The WAZOBIA of Nigerian Photography

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Beautiful, warm, adventurous, intelligent, ambitious, beautiful….just a few words that describe each of the 3 ladies that constituted Set 9 of Basic Course in Photography. I was so impressed with their performance that I went out of my way to give them a photo session.

Let’s start with beautiful & fair Mona Lisa. When she called me on January 16 to inquire about the training, I thought she was joking when she told me her name. I mean, how many Nigerians would name their child Mona Lisa? Well, one did. I would later discover her personality to be as beautiful as her name. A pension funds manager, I would discover that she was well deserving of whatever promotions she had gotten in the last 3 years. Her love for photography is intoxicating and highly contagious. You’ll think she’s in love with a guy when she starts gisting photography. Oh by the way, she’s taken (sorry guys). Intelligent, daring, confident & artistic are qualities that describe someone named after the most talked about painting in history: Mona Lisa.

Take a look at Halima. A compact bundle of photographic passion, she was the one that “shot Wiz kid“. Meet her for the first time and she’s likely to give you her contact details if you’re a photography freak. She seems to have such high morales that will convince some Christians she’s wife-material. Teach her a camera trick and you’ll be surprised of the wonders she can do 10 minutes later. Her looks can be sometimes deceptive, revealing less of the creative juice that flows in her blood veins…..until you give her a camera. She can be mischievous too, albeit in an interesting way but that’s a topic for another day :). Bottom line, I’m glad I was privileged to have met this Northerner because her biography will be an interesting read when it is released in 2020 (possible title: the X factor) 🙂

Finally, to the only Yoruba lady in the class. Lamide joined mid-way into the session and mentioned that she didn’t want to waste anymore time in fulfilling her destiny in photography. I like people like that. Because she had missed a few classes, we had to do a quick makeup session for her in 5hrs. I was surprised how fast she digested the information. With her, there’s hardly a need to explain a photography term twice. Her commitment to learning and growing challenges me. I only wish she wouldn’t ping as much as she does during class. Either way, I’m proud to be associated with one of the lady photographers that will impact the industry in a few years. Check out her writeup and you’ll be convinced (you better be) of her ability to express herself not just with a camera but with words: Similarities between myself & AISL students

The pictures that ensued are beautiful not because of the photographer that took them but because the subjects are…….STUNNING. Their beauty made it easier for the Olympus e3 with 12-60mm lens to do its job. I refer to them as the WAZOBIA of photography. What do you think?
Plan to attend the next session of Basic Course in Photography
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The day I shot Wiz kid

Anxiety, anticipation, excitement are words I can use to describe how and what I felt when I was told that we had an event to cover. I had an idea because of the article I read about “reasons to give an 80% discount”. As much as I was given an impression that its on a probability basis, something deep within gave me the confidence that it would be my first field experience.

I arrived the office as early as 7am and I saw preparedness, organization, articulation and for me that was enough to motivate and inspire me for the day and it meant “ready for business so give it your best”. I was given a uniform which every photographer would wear and it was unique and was definitely going to draw attention to us: “we are not crazy, we are just different.” We had ID’s too so as to be admitted into the venue.
I had confidence in me but trust me, there was nervousness lingering. I asked God for wisdom and direction on this journey I was about to embark on.

We arrived the venue at about 9am and immediately,my teacher Mr Seun Akisanmi went in and put things in place for us to be admitted in with all the equipment we brought to make us deliver. We set up and brought out all the cameras we would use. We were 6 photographers and I think by default we all went around to study the environment so as to be strategic with producing the perfect pictures for the end result: a 50-page album.

I picked up the Olympus e330 wit 50-200mm lens. Although it was heavy, I knew it would help describe the event in photos even to a lay man as long as I was behind it 🙂 . I started testing it & was trying hard to get used to the camera (that is the advantage of going to the venue early enough, a point Mr Seun will always buttressed on). It took me about 30mins to get a grip of the equipment. At some point I even had to ask Mr Seun why I couldn’t focus and he told me that the fault was peculiar to the lens and I needed to take precaution by turning the camera on and off anytime I noticed it. Asking questions is important; it saved me a lot of stress of trying hard to figure out what I did not know. At this point when I was sure I got a grip of my camera, I couldn’t wait for the event to get started..

I loved the way the school was built. I loved the environment & couldn’t help but take some pictures of how the names of the teachers were designed and placed in front of their classes, how they used art to pass certain information to the students. Its the type of school every enlightened parent would want to send their kids to (even though I ain’t sure of what the fees are).

The event started and so did myself and my camera. I covered the stage performances by students along with the students having fun on the playground. There was a lot to eat and a lot of games to play as long as you purchased tickets worth the amount. (I would have loved to be a part of that but I was there to cover it).

I was impressed and could only imagine what the organizing committee went through putting all that together. With my imagination, I just wanted to be able to be a part of the team that will describe in pictures all that happened on this day.

Then the arrival of Wiz kid! I wondered why the love for this guy is so alarming. The kids left the premises (along with most of the parents) to welcome Wiz kid at the main entrance. I just stood upstairs with my camera waiting for him to come in. I really wish I was there to welcome him too but my team mates were there and I believed they won’t miss out anything.

Thank God for the lens I was using, I could capture every moment from where I was standing at the 3rd floor. At some point, I had to come down to the 2nd floor in order to get better close-up pictures. While he performed the kids were all over him, dancing and singing along to the songs he sang (even the parents had fun and danced along).

I was amazed at the way the white kids sang along perfectly (you can’t seize to wonder how often they listened to Wizkid’s album). It was beautiful and the more I took pictures, the more I was overwhelmed with excitement. Soon enough the performance ended and he had to leave but we did get a lot of pictures of him (along Banky W who kept giving him eye contacts to either follow him or do one thing or the other).

When Wizkid left it seemed that was all on the agenda they waited for because all the excitement seemed to end. But thank God for the field where the kids could not help but explore and express themselves with different games.

I must say that I was hungry and hoped that I would get a bit of all that was available to eat but because I was there to cover the event, I just had to ignore that and focus on my job. At intervals I met with my colleagues and we encouraged each other to just keep on keeping on (we were tired and just couldn’t admit it because we had to “cover” the event till the end. Despite the odds, I must say it was a great experience for me and I look forward to doing another pretty soon.

Thank God for the training, my passion, imagination and of course the Olympus e330 with 50-200mm lens which helped me capture most part of the funfair/Carnival.

Halima Abubakar

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