I remember waking you up that Monday morning to share with you the dream I just had about you passing on. I remember being upset with you that we did not pray long enough to reject the dream from becoming a reality. I remember you telling me it’s not the length of a prayer that determines whether our FATHER will answer. I remember your calmness amidst my worry.
I remember getting the call few hours later that morning. I remember sitting by your side around 11am with oxygen tank and drips attached to you. I remember you telling me that you came back momentarily to tell me to let you go because your time was up. I remember being too shocked to cry and I am yet to cry the way the world expects. I remember that Monday morning was not the most prophetic and exciting way to start the week. I remember the criticisms, feedbacks, rebukes and advice I received all because I didn’t cry or react the way normal people react when things like this happen. I remember the counsels of psychanalysts, the admonitions of psychologists, the analysis of psychiatrists, and the gossips & gists of every other unqualified ‘gists’. But all the talk was said either because they didn’t know you the way I did or they didn’t understand this perspective of the God we serve.
You’ve been gone 996 days (not that I’ve been counting). You passed the torch to me with 3 angels to care for. Your departure gave me enough reasons to ask HIM why HE took you so soon yet I’ve refused to ask HIM those dreaded-but-well-deserved questions that start with WHY… You’ve been gone but yet I’ve been comforted knowing very well you’re in HEAVEN.
Since you’ve been gone, my relationship with the FATHER has gotten to another level for good. Since you’ve been gone, my understanding of your unconditional LOVE has been clearer. Since you’ve been gone, my definition of WORSHIP has been redefined. Since you’ve been gone, the revelation of what Mary felt when her firstborn was being crucified…. Forgive me, let me get a tissue, I’m getting a little emotional here. Since you’ve been gone, my LOVE for you has grown exponentially.
Sometimes your youngest son, Murewa, asks after his dad and I don’t know what to tell him. Sometimes your firstborn, Fiiresayemi, says he can’t remember your voice anymore and I try to play our wedding video for him. Sometimes your only daughter, Foyinsayemi, just wants to go for a walk down the street to buy groceries with her father but I’m left to be your representative.
Though it’s been 2 years, 8 months, and 10 days (really, I’m not counting) you’ve been on your vacation, I remember today – November 29, 2017 – as the day you would have turned 40 years old. I had planned this day years ago and never envisaged I would witness it in your absence, but then again you’re still present. I would have almost given up, had God not sent an enigmatic photographer my way to celebrate our family in pictures. The ONE that told me He had a hand in all that happened also told me your LIFE WAS A SEED that needed to die so that many will come to the consciousness of HEAVEN.
My prayer is that many will be encouraged to remain in the KINGDOM of this FATHER that makes all things work together for the good of them that love and seek him. My prayer is that many who have lost loved ones will find unexplainable comfort and undeniable peace like I found in the arms of the one I call OLUTUNU. My prayer is that many that see these HEAVENLY pictures that we took together will be reminded of the FACT that there is a place of peace, rest, and joy where those that pass on (I still don’t believe you’re DEAD) abide if they had a relationship with JESUS on this side of eternity.
As you celebrate your 40th birthday in HEAVEN and as we remember today the time you spent with us in years past, may God use these pictures and the blessed memory of you to heal the millions of hearts that see this. Like the unremovable birthmark we all have on our bodies, the memory of YOU & the God we serve will forever be engraved on our hearts. With TEARS in my eyes and joy in my heart, knowing very well that you’re reading this, I want you to know from the depths of my being that I LOVE YOU…. I ALWAYS HAVE AND ALWAYS WILL
Happy Birthday SWEETHEART. Keep resting in the bosom of your LORD.
Your Beautiful Wife,
Herein are the 360 degree pictures taken at Mainland Park
“The unfaithful Friday night”, “The undesired Saturday morning” or any other topic could have been the title of my essay this week. Yet, neither of these titles adequately paints a picture for my readers of my experience on this particular day and night.
One title that seemed striking and close enough is: My laptop is stolen. But, as soon as I get close to picking up my pen to write, I remember the part of Scripture that says:
“…beat your plowshares into swords, and your pruninghooks into spear: let the weak say I am strong…”
That is what informed my decision to get positive in my confession.
The week had an exciting start to it; we were mainly up on our shooting practice. For me, I loved the decision to do this because I had decided earlier in the year to bump up my study on light and composition. The house was divided into groups, with the new set of students constituting a major part of the group numbers. The Boss had introduced a picture for everyone to work on and replicate. This was followed by a general practice session and my group finally had its own turn on Thursday.
Sal Cincotta was another memorable part of the week. We continued the exploration of his video seminar, and the lessons never stop coming in. Again, a wood project was completed. It was a Red 19 project aimed at making shaped wooden material. We made a stool and then cut out the alphabets O, N, and E from the wood. This shoot took place during the weekend and two of our new students at the Academy were invited along for it.
Fast forward to Friday and that’s when the drama took place. Boss had made a trip to Ogbomoso for a Ted-x show he was speaking at. The day started quite calm and quiet and the class was billed to start with watching Boss’s favorite movie: In Pursuit of Happiness. Our tools of study extend beyond the regular – sometimes, movies and videos can also be a part of our learning materials. And, a lot of times, one can hardly imagine before-hand the extent of knowledge one will acquire from these kinds of resources.
After the movie came other trainings and practice. We had a long and instructive editing class facilitated by Mr Segun and all classes ended with everyone rushing to complete the group assignments. Most of the groups were yet to complete and submit their assignments and Saturday was almost out of place for any meeting to hold. We had the state-wide sanitation which meant restricted movement in the morning, a home-service shoot thereafter and some of the team mates were traveling, too.
So, the office was closing down and lots of activities were rushed to round off the week. Hey! The weekend was here; Monday was a fresh start.
As I looked towards the table, I saw my laptop which seemed to be saying to me that home was waiting. I really could not wait, as I had been out for two weeks prior to that time. I actually considered leaving my laptop in the office, since I will be in on Saturday. But, since I had some uncompleted project to attend to, I decided to pick it up and headed for home.
It was late in the night, the traffic was heavy, the ATM I intended using did not work, so I made my way to another distant bank. Finally, I walked into my room to discover that my roommate had traveled. The house was quiet and looked like cockroaches had held a party in the apartment. I ignored all these and settled in to the Fried potatoes and Akara I had bought for dinner.
Before I knew it, it was midnight; so I made my way to the rug to lie down. The gospel jazz music I put on was good for my mind and as the music played on, my eyes began their decent into sleep.
I woke up in the morning and sleepily moved to reach for my laptop. It was then I recognized that the music I was playing the night before had stopped. My hand probed further to find my charger intact – securely plugged in but it charged nothing.
Then my heart went cold with the realization: someone had visited my apartment while I slept!
While the facilitators were taking us through Module 1 of the curriculum that will be taught during this 6-month program, I wondered in amazement at when I will master the use of these rectangular- or square-shaped metal equipment called cameras; especially because of some of its features like, the focal length, ISO, aperture, depth of field & shutter speed. It also dawned on me that mastery of these features will only come through constant practice of what has been taught.
True to my thoughts, I practiced a lot after the classes by taking shots with these features at the back of my mind. Today, I have a better understanding of the aperture, focal length and shutter speed; and how it borders around the depth of field.
Next came the session on lighting and the facilitator this time was no other person than The Boss himself, Mr. Seun Akisanmi. I got to understand that light and photography are like Siamese twins, and that one’s choice of lighting (whether voluntary or not) will either make or mar the photo shots. He then gave us an assignment to replicate a picture from a scene in the Minority Report movie, after which we were divided into 3 groups of 4 members each.
Seeing the grey background of the picture, one would be quick to conclude that it was shot originally with a grey background. However, when The Boss played a trailer of the movie, we observed that it was actually a subtle white background. And, in the recess of my mind, I believed that this assignment will not be such a difficult task. But, by the time we started taking the shots with the help of our models (also from eloPhotos), I had my mind reset to the reality on ground.
My right hand hurt so much from repeatedly holding a flash high above my head so that we can achieve the best shot for the assignment. At some point, we even had to diffuse the light on one of the models by wrapping the flash I held with polythene nylon. Also, in our quest for our group to replicate an almost-perfect picture with respect to the assignment, we took so many snap shots that our models became grumpy at some point. So we had to end the session and settle for the best of all the shots. One other task we had to handle was to replicate another picture, this time, of a silhouette with a white background.
