Welcoming The New Intern: OLAJIDE Sotunde


It all started when I found myself at the Lagos edition of WHATEVERITTAKES.

When he told us that the workshop would end at around 5pm, I didn’t feel bothered because I thought, ‘what kind of a workshop would start around 9am and end at 5pm?’ I figured it wasn’t “possible” – a word I have, within the very short period I have known this man, come to realise does not exist in reality.

I’m sure by now, anyone reading this would be wondering who I’m talking about. Well, I’ll just in a few seconds introduce you to my new boss. I’m sure some of you have met him, some have read about him or his article and some have had the privilege of working with him directly. He is ‘The Weird’ Seun Akisanmi (‘weird’ as he is fondly described by other members of the house).

The workshop tagged ‘WHATEVERITTAKES’ the Lagos edition, was held at eloPhotos office in Ikeja and that was the first time I met Mr. Seun Akisanmi, a poet, writer as you all know, a photographer which need not be mentioned, a teacher and so on.

Well, don’t think I’m just singing praises of him, you’d do more if you were in my shoes. I never thought I could sit and listen to a talk that’ll last up to 3 hours. It had never happened, (without boredom) and until that day, I never thought it could happen but Mr Seun made it happen. I didn’t realise I had sat for that long, not until the workshop was brought to an end at around 6pm, Whao!!. Only one thing could make that happen though, an interesting talk coupled with contributions from interesting people among the attendees whom I felt very honored to have met. They included the one and only Ronke Alao herself, Dr. Femi Adewuyi, yes, a medical doctor who is also a professional photographer just in case you are wondering.

In attendance were some other members of the house; Damilola, also a female medical student; Emmanuel, Toye, Onos and the rest. These are real photographers with a lot of passion for the business of photography.

At first, I thought, what would make a medical doctor take photography as another profession, or a hobby as the case may be. It didn’t take me much time to figure it out; do what you enjoy doing most and in no time, you’ll find yourself doing it well without any regret or boredom.

Photography could be done for pleasure and/or for business. To me, there is one thing about doing things, and the thing is ‘doing what you like/enjoy doing’, especially when you are going to be getting paid for doing it. That is what photography is to me and so why won’t I give it ‘whatever it takes?’ When the workshop came to an end, I felt like, ‘yes, now I can go and conquer the world of photography.’ That was how much confidence and ideas the opportunity of attending the workshop imparted in me as a person.

With this kind of opportunity at eloPhotos, I thought it would be wise if I enrolled and tap into more of such opportunities, and here I am, one of the newest interns at eloPhotos. As I said earlier, one of our watch words at eloPhotos is ‘nothing is impossible’. There is no limitation in the world of photography, just like art which I love so much, and intend to express through photography. I Love PHOTOGRAPHY, I love ART, I love PHOTOART.

I am Olajide Sotunde

 

Training @ eloPhotos: The Weird Journey So Far


One of the coolest things about being an intern at eloPhotos is that you learn, not just from Mr Seun Akisanmi, but from other well-established photographers as well. A couple of weeks ago, I had the privilege of meeting Olamide Bakare of Alore Photography. He came around to teach us Lighting. I had attended classes on the subject before, but Olamide’s class took it to the next level. It was a 2 hour class that was fully packed with a tutorial on relevant concepts and practical sessions, yet concise. I had the best of time.

Later that afternoon, I was about walking out of the office when I was met by a tall, slim and good-looking guy who looked like he was trying to find his way around. “Good afternoon, how may I help you?” I asked with a smile; sounding like a well-trained, professional receptionist. After knowing he was a guest of eloPhotos, I invited him to sit at the reception. Wondering if he had an appointment with Mr Seun, I asked, “What is your name sir?”. “My name is Emeka”, he answered. In response, I told him “I am Ronke”. The moment he heard my name, he said with a smile, “Ronke Alao, right?”. I was a bit shocked that he knew me so well or at least knew my full name. Since I wasn’t some actress on TV and I had not been part of any reality show, I wondered how he knew my name. On further enquiry, I realised he was an avid reader of our blog and had read a few articles I wrote.

Emeka came around to get information on eloPhotos academy and how he could train here. It’s interesting to think I was in his shoes just some four months ago. I remember sending Mr Seun a Blackberry Message on how I could train at the academy – more like a mini, informal application to be an intern. I was beside myself when he scheduled a meeting with me just two days after my initial contact with him.

