, or are you the type that says no when what you actually meant to day was Yes. As an individual, your value system must be upright. Not to allow you worry your head too much, Value systems are set of ideals that guide your behaviour. It gives your life purpose and structure (which I think most of us lack as an individual and ultimately as a nation) to determine what are important to you.

Value system can be divided into four main subordinate; personal values, spiritual values, family values and career values but there some characteristics a person with good value system must exhibit which I will like to talk about.

Integrity:
Integrity is how trustworthy and honest you are. People have to know what to expect from you; that whatever you say will be as said except of course an act of God derail it. You are
expected to act right under any circumstances. These are people we want in leadership positions in our country.

Loyalty:
Loyalty is commitment to a cause or person. Whatever the times are, (good or bad) you have to be someone that can be counted on for necessary support needed. When the going gets tough, you are there to walk it out and when its celebration time too, you
are there to dig it.

Responsibility:
Someone who is responsible will definitely be dependable and reliable and will readily be accountable for who he is and what he does. They believe they have a heavenly obligation to help others and make the world a better place.

Respect:
Respect is regard for the feelings or rights of
others. When you respect others, you will treat them with all fairness
and courtesy required. You will do to them, what you want done to you.
All these mentioned above leads me to the other part; why are you here?

Why are you here?
No matter what value you and I choose to live by, it is very important we take a look at the big picture. (The big picture being God’s plan for our life) You see for me I don’t think we are just created to have weight and occupy space like matter. I don’t think all we are created for is being an Accountant or a Photographer but in addition to whatever our title is, we have a message from heaven to deliver here. Each and every one of us is a piece in God’s main agenda. We all have to find our purpose in that plan and fulfill it.

You might be wondering what inspired this article, it was the fact that everywhere I go in this country, nothing seem to be working the way its suppose to. But I feel if we all could be purpose driven and ask what we can do to make our country better and not what our country can do for us, only then will the change we so desire come upon us.

P.S: Nigeria will be built by Nigerians for Nigerians, so STAND UP and
be counted as someone who has done his part. May GOD RENEW & REFORM
NIGERIA!!!

Yours truly Nigerian,
Babalola Michael Tayo.

YORUBA MEN ARE COWARDS


I recently photographed a wedding in Warri, Delta State. It was a union of two different ethnic groups: Yoruba (Groom) & Delta (Bride). The church service started an hour later than planned and seemed like we were going to be in the service forever; perhaps I felt uneasy because I had not eaten breakfast.

It happened when the pastor was preaching his sermon to the new couple. I was so tired and hungry that I didn’t know when I slept off. Perhaps because I was confident that my two assistants would still cover what I miss. Suddenly, I awoke to a loud affirmative revelation uttered by the pastor of the church: YORUBA MEN ARE COWARDS!!! I was shocked. Did he just say what I think he said. He was “encouraging” the husband to learn to stand and protect his new wife in troubled times. The example of a challenging time he gave is “when armed robbers come visiting”. He mentioned that a Yoruba man will flee in the presence of armed robbers and forget his wife. I’m not too sure I got the point he was trying to make. Perhaps the new wife understood what the Pastor meant.

I’m not sure he remembered that the groom he was uniting in holy matrimony was a Yoruba man. I wondered if Yoruba men attend such a church. But then I was quick to remember that there were multitudes of churches to choose from in the oil-rich state. I was able to take pictures of over 2 dozen churches while sitted in a fast-moving bus on my way to the traditional wedding; a 20-minute journey.

I felt that was too derogatory a statement to be uttered on the altar of a church. I wondered what the mindset of the members of the church would be like. I wonder what their perspective of Yoruba men will be. More importantly, I wondered how a city filled with so many churches (almost 1 in every 6 buildings…on average) hadn’t experienced a level of development you would associate with a city where God abides. I wondered within….and felt sorry for people who think that they are better than others.

I didn’t know when I left the church auditorium (before the end of his sermon) to go get myself something to eat. Perhaps if I ate some food, my backward thinking Yoruba mindset will make good meaning of what the Pastor just declared in church. Maybe I was just upset because I was (& still am) a Yoruba man.

And we are supposed to be the Light of the World…the Salt of the earth. May God help me not to be a coward. May God help us all.

UPDATE: November 10, 2013
Some people (especially members of the church) are probably mad at me for posting such about their pastor. My goal isnt to bring down anyone. I write because I feel its one way I can address issues I feel we need to address. Its easy to be quick to defend someone for behaving or thinking in a particular way but my appeal is for us to be conscious of the fact that what we say or do affects ultimately how people behave or think. My goal isnt just to defend the Yorubas; my goal is to address the same similar mindsets that some Yorubas have towards the Igbo or Hausas. Especially if we call ourselves “Christians”, we should be conscious of the derogatory statements we make towards other tribes (whether or not we’re joking). Some Yoruba Christians I know consider themselves of a higher caliber of Human Specie when compared to a Hausa “Mallam” or a Black American. Buttom line is for us to review how/what we think about other people through the microscope of God’s eyes. So be it if I make enemies for discussing such a sensitive issue. For anyone getting angry at the pastor, just stop and ask yourself if the way you behave (or think) towards a set of people is the way Jesus will treat them (e.g. house helps, gatemen/security guards, cooks, drivers, mallams, Ijebu people, Americans, etc).