Another facilitator gave us an introduction to editing and here we worked with Light Room. Mastery of this too, I discovered, will be achieved with constant practice.
By the weekend, a colleague and I joined Kike (Red 19) for a baby photo shoot and this was quite an experience, as I had never experienced one taken by a professional photographer. When we got to baby Giovanni’s house for the session, he was quite drowsy and his mum and Kike agreed that we let him have a short nap so that we can get the best of him during the photo session. After almost an hour, baby Giovanni’s mum had to wake him up. According to her, it did not look like he was going to wake up anytime soon. She also fed him before we started the session.
Giogio (one of the many names we called him so as to get and retain his attention) did not have many smiles for us because he was teething. He was also restless. Oscar the dog and Phoebe the turtle (his stuffed toys) also tried to help lighten his mood during the shoot but the pair did not succeed. Then we danced and did a sing-along to a nursery rhyme video CD that was played for him. And, that did the trick!
Of the whole lot that played, “Old McDonald had a farm…” held the magic wand that had him sit still and Red 19 did not miss that rare and golden opportunity to take great shots of Nini (another pet name for the baby).
In all, baby Giogio had his photo session with 4 attires but my best was that last one where he wore a pair of trousers with suspenders, a bow tie and papa’s cap (a type of fez cap initially worn only by our fathers and grandfathers but now worn by people of all ages). For this shot, we wanted him to do justice to his cake by smashing it but instead, our VIP Giogio was more intrigued by the 8-inch cream icing before him.
All in all, it was an interesting outing and week for me.
The business of photography is meant for industrious people. It is for resourceful men and women who are determined to be successful, rich, powerful, and unique in any position they find themselves. Just as the Bible says in Hab.2:2:
"And the Lord answered me, and said, ‘Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it.’"
The vision that is written down is not meant for you to merely look at but to run with. This will keep you always on your toes to achieve your set goals.
Have an eye for details.
Your ability to pay attention to the relevant things, and also capture what is important, sets you apart from others.
Be disciplined with regard to your finances. As a business person, have a financial goal, learn how to make profit from your skills and know how to strike a balance between family and business. One customer with a good impression of you is better than ten customers having bad impressions of you.
A creative eye is an integral part of photography. The only thing that will make you relevant in the next ten to twenty years to come in the photography business is creativity. Be innovative with your lighting, composition and focus, so that the beautiful mental picture can become reality. Also, be innovative in your planning, management, pricing, and packaging – in all aspects of your work.
Familiarity with legal documents.
A lot of photographers have lost great opportunities and have been punished unjustly because they didn’t know their legal rights. As a photopreneur, be familiar with contracts, copyright laws and other legal issues that may arise in the course of your work.
Social media tools are great instruments for networking. Connect yourself with other photographers that are exceptional and unique, in order to be mentored and informed about some of the rudiments of photography. Humble yourself to be under the tutelage of someone you respect. Do not think you know it all, because there are one or two things you don’t know and need someone to teach you!
Develop your technical skills. Know how to handle all photography equipment. For example, though you use a Nikon camera, don’t stop at learning about all the technical aspects of Nikon cameras. Learn how to handle Canon cameras as well.
Develop people skills.
Your people skills will help you greatly when communicating with your clients on the kind of posture you want from them when shooting.
All I have shared above are those things that go on behind the scenes for every great photographer. And, this lecture was given by Maigaskiya, when he visited the eloPhotos Academy last week.
Information is a source of learning. But, unless it is organized, processed and available to the right people in a format for decision making, it is a burden and not a benefit. Therefore, embrace things that will keep you informed.
I remain a purpose-driven female photographer, Sanni Olajumoke.
The eye is regarded as the best optic equipment available. It captures light in its retina to create the final image that is seen. Now, since inception of the camera age, light has been a critical element in the creation of photographs. Light is everything in photography – from natural light, to the studio light, down to the various other sources of light (e.g. the sun) available.
Wherever there is light, one can photograph. – Alfred Stieglitz
This past week, we had our hands full dealing with the various challenges of creating a portrait in our new studio. The two shoots done during the week were of birthday celebrants who thought it necessary to celebrate the day with good pictures of themselves to show for it, rather than allow their special days to pass without record.
Light is essential in the making of an image. As well, a good light source engaged appropriately could create depth and dimension, which will result in a well-rounded and better image. So, on Wednesday when we had an encounter with the first subject, we attempted to use two light sources on the image – one as the main light and the other as the fill light. We took some time to perfect the choice of lighting style and the beauty of the shot was all the more realized when we added a third light source.
We chose a plain white background for this shoot. Ordinarily, this sort of background would have been okay and natural for the shoot. However, we faced the risk of ending up with a set of boring images for our efforts. And, especially since we had earlier used petals to write a number on the background behind the subject, we needed the third light source (and the right sense of composition) to bring about the desired results. So, we trained the third light source on the white background which was gelled with blue color to project the background petals and overall color of the image.
The overall lighting arrangement was eventually perfected and the resultant image was a well-lit natural looking image with a blue fill to the background. The symbolic petals had come out in blue color, the white background had turned out with a fill of blue, and the overall color of the image gave a smooth blend.
Unfortunately, we later had to switch to a one light setup. Two of our flashes had gotten burnt. We were, therefore, left with no choice but to continue with the shoot within the frame of the available light and still come up with an astonishing shoot. The final part of our shoot was with one light on a softbox. We filled-in with the help of a reflector, though the reflector was not powerful enough to give full light-up to the image. To compensate for the light deficiency, the subject was tilted more towards the light, the blue gel was still available to create the blue colored background, and the photographer did justice to the image with great composition.
On Thursday, when we encountered our second subject, our lighting method was a bit different. Our background was with a different tweak – laid with newspapers and no blue fill to the background. As well, our model needed to be coached on poses, which we enthusiastically helped with. For our efforts, we ended up with great images, our model’s height working to her advantage in her various beautiful dresses.
I remain Tobi Idowu; I love life, I love people and I love the art of photography.
It was a new week and resumption day for a new batch of 4 interns at the eloPhotos Academy. Mr. Seun, the Principal of the Academy, addressed the students, welcoming and presenting them with the Operational Manual of the Academy. This he called the Engagement Rules and Regulations of the Academy.
At the meeting with the newly admitted interns, Mr. Seun invited staff members of eloPhotos to introduce themselves to the new interns and share what their experiences had been since joining the organization. Afterwards, the interns had photo-sessions – taking pictures to be used both for their individual ID Cards and for the Academy’s collective billboard advertisement.
The Principal showed the students a video titled: MASTER THE BUSINESS OF PHOTOGRAPHY by Sia Cincotta. The video taught the interns not to be tired or frustrated whenever a customer turns them down and also to separate personal emotions from their businesses in order to make the right decisions. Amongst the lessons the video passes across to students is meeting the expectations of their clients – which actually begins with valuing their work and being creative at what they do.
Mr. Seun informed the interns that there will be several guest speakers visiting the Academy during the week to enlighten them about the business of photography. As well, they will be going to see a movie at the Cinemas, to open up their minds to the unimaginable number of creative ideas they can explore in the Business. Thereafter, the students will do a critical analysis of that movie.
Mr. Michael, who introduced himself as from Nobis Photography, taught the students to learn to think outside the box, to be focused and to pay attention to details, as these are some of the requirements for success in the business.
Going to see the movie (INFERNO by Tom Hanks) at the Cinemas was a great eye-opening experience for each student. Some lessons to be learnt from the movie are: fast thinking, making quick decisions, consistency, not to trust anyone, to be time-conscious and to believe in oneself alone.
The interns greatly appreciated the opportunity to see that movie and thanked their boss for that privilege. They were also allowed to see another movie which taught the students about professionalism in business – dealing with issues such as never discussing price with the customer online or on phone, guarding against negative emotions as this kills business, staying focused on what one can control and aiming to excite a prospect while on a photo-shoot; as this is very essential and makes their work excellent. Without all these in place, the business is sure to nose-dive.
Students were also taught to post images online, get between five and ten shots every week, not to look for an expensive space to start their businesses, to be creative and pay more attention to details.
Being at the Academy during this first week was a great experience for each student. They all look forward to more creative, fun, inspiring and educative moments in the weeks ahead on this training adventure.