I had been following (or stalking) the eloPhotos website for several months before that time. What drew me to eloPhotos was the integrity and honesty that I thought it exuded. Funny how people can perceive your spirit just by surfing your website! It wasn’t only honesty and integrity that got me sold on working at eloPhotos; it was also the fact that I “knew” eloPhotos had a culture of timeliness and professionalism as a whole – these are qualities that you would expect to find in every business but sadly, are missing in many Nigerian businesses. I had also been a visitor to the eloPhotosYouTube channel a number of times, so I knew what he (Mr Seun) looked like.

Meeting Mr Seun in person was a different ball game. I was surprised to find the almighty Seun Akisanmi in a pair of knee-length shorts and an old T-shirt. He wore a pair of black and white tennis shoes that I’m sure had stories to tell. His iconic look was complete with mismatched socks. Oh yes, he was wearing socks that made his feet look like they belonged to different people. They say one shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, right? I took a cue from that saying, so I decided to focus on my interview.

My first thirty minutes was spent answering questions such as: “Why photography and not make-up artistry?”, “Where do you see yourself in five years” and “Why did you choose eloPhotos?” Afterwards, it was my time to ask questions. I wanted to know why and how he got into photography. I needed to know if I had made the right choice in choosing this training ground. I also asked him questions about the academy and what kind of plans he had for the future. After our discussion, I felt like I knew the man beyond his old T-shirt and sneakers. I thought of him as intelligent – hey, I saw tall stacks of books at his office, both photography and non-photography related. I also came to appreciate his vision and passion for his chosen career, and who would have thought this guy was so romantic to have named his company after his wife?

His charming sense of humor made the time seem like it flew by. He gave me a complimentary copy of Picture This magazine. My mind was made up: I would be coming back in a couple of weeks to start classes.

It’s been four months of learning, running errands, meeting some cool people, amazing myself with pictures I can now take, doing some more learning, running some more errands, learning to keep the books and balance accounts, learning the importance of timeliness, getting a “PhD” in dealing with “interesting ” clients, and having the weird in me rise to the surface.

I am glad I made the choice to train at eloPhotos. Let’s just hope my weirdness doesn’t get over the top…. It could with the kind of weird, fun people I hang out with here every day!

 

PHOTOGRAPHY: A Profession for the UNLEARNED?


“So what do you do for a living?”, the kind gentleman by the steering of the Toyota Hilux asked the pretty babe he just gave a ride.

“I’m a photographer,” she replied. There was silence for about 15 seconds. As if trying to understand the correlation with being a beautiful lady and being a photographer, the gentleman was momentarily short of words.

“Is it that you are unlearned that’s why you chose photography? Didn’t you go to school?” The seemingly-insulting questions were short of making the “babe” burst out in laughter. She smiled at him.

“Actually, I studied Nursing but decided to pursue my passion. The course I studied was to please my parents and the career path I chose was to please myself. You should know also that my boss studied Accounting but practices as a PHOTOGRAPHER.” Her response surprised him. Another 18 seconds silence ensued.

“Most definitely your boss must have some sort of connections to be a photographer. Perhaps one of his contacts will just give him ONE job and it will be worth N1million. Because I don’t see how someone without any connections can make it as a photographer.” That was his logical reason & response.

Fast forward to 4 hours later when the beautiful babe will finally report the incident to me. I smiled. This wasn’t the first time people would imply that photography as a career option was for the jobless and uneducated.

If only they know Kelechi Amadi-Obi who studied Law but practices as a photographer. If only they know Shola Animashaun who studied Accounting and practices as a photographer. If only they know Femi Adewuyi who studied Medicine but practices as a photographer. If only they know Kikelomo Koleosho, Wani Olatunde, Michael Adebiyi, Lara Tiamiyu, Abayomi Siffre, Leke Adenuga, Olalekan Okeowo, Afolabi Oloyede, Lilian Isioro, Olamide Bakare, Seyi Body-Lawson and other great men & women of photography in Nigeria. If only they know….

These are all people who spent at least 4 years in a higher institution (not including the extra years ASUU went on strike) just to come out to pursue their real passion: PHOTOGRAPHY. Hopefully the world will soon realize that the creative arts is an industry that’s here to stay. Not for the jobless and uneducated, but for those for want to live their dream and make a path where there hasn’t been any.

If only he knew that my name is Oluwaseun Akisanmi and I am proud to be PHOTOGRAPHER.