7 Days After 7 Years


Its been 7 days after 7 years
And here I am laying on this bed
Thinking about all the times
Your words have brought succor
To the depths of my being
I’m thinking of the days I was glad
That I finally met someone
Who understands me more than my family
Someone who thinks I’m weirdly wonderful
In ways that had not been expressed to me by family
Someone who thought I was an Angel
Without an earthly address
I’m thinking of the many times
I had business ideas few people believed in
You were a source if inspiration
You are a source of inspiration
Forgive me for the many times
I considered Photography my 1st LOVE
If only I was conscious of the fact that
Without “elo” there would not be any “photos”
My words might not weigh much now
My bank account might not buy much now
But with you by my side for the next 70 years
I’ll be the luckiest, blessed, wealthiest, finest, meekest, photographer/husband/father/christian/friend that has walked on earth since Moses, Solomon & David (put together)
Here’s to wishing you a happy 7 years plus 7 days Anniversary.

Dedicated to the elo in eloPhotos,
My sweetheart, my wife, my friend
Elohiaghe Ofure Akisanmi

AFTER EARTH: A Photographer’s Perspective


I was privileged to see the movie “After Earth” at Silverbird Cinemas courtesy of my boss. Though I am not a fan of science fiction, I enjoyed the challenge of having to “analyze” the movie and see it not just for its entertainment value, but to see it through the eyes of a photographer. I went with my colleagues and we had one major assignment; to do a write-up on what we learnt from the movie as photographers. Highlighted below are the lessons I learnt.

Life Lessons
• Fear isn’t real; it is only a product of our imagination. Even where danger exists, fear only has as much power and influence as we give it over ourselves.
• When fear is given a chance in our lives, it paralyzes us and causes us to make irrational decisions that may put us in danger and then cause more fear. More like a vicious cycle.
• From time to time, we need to step out of our comfort zone not just to achieve greatness but to avoid living a life of mediocrity bound by fear.
• Experiences from our childhood can either help us be better people but it can also hold us back from living a full life as adults if we do not break-free of beliefs that hold us back or based on any truth. We sometimes need to launch out rather than playing it safe especially as artists.
• Things are not always what they seem. There are always exceptions to what people generally believe. The character played by Will Smith, (I think his name was General Cypher), told his son (Kitai) that everything on earth is inclined towards killing humans but Kitai “found favor” with a large bird who rescued him and kept him warm on a certain night when earth froze up.

Photography Lessons
Apart from the life lessons that I learnt from the movie, I also had moments where I could see certain scenes differently due to my photography background.
Layers: Understanding the concept of layers in photo shop was one that took me quite a while during photo shop class but it immediately came to mind when I saw the virtual screens that the General flipped through to see his son’s location per time. The screens weren’t all images of the same location but to me it looked like slices of f a block and I believe, helped me understand layers more.
Getting/Thinking Out Of The Box : Kata had to get out of the box of safety that he was in and do things he never thought he was capable of doing instead of complying with the “rules”. This is an important lesson as an artist, to step out of the norm, break the rules, do the unfamiliar in order to advance in one’s career
• The movie also had interesting composition in some scenes and use of light.

by Ronke Alao
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Have You Photographed Any Popular Person?


That was the question asked by one of the children I teach in church. Some were a little repulsed to hear that I am a photographer. Most of them want to become doctors, lawyers and engineers. Photography, to them, fell within the profession of barbers, hairstylists & mechanics who were considered to be “poor”. They even made it a prayer request that “I will never become a photographer in Jesus’ name, Amen.”

I attempted (and hopefully succeeded) in explaining to them why photography, like any other great profession, is a noble one and that one could become a millionaire as a photographer. Most of them doubted me & laughed at me…..and that’s when a 9-yr old girl popped the question: “So have you ever photographed any popular person?”
I paused and thought within. I was almost in Jesus’ shoes when tricky questions like these were hurled at Him.

I explained to the girl that being popular is an objective opinion. By “popular” I reckoned she was referring to the known celebrities in town. Also, the fact that someone is popular does not mean they are willing to pay your photography bill. Interestingly, some celebrities in this part of the world usually want “free” photography because of their celebrity status. They argue that it is a priviledge for you (I.e. the upcoming or established photographer) to be photographing them. They argue that they are helping your career by giving you such an opportunity. May God help them.

I remember an example Kelechi Amadi-Obi (www.kelechiamadiobi.com) once gave about a celebrity artist he once encountered. The gentleman walked into Kelechi’s office and requested for a photo session. To his dismay, he was shocked that Kelechi would dare charge him for the session. The following “brief” discussion ensued.

Artist: Don’t you know who I am? Don’t you know it is a priviledge for you to photograph me?
Kelechi: (showing him the door), I’ll appreciate it if you kindly leave my office. It’s obvious you’ve come to the wrong studio

Anyway, I concluded my response (to the girl that quizzed me) by telling her that my strategy was to raise an army of photographers that will photograph popular people. I am yet to take pictures of POPULAR people but will be fulfilled knowing that someone I mentored is taking those pictures. Enough said, I proceeded to teach the main curicullum for the the sunday school class & hoped that one day I would be given the priviledge to photograph a popular person (in exhange for CASH).

