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

The Day I Shot Some Soldiers


I have stayed long enough in medical school to understand that almost everything has a technical term by which they are called, especially in the world of phobias. Phobia for almost everything has a name:
Claustrophobiafear of enclosure
Sitiophobia – fear of food
Anemophobia – fear of air
Coprophobia – fear of faecal matter
Anthrophobia – fear of flower
Phobophobia – fear of fear itself.

But fear of soldiers or guns, what do we call that? Or you think such phobias don’t exist? Trust me, they do. It was the worse thing that could happen to a harmless female photographer while behind the camera attempting to shoot some soldiers. Its interesting writing about it now, but at the very time it happened I wasn’t laughing.

The last two working days of the week was fun. Doing a funeral photography for the first, in the ancient city of Ibadan (I had only been there twice) was for me a fantastic experience. With that excitement, I jumped up and down, and from point to point, trying to capture interesting moments of the event. The service of song went well the day before the incidence am about to describe happened. So with that excitement, I went the next day, with my other female photographer colleague (the GREAT Ronke Alao),  to cover the lying in-state at the home of the deceased. Distinguished dignitaries were present at the event, so were their soldier entourages.

Just before the lying in state started, I decided to take photographs of other side events like the food session, the condolence register, a side view of the beautiful house etc. It was while I was doing this I noticed the soldiers standing with their guns and I thought that would also make some nice shots, thinking about it now, I realize how silly that decision was. Well thank God I did, at least, it gave me something to write about.

I didn’t even know what gave me the effrontery to move close to them in an attempt to take the shots. They stood in two groups, three soldiers in each group. I had taken a shot of the first group, and still feeling cool with myself, I started focusing my lens to shoot the second group. As I looked into the camera, I saw to my surprise the soldiers pointing their guns at me!!! Was that a pose or what I asked myself. Just then, one of them ordered me to come close.

At that point, all my excitement turned into cold flushes of fear and it traveled with turbulence through my blood vessels. I wished for rigor mortis (stiffening of my joint and muscles, the type seen in dead bodies; pardon my medical jargon) but my feet moved in the direction of the pointed guns. It all happened in a split of seconds, but that was long enough for my heart to travel down to my mouth. Thank God my boss had taught me about the importance of always having the camera strap on the neck, it saved my camera that day because I would have dropped it on the floor while shivering with fear, had the strapp not been on my neck.

“Why you dey snap us photo? Who you be? Who send you message? You no know say dem no dey snap soldier?”
– the soldiers asked me, All I could say was “Am sorry sir”, with a shivering voice. Another soldier ordered me to show them the picture of them I took. I quickly reached for the camera which was hanging on my neck and showed them the picture. They ordered me to delete it. “Yes sir” I replied and I reached for the delete key at once. “You sure say e no remain there”? one of them asked me wanting to know if I still had any other picture of them on the camera. “e don finish”, I replied, bending my knees with each response as a show of submission, respect and humility. They threatened that they would deal with me if they ever saw me point the camera at them again. Well, they really didn’t have to tell me that, I had learnt my lessons.

Just while I thought the discussion had ended and I turned my back to leave, one of the soldiers ordered me to come back, I obeyed at once. I was surprised when I  looked up & saw a pitiful look on his face, as if pitying me for all I just went through (I wondered what the look was about). “I for deal with you today, but na this your innocent look save you”. Was that supposed to make me happy or trying to put himself in my good books, or was he just trying to sound the last warning, I wondered. Anyway, I said a sober thank you and stylishly moved fast to leave the vicinity of the soldiers, before they changed their mind about the mercy they had had on me.

As I reminisce the scene, I couldn’t stop being baffled at how much fear I had for the soldiers. I guess I was more afraid of the gun than of the soldiers themselves. Well may be its more of phobia for gun then. I have a feeling they did all that because I am a lady, I doubt if they would have done that much ‘shakara’ if it was a guy. Well, sounds like some form of achievement. I can boldly say now that I have been at gun point because of Photography (what a heroic feeling!). I also couldn’t stop wondering why the soldiers would not want their picture taken and at how much of mountain they made out of a molehill. Anyway, you should have seen the way I avoided the soldiers all through the rest of the event. I made sure I kept my distance from them and our paths never crossed again.