My internship program at eloPhotos Academy officially started at 7:30a.m. on October 17, 2016, though I was there well ahead of the resumption time. When I got in, I met 2 other ladies — Adenike and Jumoke – who had just graduated from the DSAP (Daystar Skills Acquisition Program) on photography and decided to come to eloPhotos to run the 6-month photography internship program.
As soon as we got in, more interns – older ones, though – joined us and more informal introductions were made after which, everybody got busy with a task to prepare the studio for the day and subsequently for the week. The studio had just been acquired and so a number of progressive renovation works were ongoing. The floor was swept, mopped and all that needed to be dusted were dusted – like the picture frames set against the walls, table-tops, chairs (some of which the boss had hurried downstairs earlier on to get), etc.
After the clean-up session, next came the prayer session where we gathered together to sing and pray to God; thereby committing the day and week to Him. Then, the first formal introduction and meeting with everyone (both the old and new interns) followed.
The boss talked to us about the photography profession and encouraged us to be focused and disciplined, as these qualities are crucial to succeeding in this profession. He also summarily ran us through the interns’ rules of engagement and what is expected of us during our stay at the eloPhotos Academy. We were informed that at eloPhotos, Mondays had been dedicated to family meetings – where issues that might have popped up in the previous week are discussed in detail and solutions proffered, if the issues were not resolved. The plans or projections for the current week are also concluded or created, if not done already. Part of the plan for the week was for the new interns to have photo-sessions for the purpose of our eloPhotos identity cards. This, however, was concluded on the same day.
The next day, after cleaning the studio, we settled in to see a couple of photographyworkshop videos by Salvatore Cincotta, who is a renowned wedding photographer in Illinois, USA.By mid-day, we went to see a 121-minute runtime movie titled Inferno at the Silverbird Cinemas, Ikeja mall. It starred acts like Tom Hanks (Harvard University professor Robert Langdon), Felicity Jones (Dr. Sienna Brooks), etc.
When we returned to the Studio, we all reviewed the movie and continued with a couple more videos from Salvatore Cincotta’s workshop on the creative life. Generally, we saw and reviewed a number of videos from Salvatore Cincotta during the course of that week that bordered on different aspects of photography like pricing, packaging, sales, marketing, etc. We also had enlightening sessions where 3 professional photographers who had earlier graduated from the eloPhotos Academy came in to talk to us about their experiences during and after their internship at eloPhotos.
Another highlight of the week was when our applications and weekly reports were randomly selected and reviewed for errors. This was anchored by the boss himself, after which he gave us an assignment: All new interns were to have our write-ups on A Day In My Life In 2025 reviewed and re-sent to him. Work on the eloPhotos Studio and Academy banner was also scheduled to be concluded and set outside the building before the new week and this has been completed.
As we proceed into the week of October 23, 2016, we look forward to the technical aspects of our photography training which we have been told will commence that week.
For some time now, I have come to believe that tomorrow is an illusion. I need no book to convince me of this. Yesterday, Today or Tomorrow, are all continuous strands of time; different parts though they may seem to be. The division, in truth, only exists in our heads. Especially if you regularly work late into the night, you will agree that the difference between 11:59pm and 12:00am is only as recorded by your calendar, timepiece or the wall clock. Other than those, time is a singular entity.
Speaking of working late into the night, I did exactly that on the night preceding my resumption at the eloPhotos Academy. I needed to finish up several personal tasks, so as to have fewer carry-overs into my work-week, so I had to work into the next day.
Before going to bed, I reminded myself of the eloPhotos Intern’s Duties, especially highlighting to my mind the 7:30a.m. resumption time and the attendant consequence of breaking that rule. My plan went something like:
1. Wake up early enough to be at the bus stop by 6:00a.m.
2. Have a 40 – 50 minutes ride to work (by my calculation) – which should leave me with about 30minutes of luxury time.
So, you can imagine my surprise when I woke up and my eyes darted in the direction of the wall-clock.
Momentarily, I was confused. Am I already at the bus stop or am I still in bed? (Of course, anyone could tell the difference by the level of comfort enjoyed in both spaces. Lol.) I rushed off the bed, had a traditional "indomie dress-up”, and stumbled my way towards the bus stop, eventually getting there at 6:30a.m. Well, going by my calculation, I was still in time for resumption.
Then the unthinkable happened! For the next 15minutes at the bus stop, not one bus stopped! (That’s quite a paradox, isn’t it?) As I pondered on what could be responsible for this odd occurrence, what seemed to be my "salvation boat" appeared; the first bus to stop in fifteen whole minutes. Not without its own conditions, the bus fare would gulp everything I had on me. I certainly didn’t see this while mapping out plans for my first day at work. On a normal day, the amount of money I had in my wallet should be enough to get me to my destination – and even leave me an extra N50 to return home with. How could I have forgotten that Monday is never a normal day in Lagos? Didn’t I once witness a traffic hold-up at 5:00am on a Monday, here in Lagos?
Over the next 5 minutes, my confusion grew in geometric dimensions. All other transportation options at this hour had the same price-tag. I even got begging one of the bus conductors and his reaction was more apt for someone who had offended him in his former life. I was left with two options: I either wait there until I get a bus with a fare fitting to my pocket or get into one of the buses immediately and figure out the next move while on the bus. As I quickly figured out, the first option wasn’t really an option after all – such a bus won’t come within the hour and then, I’ll be extremely late. So I hopped onto the next available bus.
As the bus zoomed out of the bus stop, I resolved to treasure-hunt through my pockets when I get off the bus, peradventure I would stumble on some miracle-money in there. And if this strategy does not turn up anything, I will do some miracle-jogging. Lol. The drive presented its own challenges and I spent far more time than I had anticipated on the bus. So, when I got down, and had no miracle-money to employ, I quickly proceeded on a 25-minute strolling exercise to work. Close to the office door, I quickly freshened up as if I had just gotten down from an SUV, then entered and joined the Monday Meeting.
Then, a few minutes into the meeting, my new boss (and Principal of the Academy) uttered what I considered the most interesting news for the day: "Official attendance-taking starts tomorrow." What a relief! Though I was late on that day, it would not go down in the records.
I don’t need to tell you what time I got to work the next day! Every day is not Christmas! But I learnt an important lesson through this experience: I had no excuse. If I conjured one up, I will only be explaining away my failure. I’ve got to learn to meet up with targets. To do this effectively, I need to make room for contingencies!
Wednesday, October 19, 2016, was my first day at the eloPhotos Academy. I had a hard time choosing between two equally-appealing offers, which led to my not showing up in class from the beginning of the week.
Shortly after I arrived, I learnt that interns were responsible for keeping the environs of the Academy clean. And, looking around, I saw various pictures in frames, freezing memories of events that took place in times past. So, without much ado, I found a clean rag with which to dust up the frames one after the other, simultaneously perusing the frames in appreciation of their value and beauty.
After the cleaning exercise, I got talking with fellow interns who had resumed at the Academy two days earlier and their experiences left me surprised. They had learnt so much in just two days and even gone to see a movie at the Cinemas. Wow!!! You said? That’s exactly how I felt too!
We settled in for lectures and the first activity entailed sharing experiences from the previous day. As one of the ladies shared about her encounters at the cinemas, I allowed my sense of loss to overwhelm me right at that moment. This served to effectively keep my ears shut. We later watched a photography clip wherein the instructor discussed things to note when starting out as a photographer. What stood out for me were statistics about the different media through which clients could be reached; and how to segment the market, as well as define the specific market I would like to appeal to.
Day 2 at the Academy was, for me, exactly like the first; except that the video clip we watched on this day narrowed down on the different categories of value packages that customers could enjoy from a photographer. Did I mention that Mr. Seun was always there to clarify grey areas after each clip? Yes, He was! He was always on hand to dispel any myths and ensure the seamless assimilation of knotty concepts.
Later in the day, two male interns and I left for the saw-mills. Our mission was to negotiate a lower price for the purchase of an MGF plywood (a special type of fire-resistant wood). Earlier in the week, the director of the Academy came up with a creative idea he wanted us to execute together. According to him, the long cylindrical-shaped waste product generated by our large format image printing effort could be adapted to form the stand for a much-needed work table. So, the plywood we purchased was to serve as the horizontal surface of the table that will emerge as soon as we cut the cylindrical waste into an appropriate length. It took Mr. Seun and I another half hour to couple the table’s legs to its’ top. I was very glad, though, to have been there to witness and partake in the birth of that creative idea. And, some minutes before 8:00p.m., I said my goodbyes for the night.