N.B. If you’re a POPULAR person (or know one) in need of world-class photography services, don’t hesitate to contact us. Don’t worry, our fees won’t give you a heart attack. Looking forward to hearing from you. 🙂

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A Crazy Photographer’s 12 Goals for 2012


In no particular order of priority, behold 12 of the goals that I plan to achieve by December 31st, 2012.

1. Wash my plates after eating. It’s a weakness that many husbands and bachelors are guilty of. I plan to express my love more to my wife by washing my plates after eating. It’s the least I can do. Can’t promise to wash any other person’s plate but I’ll start with mine and see how it goes.

2. Spend 2 nights at the 7-star hotel in Dubai. I plan to document photographically my stay at this hotel. It’s one of the projects I wholeheartedly look forward to embarking upon. At $2000 per night, I better start taking my photography business more seriously and begin saving.

3. Photograph an event in Asia. I’ll prefer a wedding coverage to a rioters’ coverage. Either way, covering a joyous moment in an Asian culture will be fun. India will be good for a start

4. Host a photography convention in Nigeria. This is going to be BIG. Planning a 3-6 day convention will be the first of its kind in Nigeria and I’m confident it will be impactful. Watch out

5. Get an invitation to speak at a photography convention/conference in the United States and/or Europe. Don’t have an idea how this will come to pass but I’m preparing my speech/notes so that I’ll be ready once the opportunity comes knocking

6. Co-found a Photography Association in Nigeria. To help address issues such as the rights of a photographer & a standard level of professionalism, an association registered with the government is inevitable. If you’re interested in helping out, holla at me.

7. Write my first photography book. Still thinking of a title. So far I might settle for “Diary of a mad black photographer.” Or what do you think?. I hope everyone that has been encouraging me to write a book will not ask me for complimentary copies; you’ll need to purchase it so I’ll be encouraged to write more books. I’m still open to better title suggestions.

8. Start a clothing line. Don’t know whether to call it eloFashion or Seun Akisanmi but the designs that have been playing around in my head can’t be expressed in photography; a fashion design outfit is inevitable. I know its important to be known for just 1 thing but having multiple streams of income isn’t a bad idea. Anything to make me quickly get my edition of BMW 750i before it is discontinued.

9. Earn $1 million in photography income. Though my bank account balance might be reading $70, I believe this is the year of the manifestation of my millions…..in dollars. Watch out

10. Stop drinking 100-150cl of Pepsi everyday. Just discovered that such a habit is neither good for my health
Nor my bank account. I plan on replacing the Pepsi drinks with a daily dose of 3 litres of water. I just hope the Pepsi seller won’t go bankrupt this year because of my decision.

11. Read at least 10 hours of photography materials every week. This will be necessary if I need to keep tabs with the loads of information that will be added to the database of photography in 2012.

12. Write everyday in 2012 on my journey & experience in photography. This will be interesting. Doing a writeup on photography every single day…..will be challenging and fun. One down 365 to go. 2012, I’m ready for you.

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Finally, eloMakeup joins the blogging community


After weeks of negotiations, we’re please to announce that our sister company has finally agreed to join the community of bloggers. Truth is, they have so much beauty & makeup tips to share that it would have been unfair to mankind if they had not come onboard. Check them out at elomakeup.wordpress.com & let them know what you honestly think.
First it was eloPhotos, now it is eloMakeup; watch out for eloFashion

I LOVE Photographing Funerals


Hear me out. I know what you’re thinking. It’s not that I enjoy seeing people bury their loved ones. It’s just that……how do I explain myself without shooting myself in the foot? A few months back, I got a call from my superstar father. Twas one of the few times he was sad on the phone. “Your uncle passed away this morning” he said. I was shocked. Shocked because I called him (my uncle i.e.) a week earlier to say hello. he was 63. There wouldn’t be any wasted time in burrying him. Funeral arrangements were made for two weeks later. There wasn’t a serious budget for photography so I wasn’t contacted to submit a quote. By now everyone in the extended family had known me to be someone who doesn’t offer free photography services to family members; they usually don’t appreciate it. The D day came and I told my dad I would be covering the day in pictures. Although he had gotten someone else, he was grateful I offered. I had my reasons. The major one being the fact that I love photographing funerals. My wife hates the fact that I love it but I just love it. And here’s the reason why: it gets me thinking. I’m thinking of the fact that I would die someday. There you go again rejecting “death” in Jesus name but the truth is we will all die someday. Sometimes I wonder which is better: going at a good old age (defined by many to be 80+ yrs) or going when you’re between 40 & 80. Just thinking out loud. And the fact that it gets me thinking makes me take stock of my life. I’m asking myself “what does it profit a man if he photographs the whole world, gets paid the whole money, drives the best cars, marries the most beautiful girl, buys the most beautiful houses…..& looses his soul”. When my uncle was being “laid to rest” I wondered…..so this it. This is how I will end up one day. His children were in tears, the wife was tearfully praying, the Reverend was preaching and I was thinking. Thinking and photographing. Photographing so the moment will not be forgotten by….. Thinking & Photographing….& then my eyes started leaking. They always start leaking water whenever I see the loved ones of the deceased crying. I’m taking the pictures, I’m thinking & I’m crying. I knew some of the reasons why the wife was crying. And then I thought to myself again….that when I go down 6ft under, & people shed tears for me, it should be because they will be missing a representative of God on planet earth. So I came back from the funeral refreshed like I just got back from a vacation. Refreshed to live a life that will be worth crying for when it is no more. It doesn’t mean that I wouldn’t charge you my standard fee if you need my services. Its just that I love photographing funerals because it gets me thinking…..thinking of life beyond the grave

Can I Have Your Complimentary Card?