Apart from that incidence, the whole event went smoothly, I had maximum fun doing what I love to do. Other than the photography excitement, it was an opportunity for me to think again about life and its essence. As I watched the remains of the deceased lie still in the casket and being committed to mother earth, I asked myself: is this where it all ends? Whether we like it or not, one day, this body we all carry about, and we sometimes tend to give all the attention, all of our runnings about, the troubles and cares and fears of this earth, will end in that lonely chamber called GRAVE. Of course with long life, we’ll be satisfied, but there’s still an inevitable end. This earth is more like a sojourn, there’s a place we all are returning to afterall. We seem to forget that fact sometimes, or do we simply not care about what happens to our souls when the body perishes? (That is if we even believe we have souls in the first place).

” What shall it profit a man, if he gains the whole world and looses his soul, or what shall a man give in Exchange for his own soul? Mark 8:36-37. Ponder about this.

I’m Damilola Opawale & you can call me the Soldier Photographer

 

My Journey BACK into a PHOTOGRAPHY ACADEMY


…..Back at eloPhotos

“Perhaps we can talk at length on Monday. Try come to DSAP and ask for the photography section. We can meet during my break but be there by 8:30am” That was Mr Seun Akisanmi’s response after I informed him of my intention to return to eloPhotos since I was on a compulsory break from school work, no thanks to ASUU and Federal Government. I had been at elophotos for about 6 weeks, some 3 years ago during one of those long ASUU strike, it was an experience for me as I learnt the basics of photography, went with them for an exhibition at The Palms, met exciting people, the likes of Kikelomo, Michael, Lara, Samuel and Seun Akisanmi himself. It was an exciting experience as I had never met people with such creativity and passion for photography.

Spending the rest of this break to learn more photography would not be a bad idea. eloPhotos readily came to mind when I thought of where to go. I knew I was up for another exciting experience, if Seun Akisanmi agrees to having me around. So I dressed up early that Monday morning and out I went, to Daystar to meet with Seun Akisanmi as he decides how the rest of my break would be like. I got to the DSAP (Daystar Skill Acquisition Program) venue at about 8:30am, eventually meeting him during the break at about 11am.

What was meant to be a big favor turned out to be a disfavor, as it were! I had thought that after my meeting with him, he would ask me to give him some time to think about it or at most resume the next day.  With this mindset, I left home on an empty stomach. Even while I was waiting to see him, the hunger contractions were already beginning to intensify, but I held on since I would be back home soon, or so I thought. Alas, Seun Akisanmi announced to me that I would be going with him to the office once he was through with the class. At that point, I did not know whether to be excited or sad. Though I had to put up an excited countenance, but deep inside, I was sad, especially as the hunger contractions grabbed me! I wish he allowed me go home.

Apart from the hunger, I was excited to go back to eloPhotos again. “This is Dammy, she’ll be joining us, she’s been here before”, he introduced me to the other interns and they all gave a warm welcome in reply. That was how the new experience began for me.

Not much had changed at eloPhotos, except that the arrangement of the books had changed, there were two new shelves, one in the reception and the other in the studio, both filled with books, I was most excited to see the books again. Also there are also new set of interns who turned out to be one of the most amazing set of people I have ever met. The past one week with these people has been spectacular.

Ronke Alao, the lady intern who I had known so much through her interesting write ups on elophotos blog, I met finally in person. She was so kind to take me through Photoshop again. She’s simply Smart and eloquent! I love her so.

Tayo is another awesome person met at elophotos. This guy always had one thing or the other to do, and he always had this serious look, even when he’s jesting he looks serious, even his voice sounds ‘serious’. Trust me, he’s simply exceptional at what he does.

Emmanuel is an amazing guy, though i’v not spent so much time with him, but I was impressed at how supportive he was when I made the move at rearranging the studio. I also watched him run some humble errands. He is simply Humble!

Toye, this guy has made me laugh the most this past one week, even in his most serious mood, he’s jesting. If you ask me, Toye would make a successful stand up comedian.  But trust me, he’s simply proficient with Photoshop.

Onos, the tallest guy amongst us… Another comedian in the house. He’s one of the few people I have seen that make people laugh and still keep a straight face. I feel for this guy though, because other interns only need to start communicating in Yoruba and he is lost. He simply fun to be with.

My most amazing discovery about these people however is how much education they’ve got. They all have degrees in one field or the other but have decided to put them aside to pursue their passion in photography. That for me is simply WOW! And I couldn’t stop thinking about it.

My first week back at eloPhotos as a whole was adventurous and interesting, but most important, I have learnt new things and I have remembered things I used to know but forgot. Thanks to my new friends, and of course Seun Akisanmi.
I wont forget too quickly my trip to African Shrine in search of Porridge (lip sealed)!

I look forward to more exciting and learning filled stay at eloPhotos this time while trusting God for the call off of the ASUU strike.

The New Intern,
Damilola Opawale