LAGOS: Why I LOVE & HATE This City


As I drafted these words at 7.56pm on Friday , somewhere between Ojota and Ketu; I thought of how my week had been busy, fun, interesting and plain crazy all at the same time. It was a week that had two days declared as public holidays but I still had to show up for work on those two days. Two of my colleagues were allowed to stay home and enjoy the holiday while three  came to work. I was so jealous of those that stayed home. Sometimes I think my boss makes me work harder just because I am a woman. Giving you examples that illustrate my point is easy but I choose not to digress.

One of the most bizarre things I witnessed this week was on Ikorodu road, (you must be tired of reading my Ikorodu road stories by now but it’s too much craziness not to write about), as usual. I was in a bus heading home and the driver wanted to get on the express from the service lane but wasn’t patient. The traffic was pretty much “bumper to bumper” and the bus driver had blocked a private car. It was a big mess. The driver was asked to back up a little bit but he wouldn’t budge. Next thing we knew, the guy driving the private car got  out of the car with a horsewhip and whipped my bus driver!

I was shocked out of my mind and I don’t know where I got the guts to speak from but I started shouting almost uncontrollably. “Ha! What rubbish is this? Driver, please reverse o! This man must be an animal. Let’s get away from this spot”. I shouted amidst the driver’s cries. I was too shocked at the jungle justice being displayed by the man with the horsewhip. I was even more shocked to note that the other passengers didn’t seem to care much. ‘Why is Lagos so lawless and cold? And to think there are people leaving their villages in droves to come to this crazy city’, I thought to myself.

As we drove on, the driver talked and laughed about how the whip didn’t really hurt him and I felt like punching him in the head.

As much as I resumed at the office on the public holidays, I still had fun on Tuesday. That’s because my husband and I had a photo shoot. My colleague, Samuel, had found out that my hubby and I had not had a photo session since we got married so he asked that he take pictures of us and I couldn’t say no to such an offer. It was so much fun for me and a lot more fun for my husband  He couldn’t stop talking about it all day. For those longing to have a visual image of who the GREAT Ronke Alao is, attached are 2 clues to help you out.Ronke Alao 2 Ronke Alao

Another newsworthy development is the fact that I am no longer the only female intern at eloPhotos. Yes, I now have company in the person of  Damilola. Damilola is a 500level medical student who is making good use of her time while ASUU and the Federal government figure out a way to make up and stop bickering at each other. She is honing her photography skills and just when you think that is all this pretty, slim and attractive lady is doing; you find out she is also taking piano lessons.

You should know by now that I like her a lot. I admire her quest for knowledge and her interest in the arts. There is more to her life than bulky medical textbooks and dissecting cadavers. If you are wondering if she is single, come see me “in-camera” with your consultation fees. That’s not stuff I can discuss on a blog.

Now, for a list of things I am grateful for. I am grateful for the opportunity to be an intern at eloPhotos; for working with a boss that doesn’t mind exposing his own mistakes so you can learn not to make the same; grateful for God’s protection on the roads despite the antics of crazy bus drivers; glad I am learning how important record-keeping is in a business like this and learnt enough for my boss to call me the “Financial Controller“.

If you’ve been in the photography business for a while or you are just venturing into it and the idea of keeping a statement of income and expenses scares you, fear not. If you think promoting your business on social media simply means throwing a few pictures on your facebook page, think again. If you would like to stand out and make a name for yourself in this industry, would you be willing to do WHATEVERITTAKES? If so, register for the workshop taking place in different cities across Nigeria starting October 23rd. You owe it to your children, (born and unborn) to attend. CLICK HERE for more details.

Reporting LIVE from eloPhotos,
Ronke Alao

 

The FUN, The WEIRD & The RIDICULOUS


My week officially started on Tuesday. No, I didn’t skip work on Monday but as I stood in line at Silverbird Cinemas for ‘free’ popcorn and drink; the sweet aroma of the corn filtering through my nostrils and enveloping my sinuses, I felt like my week had just started.

The trip to the movies was sponsored by eloPhotos as a treat/field trip of some sorts. There’s something about seeing great movies that sharpens one’s artistic mind.

Not too long after arriving at the movies, I saw about five photography colleagues that had come to see the same movie I came to see, Elysium. I thought that was interesting. Perhaps we photographers should speak to the management of Silverbird Cinemas and see if we can strike a deal, where photographers enjoy a movie discount.

While still waiting to get my free snack, I suddenly heard a voice behind me saying, “…you could go in and see the movie for ten minutes, then come back out and the popcorn line wouldn’t be so long anymore”. I didn’t have to turn to recognize the voice; it was my boss. I couldn’t believe Mr Seun was back at the Cinema to see the same movie for the third time! I had left him and the rest of the team at the office since they all had seen the movie. No one knew Mr Seun had plans to ‘sneak’ out of the office to see the movie again.

I finally got my popcorn and fanta then found the cinema room. The movie ran for a little less than two hours and in one word, I would simply describe it as AWESOME. In case you haven’t seen it, I do not want to spoil the fun for you so I won’t give you the gist. GO SEE IT.

Tuesday ended on an interesting note. My alternate cellphone got lost in a bus and I didn’t realize it till I got home. I tried appealing to the good nature of whoever picked it by sending text messages; since he/ she wouldn’t pick my call. It didn’t work.

The next day came along and I lost an earring. Perhaps I am having my things walk away from me, one at a time. The day’s highlight was having Maximus of Phaneross Photography come and speak to eloPhotos interns on the topic, “Improving Your Photography”. It was an insightful 3-hours lecture.

As if the week had not been strange enough for me, Wednesday afternoon had to have it’s own element of weirdness. I boarded a bus headed for Ikorodu from Ojota. Just before we got to Ikorodu, I found that almost everyone in the bus was talking about some guy, a muslim cleric, who died years ago. They said he recently made an ‘appearance’ on the wall of a mosque at Owode area. His image was said to have appeared on a wall. People were reported to have taken pictures of this wonder and were now selling 5 X 7″ photo prints in traffic. Strange story or biggest scam of the year? You decide.

Lagos being the crazy city it is, I never run out of amazing things to see everyday. Things such as a man holding the cab door open for a lady to enter first. This happened on Thursday. I was taken aback, surprised to see this guy who didn’t know me, open the door for me. This may seem ordinary to you but after a week of seeing even pregnant ladies been pushed off by desperate passengers hoping to get in a bus, seeing a gentleman was very refreshing.

Thursday turned out to be a busy day. We had an event-Dieko and Tunbosun’s engagement- to cover. I headed to the groom’s hotel room to take shots of him while my colleague covered the bride. The groom was quite camera-shy but after chatting with him and doing my best to make him relax, he got comfortable with having his pictures taken.

The event was fun to cover and will stand out in my mind as the first event where I was served food. If I had any doubts in my mind about wedding photography been physically challenging, those doubts got cleared on Friday morning. I woke up wondering what hit me. I became very aware of muscles I never knew I had. My leg felt like it had 50 kg weights strapped to it.

On Friday, we had what you could call a strategy meeting. Mr Seun Akisanmi met with the interns and discussed what we learnt at the previous day’s event and what we could do better subsequently; especially on saturday for the church wedding and reception.

On my way home on Friday, I met a former school colleague at Ojota and we got talking. We both graduated from the same faculty. He asked if I worked close by. I was dressed very casually but looked smart. I proudly told him, “I am now a photographer and work at Ikeja”. I think I impressed myself with the confidence with which I said it. It felt good.

It was a week full of fun, weird happenings and ridiculous stuff but I am glad it is over.

My name is Ronke Alao & I am proud to be a female photographer.