So it happened after attending the opening day of the British Council-organized exhibition at Expo Hall, Eko Hotel on December 5. I just left the venue and was going to the nearest bus stop to get a ride home. Suddenly, a blue Honda Accord car pulled up beside me and the driver, a lady in her late thirties, yelled “I KNOW YOU FROM DAYSTAR, CAN I PLEASE HAVE YOUR COMPLIMENTARY CARD?” I was first taken aback because I had never met her before. Instinctively I reached out for my card in my shirt pocket and handed it to her. I didn’t even get her name. The whole drama was over in about 10 seconds. As she drove off, I thought to myself “what if I didn’t have my complimentary card on me?” I was actually very lucky in this scenario as I don’t ALWAYS go out with my wallet where I keep my cards. It is something I’m working on. It is something we should all work on. I could have missed a big opportunity to get a job. Although she hasn’t hired me yet, I’m very optimistic. Lesson to be learnt: always have your complimentary card on you. ALWAYS. You never know who may ask for it.

A LESSON FROM THE MOUSE


Got this from a friend online

A mouse looked through the crack in the wall to see the farmer and his wife open a package. “What food might this contain?” the mouse wondered. He was devastated to discover it was a mousetrap. Retreating to the farmyard, the mouse proclaimed the warning: “There is a mousetrap in the house! There is a mousetrap in the house!” The chicken clucked and scratched, raised her head and said “Mr. Mouse, I can tell this is a grave concern to you, but it is of no consequence to me. I cannot be bothered by it.”The mouse turned to the pig and told him “There is a mousetrap in the house! There is a mousetrap in the house!” The pig sympathized, but said “I am so very sorry, Mr. Mouse, but there is nothing I can do about it but pray. Be assured you are in my prayers.” The mouse turned to the cow and said “There is a mousetrap in the house! There is a mousetrap in the house!” The cow said “Wow, Mr. Mouse. I’m sorry for you, but it’s no skin off my nose.” So, the mouse returned to the house, head down and dejected, to face the farmer’s mousetrap alone. That very night a sound was heard throughout the house – like the sound of a mousetrap catching its prey. The farmer’s wife rushed to see what was caught. In the darkness, she did not see it was a venomous snake whose tail the trap had caught. The snake bit the farmer’s wife. The farmer rushed her to the hospital and she returned home with a fever. Everyone knows you treat a fever with fresh chicken soup, so the farmer took his hatchet to the farmyard for the soup’s main ingredient. But his wife’s sickness continued, so friends and neighbors came to sit with her around the clock. To feed them, the farmer butchered the pig. The farmer’s wife did not get well; she died. So many! People came for her funeral; the farmer had the cow slaughtered to provide enough meat for all of them. The mouse looked upon it all from his crack in the wall with great sadness. So, the next time you hear someone is facing a problem and think it doesn’t concern you, remember: when one of us is threatened, we are all at risk. We are all involved in this journey called life. We must keep an eye out for one another and make an extra effort to encourage one another. Each of us is a vital thread in another person’s tapestry. God bless you BIG Pls Share your thoughts.

Solving the Rubik’s 4×4 cube in less than 6 mins: The Return of the Superstar


Finally, she’s BACK. After a few months of vacation from all the attention of fans, the Superstar Supermodel Anuoluwapo returns with new tricks up her sleaves. Try solving the Rubik’s 4×4 cube in less than 6 minutes and you’re either a geeky genius or the grandchild of Albert Einstein. Well, stay tuned for the next couple of weeks and you’ll learn lessons you wished they had taught you in Harvard or in life. She’s taught me a few lessons myself so I know better. For previous highly intellectual acts of the Superstar you can visit our page on facebook to be amazed (http://www.facebook.com/#!/media/set/?set=a.122880260231.215827.49785385231&type=3). Her photographic superstar journey began almost four years ago in the delivery room & she’s been amazing ever since. Pictures taken with Olympus e300 & Bowens Gemini 500 light kit. The photoshoot was over in 6 minutes. Enough said, try solving the cube yourself and you’ll have another definition of what many earthly citizens consider IMPOSSIBLE. But with God, nothing shall be ………….

“Daddy, where’s your daddy’s car?”