At the end of our class on Friday, we embarked on coupling another table. I had no idea that Adenike, a fellow intern, was so skilled. She practically did all the screwing required to produce the second table. They say, what a man can do, a woman would do better and hey! She certainly did. When we rounded off at about 8:00p.m., ready to escape into the much-awaited weekend, the rains chose that exact time to start pouring. Hence, we were forced to stay back for about an hour before calling it a day.
I am Adegbite Olusola, and this has been my Week 1 experience at the eloPhotos Academy.
A word that’s frequently thrown around, yet not very many people know what it means to truly love.
Some 15 weeks ago when we started dating, it felt like heaven on earth – almost flawless and perfect! I felt like I could do anything to sustain the relationship. And though I still feel that way, the feeling is subtly different from the way I felt a few weeks ago. I have had to relinquish all the things I thought I knew, subject myself to rigorous training from experienced educators in this regard and practice every day to get the most of my relationship with him.
Everybody around me continue to complain that I’m losing weight. In fact, my mother – like every mother would – calls me almost every hour to make sure I’ve eaten. In her opinion, I’m starving and need to eat more to regain or, at least, maintain my weight. Unfortunately that’s not so close to the truth.
Despite everything that has happened, it still seems like I don’t know him at all (and this often happens in many relationships and even marriages). Every day unveils something new and amazing I could do with him; something I didn’t know about him as at the previous day.
He kept his promise, though. He had told me at the start of our relationship that I could do several things with him. This way, I don’t get stuck and bored on a particular activity. He said to me that together we could transform the world. I am interested in impacting my world and gradually getting remarkable ideas on how to go about that achievement. He’s opened my eyes to see the world in variant creative ways, and constantly studying him has improved my visibility, creativity and know-how.
Don’t be fooled; it’s not always rosy and interesting. There are flaws too and even on both sides. Sometimes (if not most times), I get tired, frustrated and burned out from all the activities. There are times when it feels like there are a million things to be done and I don’t even know where and how to begin. Often times, I don’t even have enough time to carry out assignments or even practice. And, most times, there’s little or no audible encouragement. But, I choose to keep up the work still. Hmmm…..the things you do for love!
Sometimes, too, I don’t manage the time I have well enough. Sometimes, I want to get all the information in at once and it can be overwhelming. I confess there are times when I’m totally not interested in studying to get more knowledge. It is in times like these that love (drive and passion) sustains me.
As the hustle and bustle get tougher, I’ve chosen to remain dogged and resilient; quite like Chris Gardner (Will Smith), the main character in the movie The Pursuit of Happyness.
Love is patient, love is kind, love is beautiful… Love is not all comfort, love is not complacent and love is not lazy. My love for photography drives and keeps me going.
As I walk up to the podium in the midst of a roaring standing ovation of millions of audience, after being introduced as the next speaker at the Excellence in Leadership Conference (ELC) 2026, a feeling of nostalgia took me over. I had once been in this crowd being almost a Nobody. I had also consistently attended the conference annually as I improved on being a better person. Now I have found my way to the pedestal of persons worthy to be one of the conference’ speakers. How did I get here?
While I was seated, waiting to be announced, I had journeyed back to where I started from and especially the juncture where a critical ignition was made in my life. I had always being an ambitious wishful-thinker because as much as I was ambitious, I can also be very complacent. At some point, I got tired of living so-so, I got hold of my life and enrolled to be a Professional Photographer and Entrepreneur in eloPhotos Academy/Studios and came through to the world of No impossibility. Though I had attended ELC before, it was not priority for me this particular year as I was still an intern and did not have a control of my time. But Boss ensured we all attended the conference though we did not register earlier as required. We got in the conference and I am grateful till date that I did not miss it.
The conference was an icing on the cake for me as it got me revisiting and analyzing all I have learnt (from boss and a mentor/life coach I saw weeks back) as well as every goal I had penned down. Every speaker that came up in that year’s edition emphasized almost the same principles of being an influence; Passion, Diligence, Tenacity, Love, Personal Development… I noticed they dwelt more energetically when they spoke about "the Price to Pay." It was obvious they were all die-hards at their dreams and they had to let go of some precious things, went through great inconveniences to attain the admired heights we all saw. "There is a Price you must pay to get to the Top, the greater the goal/dream, the greater the price to pay," they all hammered amidst all other principles they highlighted. I got scared, I pondered, my dream was apparently heavy, but after much thought, I resolved my dream is worth dying for, I will pay whatever price. Words from the conference kept me on my toes through the years and the hurdles I faced. After all, it was worth it at the end.
I jerked back from my deep thought, in a fulfilling smile, as the convener of the conference, Pastor Sam Adeyemi, called out for the introductory commentary they would bring me up to the podium. I spoke to the audience deep from my heart as if I was reaching out to another "Me" in the crowd, it was really an emotional moment. Rounding up, I reiterated that I am still work-in-progress and there are still lots of payments to be made.
Guess I got you all through a journey of my living imagination. Don’t mind me, I am not serious, as some people expressed when I started this journey months ago. I do not intend to be serious till my great dreams play out. After all, many great men of influence in our world today were "not Serious" when they started out. So it is ok not to be serious, I will unseriously learn the skill and character, keep the abnormal schedule, skip the meals, skip the sleep, endure the stress, even when I injured my ankle in my quest for knowledge and leg is painfully swollen, I will unseriously endure the pain. When I have to stay awake all night to fix an inexcusable report and mum thinks this is weird and unhealthy, I will unseriously pull through and work my dream out. Watch out for this lady Photopreneur.
It’s one of those weekends when I can’t find the zeal to carry out my normal duty of creatively stating how the week was and what I learnt during the course of the week. Don’t misinterpret me, it’s not that the past week was uneventful; it was in fact so full of things to learn from – Icould even write a 10-page documentation of all the activities that took place, but I don’t want to bore youwith all that information. I won’t be wrong to say I had enough information supply for some time because if can effectively use all the information I got during the week, I’ll probably be one of the highly esteemed and sought after entrepreneurs in no time.
The week started on an interesting note and led to further interesting things, I got the opportunity to attend a leadership conference in town – Excellence in Leadership Conference hosted by the acclaimed Daystar Christian Centre. The program exposed me to quite a number of lessons and to-do lists.
The height of my week happened on Saturday; a senior colleague had told me she had to cover a birthday party on the noon of Saturday and she was also invited for an Exhibition that same Saturday, but in the evening, she needed an assistant so I volunteered to go with her. The whole day was quite busy,leaving the event to the Photo-exhibition. Gladly the whole business was over and we were soon heading home. On our way home, we entered the yellow commercial bus popularly called “Danfo” in Lagos, Nigeria. For a while now, I’ve been having interestingly funny experiences on these buses and today was no exception. Usually if you are a commuter on thesecommercial buses, you’ll understand what I mean; it is either the driver, the bus conductor, the bus or even the commuters that have a particular issue that would spark up a dramatic experience.
On this wonderful occasion, it was one of my fellow commuters that started the drama; myself and Tope (my colleague)were totally jaded from the day’s business and were busy feasting on the nicely packed meal given us at the party. The bus was especially stuffy and it was already late that evening but the driver was insensitive and was busy collecting the transportation fee sluggishly. Half of the people in the bus were quite cranky and were complaining arrogantly that the driver should hurry up. It was in this cranky mood that, a middle-aged woman seated somewhere in the middle row made the statement that got everyone, including me, upset. She said, “Driver please be fast o, don’t allow Ese and Sharon to waylay me and throw me inside third mainland Bridge”. This singular statement threw everyone off-balance, what ran through my mind was how a mature, sane person could utter such unnecessary words. Neglecting what everyone was saying to her, she continued mumbling to herself and I just said to my colleague that she was delirious. What got me confused was that a few of the 19 extra passengers, I thought should be in perfect condition started acting really funny, I don’t want to say insane. I started hearing phrases likeMadam are you crazy and some other people were shouting Blood of Jesus,Holy ghost fire, driver please let her go down o and other fear-related statements. Still in her delirium state, she kept talking to herself and some people kept confronting her.
Aside from the fact that I felt people like this woman could be well taken care ofbefore their situation gets out of hand, I figured a very high percentage of this city’s population are tensed and panicked even before something goes wrong, italso made me understand better how the mind and mental health has to be taken seriously.
