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’s “The 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.
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.
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