Those where the words that tingled in my ears at about 3:35pm November 23, 2011. They were uttered by my 3.5yr-old princess, Anuoluwapo. Talk of the question of the year. Why did she ask the question? I thought you would never ask. You see, I had recently gotten temporary custody of a toyota avensis that belongs to my father and was given to me (on November 20) so I could help him take it to a mechanic’s workshop for repairs. After I got it back from the workshop on November 22, I decided to surprise my daughter by picking her up from school with the car. Before now I use the public transportation system to get her to & from school, an ordeal she does not fancy. So I wasn’t too surprised when she was surprised when I asked her to enter the car. “Daddy, is this your car?” she asked. I explained that it belongs to my dad. She was excited at the fact that she gets to go home in an air-conditioned car. The next morning, November 23, I decided to drop her at school. Unknown to her, my dad came to pick up the car around 1pm. It was time for me to pick her from school and I boarded my usual bike to her school. Upon getting there, I met a tired and exhausted Anuoluwapo expecting to be whisked off in the same air-conditioned comfortable leather-seats car that dropped her earlier in the day. It wasn’t until we were midway into our journey back home that it dawned on her that the car was no more. “Daddy, where is your daddy’s car?” I replied that I had returned it back to dad. “Daddy took your car?” She quizzed further. “No, its not my car; it’s my dad’s car”. At that point I understood the words that she was not saying. I knelt down to her level and promised her with a confidence that I didn’t know that I had within; “I will soon buy a car & will be taking you to & from school with it”. I then proceeded to be her “car” for the afternoon; I carried her on my shoulders till we got home. At that point I made a fresh vow with myself to be conscious of taking more seriously the business of my photography. This photography should be able to feed, clothe & transport my family very comfortably. I promise to work hard towards the achievement of that car because when my Anuoluwapo is happy, I am happy

Tears of a hungry Photographer


It happened at the wedding we covered last saturday (November 19, 2011). Like most of the jobs we get, this was a “referral”. We came highly recommended by a client that we covered her wedding 4 yrs ago. The client had recently started an event-planning outfit and we were her photography outfit of choice to the client that could afford to pay the bill. Along came this couple and we were chosen in May to be their official wedding photographer. Fast-forward to November 19, 2011. I got to the couple’s hotel at 6:10am. Started the implementation of our job description. We documented photographically everything & anything they had spent money on. The makeup artist doing his job, the brides’ maids dressing up, the groom ironing his shirt, the best man shaving his beard; we snapped everything. Fast-forward to the reception. The dj was playing nice jams, the bride & groom were dancing, the bridal train smiling & every guest eating, drinking & smiling. It was at that moment it happened. I began analyzing the entire wedding. First the dj was very good at what he did, playing jams by artists that were considered very successful in the country (the likes of P-square, Dbanj & Flavour). And then I began to analyze the decorator’s works. She was one of the best decorators in town and was in high demand. I looked at the food vendor and was salivating at the beauty of the food that was being served. I never knew food could be this beautiful. So beautiful that I didn’t even have the courage to ask for a plate. As a photographer, I had grown used to being denied a plate of food because I was not considered a “guest”; so u can’t blame me when I couldn’t summon the courage to ask for a plate. I brought out the sausage roll I had bought earlier during the church service and began feasting. As I feasted, I meditated on the beauty of the reception hall venue. It was beautiful. It is beautiful.. I would later find out that the hall was the most expensive single item in the expenses of the wedding. The 2nd most-expensive was FOOD. And then, out of nowhere, tears started streaming down my eyes. I was hungry. Very very hungry. I was eating a sausage roll but I was hungry. I was crying. If you had met me at that moment you would be thinking I had just been jilted by the girl of my dreams. I was crying because I was hungry for a better me, a better photographer-me. I learnt that the groom budgeted and spent about N5 million ($32,000) for the wedding. I realized he only hired vendors that were excellent at what they do. Not that I was unsatisfied with the N360,000 that was allocated for photography; I just felt there has to be more to life as a photographer than making money & getting rich. Don’t get be wrong, I want to become the photographer that gets paid N1 – N10 million just to cover a wedding, but I better be adding serious value to the clients I’m serving and to my society. I was hungry to be the best photographer & person I could ever be. The photographer that will be a role-model in character to many. I was hungry to be the photographer that will partner with God to raise the next generation of world-class photographers. For therein will my joy be full. I was hungry & couldn’t hold back the tears. There’s still so much to be done in this industry, so much to be done in my life. And then my eyes met the gaze of the bride. I quickly wiped the tears from my face although I was still hungry and crying inside. PLEASE GOD, FILL ME UP because I’m hungry……

From Photographer to Bus Conductor: COMMENTS/FEEDBACK


Here in the USA, it is entirely possible to make a decent living at being a portrait/wedding photographer. That’s basically the photographic equivalent to being the family dentist. You build relationships with your customers. One reason why doing high school senior portraits is important is it opens the door to your being their wedding photographer. But to do high school senior portraits, you have to be seen taking pictures at various events, like at church, school or other social activities where families in your circles are at. Once you have shot a person’s wedding, if they haven’t moved away, you get to shoot their baby pictures and the cycle continues.

Building up a successful photography business as a home-town portrait/wedding photographer is a lot of work and you are always going to be cultivating new customers and contacts. But it is so important to build relationships. One reason why most photographers of this genre are shooting other things, like team pictures, commercial work and other things like that is so they can either be building contacts or filling in the holes of their time in building the business. It takes a good ten years before the business stabilizes and the repeat work will account for the majority of your sales. If there is a school event anywhere in your community, you need to be there with your camera shooting all the kids and handing out business cards.