I pray we get our minds straight and free of fear; I’m Enor Izomor and I’m still a photographer.
Resuming at work for the week started wonderfully with so much expectation for me but this was abruptly cut short a few hours after I consumed my okpa (apopular meal peculiar to the eastern part of Nigeria which is made from a specie of beans) with gusto. Okpa is so filling that once you eat it, be sure to drink a lot of water as it has a dehydrating effect on its consumers. I find it very amusing that whether it is okpa, akara, moimoi, beans and stew, porridge beans or the almighty ewa agoyin that I consume, I tend to get lethargic and then want to sleep. This I have confirmed is the experience of so many other people so out of curiosity, I did a little research on what could be the possible cause of this. I found out thatthe beans family (legumes) is rich intryptophan, a substance which helps the body to produce melatonin a.k.a the hormone of the night which in turn is the hormone that is responsible for regulating our sleep and wake cycles.Okpa is also called 6am/pm to 6 am/pmamongst other aliases as you are unlikelyto be hungry for many hours ( my reason for buying this one) after consumption even though this depends on the rate of one’s metabolism.
It was a while after I had bought my okpaof #200 that I remembered that I had my lunch in my bag and I doubted if I would really even eat it. True to my calculations, I took my lunch back home since I found comfort only in the rest room for the rest of the day as my system had full control of my day. At will, my system instructed me on when I should visit the rest room, how long I should stay in there and my obedience was always complete,immediate and with the speed of light as I did not want to be embarrassed. On one of these visits to the rest room, I met it occupied and I could no longer think straight as I kept harassing the occupant behind the door by constantly knocking on the door. In between waiting for the occupant to come out and knocking on the door, I leaned against the wall by the rest room door to support myself as my feet had lost its stability and I capitalized on its restlessness to divert my attention albeit briefly, from the rumble in my stomach. My system even instructed me in strong terms, not to participate in theongoing field project, Residents of Nigeria (RON), which is currently running at the academy and like a humble and obedient servant, I respected myself anddid not dare to step out with my colleagues. In a situation like this, I had almost incurred the wrath of my systema long while ago which I can never forgetand I have seen instances where my fellow human beings were dealt with by their various systems and it was neither a pleasant sight to behold nor was it pleasant to the nose. At some point, Istarted feeling weak and had to leave the office well before the close of business but this too was with the express permission of my system as I had it promise me that it will behave itself till I get home. I achieved this by psyching myself and timing my journey back home which by God’s grace and mercy wastraffic jam free. As soon as I got home, my system tried to announce itself again but at this point it had lost most of thecontrolling power it had over me earlier in the day since I was careful not to eat anyother thing through the day, my bed was my shield and comfort.
The next day, I felt much better so much so that I was at work and could even participate in the field project, RON. Also,during the cause of the week, Iparticipated in the Annual Excellence In Leadership Conference (ELC) organized by Daystar Christian Center, Lagos and the theme for this year was Maximize Your Influence. We had speakers like Bishop David Oyedepo of Living Faith Church, Canaan Land, Otta, Ogun State, Pastor Bill Hybels of Willow Creek Church USA, Mrs Folorunsho Alakija, a businesswoman, Lagos, Rev. Julian Kyula of The Purpose Center Church,Kenya who is also the Co-founder and Group CEO of MoDe Group and severalother speakers. The various speakers spoke on so many aspects of life like encouraging us to dare to be different, be great time mangers, be prudent financially and always remember that in order to get to the top, a price has to be paid. The host and hostess of this conference were naturally Pastor Sam and Pastor Mrs Nike Adeyemi.
Mai Gaskiya from Abuja also paid us a visit at the academy and he spent an enlightening over 3 hours with us. It isalso worthy to note that I found his passion for our profession, photography is very infectious.
In all, my bitter but now amusing experience with that ruthless #200 worth of okpa, to a very large extent, controlled what I ate for the rest of the week and how I ate them. I’m Oluchi, a female photographer on an adventure.
We recently moved to a new office and it’s not only bigger than the former, it’s also taller. Its a two storey building and we are right there at the top floor.
Climbing the stairs isn’t fun at all, especially when you have to climb carrying either a bucket of water, a laptop bag or a camera bag. You will have to get to the office, grab a seat, get a bottle of water to catch your breath. One day I even decided to run through it in minutes and I fell.
However, I find it interesting rushing down the stairs with speed, I sometimes even jump the stairs in twos and I never fall.
This week was mind opening for me. I had a rethink on my goals, dreams and my future as a whole.
I sat down to analyze what it really takes to climb those stairs to the top. And If it was worth it. Guess What I discovered?
I discovered that climbing the stairs to the top
I am more conscious
I am more focused
I am persistent
I put in more strength
And I lose a lot of energy
I am patient so I don’t fall
Otherwise, going down the stairs
I am less conscious
I move with ease
I don’t lose as much energy as climbing.
Analysing this I discover why a lot of people find it hard to get to the top, why some find it hard to stay at the top and why a lot never even make attempt to climb.
It cost a lot get to the top but it cost more to stay there. It’s easier to go down and it cost nothing to stay there.
Where do you want to be?
I am ‘Tope Adeniyan and I am ready to pay whatever price it is to get to the top.
Some weeks back a "friend" and colleague had come to me for help. Have come to know him from way back during my training days at eloPhotos academy and it was easy to relate with him as a colleague.
He needed to borrow my equipment for a Job which he had that weekend so he called on me for help. This was not the first time of him coming to me for a favor like this and I had always given him.
But this particular day I actually didn’t know why I thought of it over and over again. Maybe because his perfume this days smells more like weed. Maybe because he asked me to pay when I needed him to return this same favour some times back. Maybe my spirit was trying to warn me. But whatever it was I didn’t listen.
I went ahead and gave him what he requested for he promised to return it in three days. But guess what? Three days became three weeks. And it wasn’t just 3 weeks, I meant 3 weeks of hard labor. I called him so much that if you had checked my call log you would mistake him for a boyfriend. But guess what, he never picked up or returned my call. At this point I was scared and helpless I called a few other colleagues who could know his whereabouts but it was to no avail.
I was frustrated and angry I had even thought of going to his house it was at this point I noticed that I had no track on him, nothing but his name and phone number. (Check the first line friend was in quote) Typical me I’m to quick to call someone a friend even when all I know is your name.
The only way out was to involve Mr Seun which will mean listening to one of his popular lecture "choosing your friends right". I used 2 days to rehearse on how to tell him about this and on a good day I finally did. He helped me get through to his mum and we finally contacted him. He promised to bring my equipment back within a day but it took One week.
I finally got him to bring it to me. I had prayed to God to help me keep calm when i saw him and he had answered my prayer; I was as calm as an Angel. I collected my equipment and ran up to check it. On getting to the office I discovered that one of the equipment was already faulty and he never mentioned. I wept inside as I was in so much pain & disappointment. I just didn’t know how to express my pain in words for you to understand but this really was hurtful. It hurt so much but it also taught me more about people
Call me Tope Adeniyan, this week I learnt to use the word "friend" rightly. I hope you all will do the same.
A few weeks ago my dad asked me this question, using his exact words, he said "How long does it even take to learn this Photography sef? I was shocked at the question but I understand where this was coming from. I had told him earlier that same day that I was returning to eloPhotos and I actually didn’t explain why.
Of course he was confused and I wonder what must have been going through his mind. Maybe he was thinking "would I have to pay for a new training fee?" He just didn’t figure out the answer on his own so he decided to ask me.
As a Nigerian, I answered back with a question. I said "But daddy why do you still have to read after spending 7yrs in medical school?" and that was obviously the end of the conversation.
After that moment, I had a conversation with myself and I wish I had even answered the question differently.
I wish daddy knew eloPhotos academy isn’t just a photography school.
I wish I had made him understand that it is a place you learn about life through life itself.
I wish I had told him how eloPhotos had even taught me a lot about myself.
I wish he knew eloPhotos taught me persistence and hard work.
I wish I had told him eloPhotos taught me to put my trust in God.
I wish he knew I can now carry 50 litres bucket of water up a two-storey building.
I wish he knew he doesn’t even need to get a painter to cover any hole he finds in the house because I can fix it.
I wish he knew how much morals and standard eloPhotos had built in me as a person not to mention as a Photographer.