The biggest problem that the vast majority of photographers struggle with isn’t getting the customers, but running their business as a business. A photography business is less about photography and more about running a business in a service industry. This means that you have to very carefully manage your costs (no buying new cameras every six months), have successful marketing methods (keeping the existing customers returning while flogging the sheets for new ones), and having little to no credit. Over 90% of all small businesses will fail within five years. Sometimes that failure is disguised as “losing interest and changing directions” but the fact is, the business is shut down and the proprietor “gets a real job”. My own photography business has been a low-key affair and always a part-time operation. But it’s been there since 1989. What may be of fascination is that over any 5 year period of time I’ve made more take home money through my part-time business than the vast majority of full-time photographers have. What is sad is that it wasn’t much. There are reasons why I still shoot an E-1. It’s paid for, does the job, is extremely reliable and totally depreciated off the books. I waited before buying it when the price came down enough that I bought a factory refurb with lens for $1024 USD. Other equipment has been purchased in similar manners.

We make a huge mistake in our teaching people to become photographers. We really shouldn’t be teaching photography as much as we are teaching business. As is seen every time you go into a Walmart, Sears or Target and see the “portrait studio” or the mall photographer taking pictures of screaming kids with Santa Claus, ANYBODY can be taught to take pictures. THAT isn’t much of a skill set. Posing and getting people to look their best is more an issue of people skills. But those photographers are “employees” earning near minimum wage. If you want to be self-employed as a photographer, you have to be a businessman. Frankly, you could hire those same minimum wage workers to do the photography while you are out drumming up business or managing the paperwork. After all, the non-photography parts of being a self-employed photographer IS A FULL-TIME JOB.

So, just how much can a home-town photographer make? Is it possible to earn a decent living? Well, let’s run some numbers. These are all USD.

Desired annual income (pre-tax take-home pay) of $60,000.

So we start with $60,000. Add 15% to that for retirement savings and we’re up to $69,000. Round this up to $70,000.

A studio (rented or built) will run you about $12,000 per year. (Rent of $1000 per month, or the value of money on construction is equivalent). You can fudge this one way or another from $500 to $2500 per month depending on location and quality of the facility. Most of us would top it out at $1000 per month.

Equipment. You can actually get going pretty inexpensively, but upgrading and replacing equipment is a given. Figure $2000 per year averaged out over five years. Computers and software not included. Probably another $1500 per year for computers and software.

Utilities. Electricity, telephone, water/sewer/garbage, heat/cooling, etc. $6000 per year.

Insurance. $500 per year.

Licenses, fees and accounting. $1000 per year.

Miscellaneous costs that come up, including set construction, parking lot repair, signage, etc. $6000 per year. That’s only $500 per month. It happens.

Vehicle costs. $6000 per year.

Your baseline costs are $105,000 per year. That’s before the first customer walks in the door. Said another way, that’s about $2020 per week.

How many hours per week do you desire to actually be serving customers? As a sole proprietor with no employees, you can’t do more than 20 hours per week. This means that you have to have a net profit PER HOUR of about $100. For every single customer you spend an hour with, you need to net $100. Sitting fee for an hour shoot? We’re typically getting between $75 and $150. The assumption is that for every hour of customer time, you have no more than an hour of order processing time AND business management. (This is why most of us work far into the night and are putting in 80 hours a week).

Print sales are very important. You can’t just earn your money on the sitting fee. How much should you charge? You have your baseline numbers as defined above. If you front-load your income (pre-pay, fees, packages, etc), the revenue from the prints need not be as much. But if you back-load your income, (print sales), then you must not only cover your entire baseline, but also the cost of production. Product pricing in a retail environment is partially accounting, partially market forces.

Speaking of cost of production in print sales, the absolute worst thing you can do is produce your own prints. There are several reasons why this is a bad idea. You are front-loading all your costs in computers, printers, RIPs, profiling and supplies. If you don’t know what “cost of money” is, please do your research. If you want a quick-and-dirty estimate, for every $1 you spend, the cost of that $1 over five years is about $1.35. Another major reason why it is a bad idea is time investment. Are you a photographer? A business person? Or a lab technician? Pick any two. Thirdly, you run a massive risk of failure to deliver when you have equipment problems. Do yourself a big favor and outsource the printing. While you are at it, consider outsourcing not just the final color/density adjustments but spot editing too. There are people at labs like Millers which do this far faster and at less cost than what you can do. Most importantly, this is a run-time cost NOT an upfront cost. This expense ONLY occurs when you have the sales. No sales, no costs.

Whatever you do, NEVER borrow money to establish a photography business. Not only is it stupid to take on any debt, but you can build the business from bottom up scaling your expenses entirely with the income. No income? No expenses. It also helps to have a spouse who is working and has health insurance. When you borrow money for the business, you MUST have steady income to pay for the loans. If you have a slow month or two, and your cash reserves are depleted, you will have to shut the business down. It really is totally unnecessary to borrow money to build a photography business.

So, how much can a home town photographer earn? By him or herself, that $60,000 is really about it. When you get past the 20 hours per week with the clients, you start to need assistants. Unfortunately, this is usually an expense which seems to eat up whatever additional income is earned. The more you earn, the more you spend. Each of these numbers is a bit elastic. A person can run tight on facility, vehicle and other costs, but that only means that you need to save money from one year to the next to absorb costs that might occur there. You really have consider a five-year running average adjusted for inflation. All of these costs, identified above, can vary a bit depending on the photographer, local market conditions and location. But it does point out a trend that for every 20 hours of direct customer contact, you need one full-time employee, assuming outsourcing of all printing.

An easy answer to this $2020 per week need is to shoot more weddings. Most home town photographers I know are either wedding photographers who shoot portraits to fill out the budget or are portrait photographers who use weddings to pay for the kids’ braces and for vacations. Most photographers shoot an average of 35 weddings per year. That $105,000 divided by 35 is $3000 per wedding NET PROFIT. That means your average package price is going to have to be around $4000 if you are solo, $4500 if you have a second-shooter. Obviously, that’s not going to fly for most of us. The typical home town photographer is averaging half that. That means that no more than half your business can be reliant on weddings. There are full-time wedding photographers doing quite well, but they are also well over 50 weddings per year and have other tricks of cost avoidance. In reality, though, if you honestly look at the five-year average, even these high-flyers rarely have take-home pay that exceeds $100,000 per year. There are possibly a hundred wedding photographers in the entire USA that exceed $100,000 per year averaged income. (all of them seem to be on dpreview claiming to have $15,000 package prices…don’t believe them, they are living in a fantasy world).

This is all about business economics.

Ken Norton
www.zone-10.com

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A while ago I read somewhere that professional photographers in the USA earn not
much, with the situation deteriorating in the last years due to microstock and
the oversupply of images. So I’m not surprised, in fact I would have been
surprised if Mr Dee had been successful as a photographer.

Alfred Molon
 

**********************************

And this is where I think a lot of people don’t understand where people make
money on photography these days. MOST photography is sold as a SERVICE rather
than a product. It used to be you could make a good living taking and selling
stock photos where you literally are selling the shots you took. Likewise the
same could be said for things like news photography and such where the photo is
the product. 

But as you mention through out your post Ken, most photography now is not so
much the photos themselves (since a LOT of people can not make great photos) but
instead the service you are providing by actually attending a wedding and
committing 12 hours of your day to taking photos on top of things like editing
and getting prints done not to mention all the “specials” you will be requested
to take while there. 

In addition part of the “service” provided isn’t just the photo itself, but
knowing how to take that photos in the first few shots (time = money). In other
words, anyone of us can take that perfect senior photo for someone’s yearbook
with a cheap external monolight, an umbrella, and all the time in the world to
try different places, backgrounds and poses. What you get paid for is being able
to have the client arrive and you not only have backgrounds and equipment ready
but also the experience to know how to pose someone and set up that same
equipment to get great shots from the get go to get the professional looking
shot within minutes.

But if you are competing other photographers to sell your lovely field of
flowers shot to an advertisement firm looking for that perfect shot for the
client’s nasal de-congestive spray, well your shot will be competing with a few
thousand others, many of them amateurs, soccer moms, as well as pro shooters.
 
Regards,
Patrick

Olympic Rings…
http://www.flickr.com/photos/pakphotog/5708299805/

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I think this is a really good analysis Ken, I hope you will consider posting it
to a blog somewhere so kids taking Photography in college can get a realistic
idea of what they’re facing if they want a career in photography.

Mike Scirocco

***********************************

The good ones make good money.
The rest… not so much.

Photographers are still in demand for “on location” shoots, like
weddings. But many people buy a minimum package and rely on snap-shots
from family and friends to make the photo story complete.
When our son got married, he had hired a photographer to take a number
of specific pictures. While they were being taken, no one else was
allowed to have a camera out to take their own pictures – by contract
the photographer could have packed up and our son would still have to
pay a set fee, had anyone taken even one picture there.

Competition for portrait-style photography is stiff. Department stores
like Sears or Walmart have their own studios, and for a few dollars you
can have your and your family’s pictures taken. The first picture is
often free, you only pay a sitting fee of around $12 – $15. But watch
out for the pressure to buy more images for outrageous prices.

Esther
********************************

This is the biggest problem most creatives, not just photographers, have
trying to make a living at their art. Musicians, writers, etc. They want to
sell product, with a business model of “if you make it, they will come”.
That simply is not going to happen in the day and age when all such
“product” is a series of ones and zeroes that can be squirted out in
millions of copies at the speed of light. What you have to sell is your
time and talent, and the relationship you establish with the people who
might want to pay you for them.

Working that kind of business model is a whole different skill set than is
required for creating art.