I wish he knew how eloPhotos had taught me the DIY (do it yourself) rule before consulting a specialist.
I wish he knew I can be whatever I want to be just because i don’t say "I cant."
At eloPhotos, we believe nothing is impossible; absolutely nothing. We produce excellence with undiluted integrity. We work on self-made furniture. We take our lives on our sleeves. We work our lives out knowing we have no choice but to succeed.
Dear Dad, I am back at eloPhotos academy knowing that knowledge has no borders. And guess what! You don’t have to pay for all I will be learning this time around because I got it all covered.
Going through the week I would say was interesting because it was really tough but there was so much to tease and laugh about (I guess that was just to cover up for the internal numbness ravaging). Truth be told, the hardest part of being an entrepreneur should be this part of paying your dues on starting out, quite crazy how you would have to act out an “it is well” life/situation. A bitter pill to swallow, an internal groaning.
So this numbness lingered. How possible will it be for me to succumb to accepting there was a struggle within? Though I was fading off, gradually loosing Me, I thought the best way out is to suppress it, look off, shun it and play it off. Trust me, I have three wonderful colleague-clowns with me to excellently carry that out and we had lots of fun. That was the best escape route at my moment of reality.com. (Really, I love to be empty of worries and be happy always). But I am loosing myself, I couldn’t feel Me again, Help! Not even my “Friends” and co-clowns could not see beyond the plays, gist, teases and laughs, whew! I, even did not realize the extent till my mentor and i had a conversation that kept my eyes wet for minutes; I was xrayed, I was opened up like breaking the coconut shell to let the water out and get the softer and chewable part.
Then, I appreciated and learnt more about mentors, especially when you are in close contact and they know you. Mine has a skillful way to get you, after talking about some tasks done and to be done, he chipped in;
Hope all is well with you?
It seems something has been on your mind/heart for over a week now.
But then again what do I know.
Perhaps I don’t know Mosope as well as she is known by Enor or Tobi
Then I replied;
What did you observe sir?
It is possible you know me more than them o.
They could be carried away by plays and gist. It takes a deeper look and observation.
I actually gave this response genuinely like I am with a doctor I expect a cure/solution from. He dropped the Punch;
Your resumption time to office, your countenance (as if tired or something on your mind or someone annoyed you at home or office), and the fact that I usually have to ask you to do things at least twice before it seems to get done.
Or maybe na me just dey read too much meaning into all these.
After all what does a small boy like me know about a tough, complicated & seemingly-soft lady called Mo.
By this time, I was deep in tears, he was absolutely right. Why would I allow this to happen? If you know Seun Akisanmi and eloPhotos Academy well, all these above mentioned are non-debatably off, I felt really sorry. He had watched me over time and would not allow me do this to myself any longer, it really takes someone who is genuinely interested in your good to see beyond your ill behavior and take to caution instead of scolding or penalty. I accepted I haven’t been me really lately, can’t even feel my pulse (so many things to thrash I guess); but i admit all that are not enough excuses for ill behaviour.
Being true and genuine that I know him to be, he encouraged and ended the conversion with his gesture;
Perhaps it will help if I take all of us out to the movies on Tuesday.
Perhaps it will help ease all the tensions.
Quite thoughtful. What a boss/mentor!
This was the high point of the week for me as it made all the teachings of the week make more sense and reiterated I am in the right place. Though not sure my “Coconut shell” has all been cracked out because I am still in my “reality.com,” I will be more conscious of me.
This is still Mosopefoluwa Onanusi (actually soft, but tough, an overly committed friend, deeply nice, fun-loving, ambitious….Lady) taking life lessons at eloPhotos Academy.
It was an interesting week at the eloPhotos Academy. I found myself wondering what I had gotten myself into. From headaches (which I later learnt is not unusual), to sweeping and mopping the office, to going to see a movie with the intent of not just enjoying but learning from it – it was such a circus! Stepping out of the Cinema, I still couldn’t tell for sure whether I saw what I was supposed to see. Lol.
Oluwatosin Bakre was one of the guest facilitators at the Academy last week. Her brand of photography is unique, in that, she photographs mad people. Her belief is that these mad people will be off the streets a few years from now and this is the time when she can capture imagery going extinct. Oluwatosin believes there’s a new Nigeria emerging from what we have right now and she’d like to stand out then. To sponsor our thoughts, she asked: “How will you be relevant in the scheme of things when the new Nigeria comes?”
Michael of Nobis Photography was another facilitator at the Academy who had these to say to us:
1. Don’t use your skill as gift; I did this a lot in the past.
2. Insure your equipment.
3. Calculate depreciation on your assets.
As an entrepreneur, taking cognizance of the above in decision-making will ensure one prices his services appropriately.
Sal Cincotta’s training videos were another important part of last week. A few of the points that have stayed with me from those videos are these:
1. Put your average charge on your website so that only the people that can afford you will contact you.
2. Check yourself; if people contact you and do not buy from you, the fault in that process is often times traceable to you.
3. Experiment with new shooting ideas, but not on your clients’ big day.
4. Everyone is a photographer, but not everyone is a professional photographer,
So, I got to the office on Friday and to my surprise, one of the tables had been constructed. I was so enthralled that I asked Oluchi about 5 questions in the space of a minute. I mean, I had barely been out of the office for a few hours and a brand new table was already in use.
Thankfully, my opportunity to get creative came later that evening, as we were tasked with the responsibility to construct a much-needed second table. Mr. Segun, Sola and I bounced ideas off each other, noting that we didn’t have the exact materials the first team had to work with. Clearly, we needed to come up with a creative way to complete the task. More importantly, the functionality of our creation was paramount, as there was the need to protect the paper legs from being ruined by water.
So, we set to task and in about 2 hours we had our table! I found the saying: ‘When there is a will, there is a way’ to be true; we had everything we needed, even though we didn’t have everything the other team had access to.
It is amazing how human beings tend to maintain a status quo – we want to be like everybody else and do things the way everyone once did it. This brings to mind a certain Yoruba saying which goes thus: ‘E je ka see bi won se n see, ko le baa ri bi o se n ri’ (Let’s do it like it has always been done, so that we can get the same result everybody gets).
Like someone once said: If you want to be an outstanding Creative Professional, know the rules and break them! I actually battled with this line of thinking for a while because it sounded counter-intuitive. Now I know that this precisely is what I need to stand out.
So the next time you suddenly realize that you do not have all the resources you think you need, refuse to panic! Instead, remember that what you have is just enough.
I have only been one week at the eloPhotos Academy, but my experience thus far indicates that I am going to have a good time. On my first day at the Academy, I encountered some difficulty locating the venue, because there was no form of notification in front of the building. However, on stepping inside of my new school premises, I immediately felt welcome.
There was Adenike who greeted me with a hug. And then, there was the security personnel of the house who welcomed other students and I with chairs while we waited for the arrival of members of staff of eloPhotos. Such warm welcome was a good first impression – it spoke of love and care. And, as if that was not enough, Tope came in panting shortly after, apologizing for keeping us waiting outside. With sincerity written all over her face, she said to us, “Oh dear! We are sorry for keeping you outside for too long. Please bear with us. I’m not with the key, but Mr Seun will soon be here.” That, for me, was beautiful and touching. A few minutes later, Mr Seun came in and it was time to get into serious business.
The office opened with a cleaning exercise, followed by a quick session of devotion, after which the CEO of eloPhotos and Principal of the school came forward to address everyone. Mr. Seun Akisanmi welcomed the new interns, among other things, inviting us to trust him for a good training.
And next on the agenda was a family meeting! Like seriously? A family meeting?!! I thought I was here to learn photography and nothing more. Well, as I was about to find out, I had thought wrong. That meeting, the family meeting, was very unique and homely. With what I witnessed in there, I became convinced all the more that I am in the right place.
During this week, we had a video training session with Sal Cincotta, titled: Master the Business of Photography. I learnt a lot, and even got to share some of Sal’s business principles with my family. Without doubt, some of these principles will help my mom in her catering business. One principle that stood out and I will never forget is, “Don’t feel bad to charge your clients for your hard work.”
I also witnessed two photo shoot sessions: one for students who required ID cards and the other, a portrayal of Prayer for Siblings with Miss Kike (of Red19 Photography).
Away from class activities, we went to the Silverbird Cinemas to see a movie titled: INFERNO. From watching this movie, I learnt that betrayal can come from anyone; and that by determination, one is sure to conquer and break new grounds.