Rex Deaver

From Photographer to Bus Conductor


Let’s call him Mr. Dee. I met him 7 months ago at the church I attend, Daystar Christian Centre. I was priviledged to be one of the facilitators that coordinated a skill acquisition project that was bent on reducing unemployment in the society. Skills that were taught included fashion designing, generator repairs, cake making & website designing among others. I was one of those that taught the photography class. Twas in this class I met Mr. Dee. He’s married with 3 wonderful children. He decided he needed to learn a skill that will ultimately help improve the standard of living of his family. He concluded that photography was the answer. His plan was to forsake all and follow the gospel of photography. The passion with which he performed during the 9-days training was impressive. So impressive that I even made him a leader on the first day of class. PASSIONATE was his middle name. I invited colleagues in the industry to help inspire the class on this adventurous journey they were about to embark on. Great photographers like Michael Adebiyi (michaeladebiyi.com), Shola Animashaun (sholaanimashaun.com), Damilola Elliot (damellephotos.com), Yomi Siffre (Studiosiffres.net), & Leke Adenuga (lekeadenuga.com) poured out their hearts in an attempt to wholeheartedly motivate the new set of photopreneurs. We got them loaded and inspired and ready to turn the world upside down photographically. The 10th day of training arrived and after exhibiting the wonderful pictures they had taken, they were to begin their photography journey. Mr Dee and the remaining 50+ students vowed to make a difference in the photography industry. Fast-forward to 4 months ago. I boarded a bus that was to take me to Ojota. To my surprise, the bus conductor was the very Mr Dee that had vowed to photographically impact the world. I sensed he felt ashamed that I saw him in the line of duty of his new job. He was shy. So shy that he initially refused to collect my bus fare. I insisted that if he came to my office to hire my photography services, I would not hesitate at all to charge him my complete fee; so he better collect his bus fare from me. I insisted and he eventually complied. Apparently the photography journey had not worked out for him as he had intended. He settled for being a bus conductor. At least he was guaranteed an income at the end of each day of working as a conductor. I wish he could see my heart clearly. I was proud of him. I was super proud of him. I am still very proud of him. The important thing was that this man refused to be BOUND by the spirit of “unemployment”. Yes I know some of us might think he ought to have been persistent in photography and eventually it would have worked out for him. But he had a family to take care of. He had to pay his children’s school fees. He needed to feed and clothe them. He eventually settled for a job that at least brought him daily income; enough income for him not to be a candidate of the benevolent department in church. He decided to get a job that might seem “demeaning” to some of his photography colleagues and church members. I am proud of him. Very proud of him. Truth be told, he’s probably making more money than some of the photography colleagues that graduated with him. He’s working. He’s doing something. He’s making money. And he looked happy. I was happy. I am happy.
So this is dedicated to the Photographer that became a bus conductor. I’m proud of the fact that you’re doing something that enables you take care of your family. I know that if the fire of photography still burns within you, you’ll eventually turn out to be a great professional photographer. I’ll be waiting to be of support. I’m very proud of you.

Pick up that FROG


The unique day had finally arrived: 11-11-11. I was waiting at the abuja local airport lounge for my recently-delayed Aero flight back to Lagos. I had just met an intelligent I.T. lady by the name Chenemi (it means GOD IS MINE). Along came a frog and stood right in front of my seat as if trying to admire my handsomeness (hope there’s such a word) or Chenemi’s beauty. “Gross”, “Eeew”, “Nasty” were the expressions it quickly solicited from passengers around me. Without thinking, Chenemi quickly raised her legs while simultaneously muttering the word “Gross”. I think the frog was still in its “toddler” years because it seemed quite small to me; only about 3-4 inches while outstretched in the jumping position. Unknown to Chenemi, the frog had actually visited my presence 10mins earlier. It was kicked to another area of the lounge by a middle-aged reverend sitting right across me. Unlike a dove that almost never revisit the spot in which it experienced a form of hostility, this frog was bent on proving a point. Without giving it much thought, I quickly reached out for the frog with my bare hands (am I courageous or what) and grabbed a piece of paper from my pocket and proceeded to dispose of the frog. I don’t believe I was cruel to the frog; I just felt it didn’t belong in that particular gathering of humans. The best place I could find to dispose the frog was a nearby enclosed dustbin. By the way, I washed my hands immediately after relocating the frog; I didn’t want to shake my new friend, Chenemi, goodbye with a “froggy” hand. I got back to my sit and suddenly became hero to the few people around me that witnessed my heroic deed. I was reminded of that scene in Captain America when a grenade was “activated” and Captain America quickly dived to “relocate” the grenade so that it would not harm his fellow comrades. Now that was a real soldier. Don’t know if I can be that heroic though. Either way, I became a hero that just saved the emotional (and maybe physical) lives of those around me. A nursing mother sitting beside me quickly muttered “You’re quite brave”. I smiled and told her that I was used to resolving issues that people around me refuse to resolve. This was no different. Come to think of it, that would have been a perfect moment to ask Chenemi out on a date. I’m sure there was a 90% chance that she will not turn down the request of this new-found hero with “husband” potentials. But I was already married to the love of my life and that wasn’t an option. Just thinking though. It occurred to me at that moment that a lot of us have grossy, eeewy & nasty issues & problems hanging around us. We complain about the problem and wait & pray for a hero that will come resolve them. In most cases, we are the answer to the problem. We can pick up the frogs, dispose of them “properly” and move on with our lives. Now I’m not asking you to pick up a python if you find one in your premises; I’ll probably run as fast as possible from such…..or maybe I can just be the David of the day, u know, the one that killed Goliath. I don’t think motivational speaking (or writing) is my gift but the buttom line is that we should be “bold” in resolving a lot of problems/issues around us. Instead of just praying for a hero that will come to save us, let’s save ourselves. I’m not ruling out the fact that there are situations that only God alone can be our deliverer…..but God will not come down to PICK UP THAT FROG. At the end of the day, the bold ones will stand out and be rewarded for their “heroic” deeds. So go ahead, PICK UP THAT FROG…..enough said