Some alumni of the Academy were also around to speak to us during the week. Michael, the CEO of Nobis Photography, was around on Tuesday to speak about Photography and Business. He said, “As the law wig is important to a lawyer, so is the camera to Photopreneurs.” Then, Miss Tosin, the CEO of Charis5 Photography, came by on Thursday. She shared with us her thoughts on hardwork, and how sacrifice has opened doors of opportunity for her.
On Friday, we held discussions bordering on relationships, marriage and religion during our leisure time. It was as much fun as it was educative, I tell you! Tope and Mosope revealed their desire to marry Ibo men, while Oluchi (an Ibo lady) preferred a man outside her tribe. I also contributed to the discussion, declaring that I had no tribal preferences. In the end, we all concluded by praying that God will give each of us the best man.
Then, it was the turn of Mr Segun to lead the discussion in the direction of religion, its dictates and the way it is practiced here. On his own part, Mr. Segun believes it is unbecomingly easy to get into the pastoral position in some churches in Nigeria. Then, Enor shared that her Dad does not like it when ladies wear trousers. Though she thinks otherwise, her Dad sees this act as sin. This made a number of us erupt in laughter and several thoughts and religious standpoints followed. Like I hinted earlier, there was a lot to learn amid all the fun we were having, such that I look forward to another enjoyable week at the eloPhotos Academy.
I am Olajumoke Sanni, a world-class photographer.
The previous week, for me, was an avalanche of many learning opportunities. However, by far the most remarkable event that stood out in my mind was the “creation” of the editing room tables. I used the word CREATION because that is precisely what described the making of the tables currently adorning eloPhotos’ editing room.
Ordinarily, when people want to make tables, in fact any furniture at all, they call a carpenter,then tell the carpenter exactly whatthey want and leave the work to him; after all that is the carpenters job? But then, as I have come to appreciate, in eloPhotos you are not bound to follow such restrictive “rules”. If you need a table nothing stops you from creating one yourself. In fact, a table does not have to be made with wood or the usual materials that the unyielding mind has arrogantly come to associate with furniture. What says furniture must be made of only wood, metal or plastic? What law prohibits a table from being made with paper?
Well, you can make your own furniture, you do not always need a carpenter to make one, and you can make one with paper. I saw it all happen at eloPhotos.
As it so happens, eloPhotos is currently renovating, and everyone is aware that there is plan to redesign the studio and bring in new furniture. But what most people, including I, never considered, was the manner some of those furniture will be acquired.
So when the amiable owner, and the creative engine behind eloPhotos – Seun Akisanmi, fondly called Mr. Seun by all, observed quite a number ofhard cylindrical paper rollers, which were be disposed by the printing outfit that occupies the second floor. He imagined that these rollers could be used for something and voiced his thoughts to the rest of us – “What if we use these to make the legs of our tables?”
Well, I was skeptical and doubted how a few about-to-be disposed pieces of cylindrical paper could possibly be used for tables? What if someone spilled water? What if these tables collapsed under the weight of the equipment’s that will be set on them?
But then, Mr. Seun not only insisted it could be done, he practically demonstrated what he meant by constructing one. Whoa! We have an office table with wooden top and paper legs! Not only is the table sturdy, it looks neatly crafted. After the initial one, two more tables have now been constructed by members of the team using same approach and material – wooden top and paper legs.
This experience was a huge learning point for me, as it reinforced in my mind what is possible when creativity is buoyed by imagination. Not only was Mr. Seun able to see what was possible with supposedly worthless paper rollers, he was also creative enough to put what he had imagined together.
In my mind, albeit unconsciously, I had narrowly delimited being creative within a photography studio environment to what could be achieved with images only. Aren’t images what one “logically” wants to be creative about in a photography studio? But creativity has its own language and logic is not necessarily part of its vocabulary. It does not matter its application –whether in photography or making furniture; creativity has a common language. When allowed to blossom, creativity does the same thing over and over – connecting things that logically seem unrelated to provide unique, valuable solutions. I saw that demonstrated and it was a gratifying experience.
“It is dark not blank…
The calamity of today is “how far can you see.
But the brightness of today needs less of our eyes…”
When will life lessons ever end? Never I guess, because even death teaches some tough lessons to people around.
On that premise, I will not hesitate to blow the horns on the two worlds I toured and engaged with in this past week. Then I made an assertive conclusion;
“Our environment and circumstance are like a wall around us, it is now left for you to make a window to see the other side.”
Attending a seminar with boss on a speaking engagement brought me to realise of a truth (like boss used to say) that; “you do not know or appreciate how much you know until your knowledge is tested or you are in the midst of some other people.” Then I appreciated the in-depth knowledge that is being impacted in eloPhotos Academy where I am even still scared of so much left to be learnt. These guys sure do not know what so much is embedded in this art- Photography, much more beyond the lenses, shutter and Albums….whew! They are great guys though, just need to make a big window in their walls, see the larger beautiful world on the other side and pursue whatever it takes to get there. I sign out here. It was also pleasuring to see how beautiful ikorodu has transformed into and will be in the near future.
Then I found myself photographing these set of Awesome people whose predicament all people dread and it will be almost impossible for someone with such to be a photographer (until I met Taivis). We have everything in common except their sight; they even have their four other senses sharper than ours. You really need to have an encounter with these guys, very energetic, smart, highly talented….name it. It was their International White Cane Day, the white cane is their walking stick (a sign of independence) to guide their walk and safety. We had a safety walk on an expressway with volunteers and Lagos State Traffic Maintenance Agency (LASTMA) Officials around to guide, we had long rows of blind and visually impaired persons; I did not really know how I felt about this, the sight was humbling.
Guess what, they were full of life, not looking in anyway downcast, sure they have accepted their disability and moved above it. Hence, they turned out stuffs you would not believe. Caught one, very smart lady pulling a friend (with a good sight) with her to run an errand, leading the way very fast as if she could see the way through. I just shook my head in amazement. Their countenance was impressive, they danced, cracked themselves up, laughed and I looked at myself with excuses to justify my being sad sometimes, what an ingrate I was.
The final stroke came when one, who has authored a book, came up to recite one of her poems. And she goes:
“How beautiful is it in the dark.
It is dark not blank.
The calamity of today is “how far can you see.
But the brightness of today needs less of our eyes…”
I paused, put down my camera for a while and thought; is this not the same thing I have heard, learnt and known for too long? She just presented it in this way and it felt like I was slapped. She obviously understands it better, maybe because she’s got no balls like I do.
Still on my life lesson series, my name remains Mosopefoluwa Onanusi
It happened yesterday. After returning to my office from a trip that entailed the purchase of my supper – 8 oranges, 1 titus fish & 1 loaf of bread – I found my colleagues snapping pictures of a building in flames about 100 metres away. The view from the window of my office seemed to be perfect for them to capture compositions that would perhaps be submitted as their weekly reports or even sold to an international art buyer.
Upon discovering what was happening, I found it a little interesting that no one thought of going to the burning house to see what can be done to help. Without thinking (honestly I really didn’t think it through), I put down my supper on the table and told them I was heading to the burning "bush" to see how I could help.
About 5 minutes later, I was at the entrance of the burning 2 storey building that seemed to have gathered a cinematographic-audience of about 150+ people. About a third of them had their camera-phones pointed in the direction of the room that was spewing out flames from the second floor. Perhaps I should have brought my camera. Perhaps the thought didn’t occur to me. Like Superman or Spiderman I felt as though a good friend of mine was trapped inside the fire that seemed to be raging from within the seemingly small room.
Without thinking I was determined (in KANU Nwankwo’s Peak Milk accent) to help. I asked an onlooker stationed at the building’s gate if more hands were still needed to put off the flame and was shown the staircase that led to the room burning on the second floor.
A few young compatriots had already climbed the roof and were pouring soapy water in buckets to try the quench the flames. The fire department had been called upon but it seemed they were either wearing a woman’s 2-hour makeup or they were just stuck in Lagos rush hour 6pm traffic. Either way it was obvious that if we were going to wait for the fire fighters to get there, the house would be a rubble of ashes.
I discovered that I seemed to be the only one to have entered the house through the stairs. It was my first presence in a burning house and I was glad to discover that no friend or enemy of mine was trapped within. I was immediately followed by a team of about 7 men who would later help pass me buckets of soapy water that we used to help reduce the inferno stirring up within the 6 by 10 feet room.
The smoke was intense, the fire unforgiving and the determination of the 10 man-impromptu-firefighters to quench the fire was relentless. At one point I had to retreat because the smoke that was emanating from the burning rooms where choking my eyes and lungs. I felt I was 45 seconds away from collapsing. While retreating back for air, I saw one of my fellow firefighting compatriots using his handkerchief to cover his nose. I asked him to give me the handkerchief because it wasn’t going to do much for him if he’s not ready to go closer to the fire to pour the soapy water. He didn’t argue.
What was I thinking? Come to think of it, I wasn’t thinking at all. It was as if the burning house was my beloved BMW 750i that was in flames and I was not going to let this be an easy defeat. By fire by force, I would do my best to quench…. I handed my other colleague the handkerchief and we discovered it wasn’t long enough to cover his nose with. At the speed of thought, I found myself removing my shirt and singlet (let the Nigerian reader know the meaning) and handed him the 2 year old faded singlet to cover his nose. It worked like magic and we were able to stay longer in the flaming room to quench the fire. Of course I wouldn’t have survived if I hadn’t used my shirt to cover my nose. I would later find out that we had been in the room for over 10 minutes.
After dispensing about 200kgs of soapy water into 2 rooms whose ceiling and rooftop were gone, we seemed to have won the battle. However, this wasn’t a victory to celebrate because of what was lost. I would later return to my office with revelatory thoughts that ran through my mind simultaneously with the headache I had just contacted as a result of the inhaled smoke. I probably should have thought this through before heading in, but then again the house might have been burnt to the ground if I had thought before going in (just a thought).
The following are some of the thoughts that hit me as I passed the team of professional fire fighters that just arrived at the scene.
1) A crowd of over 300 people stood outside to watch and photograph the building burning. Only less than 10 people (not related to the owner of the house) went in to help. In fact, I later discovered that most of the 10-man firefighting team were people considered to be the miscreants of the society: area boys.
2) The crowd were muttering words of commotion that I had to ignore most of the time. Some were shouting out orders to us on how to quench the fire, some were abusing the owner of the house for making it difficult to gain access to his house, some were blaming NEPA for the supposed-surge of electricity that started the flames while others were just smiling (yes, smiling) because they got there in time to capture the "beautiful" potentially-viral scenery on their smartphones.
3. The room where the fire raged the most was as a result of the tons of clothes stored there by the owner. A small room housed what seemed to be about 8 large suitcases of clothes. It was obvious the room belonged to one person that had PLENTY of unused clothes that fueled the anger of the flames. How many clothes does a man really need, I thought.
4. If I were a member of a religious organization that reigned down "fire" brimstones prayer on my enemies, I would repent because I just witnessed firsthand what real fire can do. I would definitely not want this to happen to any of my enemies. Really.
5. The fact that Bible scriptures were written on the building did not stop it from burning. But then again maybe it was the scriptures that prevented it from burning completely.
6. A church service that was holding just a few buildings from the house was uninterrupted. Since it wasn’t their building burning, there wasn’t a need to interrupt a meeting where God was ministering.
7. The owner of the house wasn’t around when the house caught fire. Whether or not he was a good person, the area boys bravely took it upon themselves to help quench the spread of an inferno that would indirectly affect them.
8. The fact that you’re seemingly surrounded by a lot of people and admirers does not mean they’ll be willing to help you quench your house when it is on fire. The fact that I have 35,000+ followers doesn’t mean they’ll be willing to help in my days of affliction. Many times, real lifesaving help will come from unexpected sources. At that point, I prayed to God to help me have friends that will help quench the fires of life when they rage. I figured that 10 of such friends would be enough.
On my way home, I found myself fighting the tears that struggled to leave the domain of my eyes. So much has been witnessed with these same eyes in my 38 years on earth. I could only smile when my wife then mentioned that she felt sad because she forgot her phone in my office earlier in the day. She forgot her phone and that made her sad. I’ve been sad also for similar forgotten items. I handed her the forgotten phone in the darkness of my room and silently prayed for the family that just almost lost their house. So much lessons learnt from a burning building. So much lessons learnt about life. May God help us all.
The week started as usual with worship and prayers to God and with words of exhortation from the Boss Mr. Seun Akisanmi, the brief exhortation led to the Monday morning meeting; I was particularly worried and unsettled about the meeting given what happened in the past week.
The meeting commenced with everyone sharing the experiences, well or bad, they had last week and I’ve noticed overtime that Mr. Seun always has something to say about everybody’s experience, he either amplifies the lessons present or answer a question in the shared experience; then again he’s practicallybeen in this for over ten years, I shouldn’t expect less. From Mr. Seun to Miss. Kike (Red19), Tobi, Tope, Mosope and I, we all shared varying experiences and lessonswe gathered from the past week. My story brought about quite interesting feedbacks from everyone and in summary I just learnt there are more than enough ways to go about a task.
The week was quite lazy for me, not because we didn’t have anything to do, in fact we had lots of things to be done but I was just lazy in my mind despite the fact that I was busy doing one thing or the other and I still can’t explain why and how; perhaps because I was short on funds and needed to meet lot of targets.
We had a 2-year birthday shoot for a little boy during the week; shy baby Keni was interesting and at the same time a lot of work to shoot, he got everybody dancing and singing and jumping and doing all sorts to get his best expressions. During the session with our cute baby I learnt a few things; as much as I encouragereprimanding a child when he or she is wrong, I advise you understand the childand know which technique best suits the child and will not affect his or hertemperament. I noticed our little baby Keni’s reaction when his mum scolded him and forced him to loosen up during the session, He is one child that would not do well with harsh scolding as it willmake him scared and run away from the person scolding which might eventually turn out badly later in life if the person always sounding harsh is either of his parents.
It does a lot a good to understand children, know that they are different personalities and have different behaviors and should be handled differently, it’s super sad when parents compare their children; they can’t all be the same. In a way this also applies to our individual relationships as adults, I know but I also learnt during the week that all humans aren’t the same; one shouldn’t expect the same reaction on a particular issue from two different peopleas they aren’t the same. Of course there are some occasions we would expect that we all see things from the same perspective, even then we’ll see it and perceive it in our different and variant ways. This is what makes each of us unique and special, so don’t take it personal when someone doesn’t see things the way you want them to see it. I appeal that we be mindful of these things because they are of the mind.
The light of the new week was merged in hope and enthusiasm. I finally concluded on a project to pick and work-on . And not only did I make up my mind, I eventually started out. Having something to start out was a complication for me for years. The idea of a project was not just what I gelled into, of course not just for the sake of what to do(as I have had the privilege of getting proposals from mentors and colleagues) but what I could eventually buy and call my own.
The passion and enthusiasm to start and complete something worthwhile could have only been fortified with inner conceptualization and perception. I have had speakers and teachers speak for years on great photography career and I am an ardent follower of those with the idea of photographers going on inner search, on a journey of self-discovery. We see and perceive the world in a different light, and since we as artist make good use of the eye we are bound by forms and shape to communicate our paradigm, feelings and emotions.
Picking the book humans of New York was Insightful, revelatory and brought new light to what it is to engage in documentary photography for me.Brandon Stanton had collected street portraits and interviews on the streets of New York City for his blog andbestselling book. The project started out in November 2010 and has developed a large following through social media. The blog has over 16million followers onfacebook and around 4.7 million followers on instagram as of January2016.
The book had caught me with so much interest, inspiring me into what more can be done with pictures, and eventually saving me boredom of just being a wedding or event photographer.
Tuesday was just a day for another shoot; it was a shoot of a two year old baby of the name Kenani. We had earlier in the day hosted Samuel Obaderu to take on a class on some of thetechnicalities in photography. He started the lesson with his journey so far and how he started out in photography.
Having to listen to others on how they started out, the challenges they facedand how they are where they are has been so much helpful, injecting me with much faith and energy to keep up in the field; Obaderu was not much different, he ended his class with a bit touch on technicalities. The baby shoot had later bomb into the class, there was dividedattention, and the class eventually came to its end.
Thursday was to come; Mr Seun had earlier in the week started his class for the DSAP(Daystar Skill Acquisition Program) for the present session. My first attendance for the program was to assist my boss with video recordings and a bit on the logistics. The event was to satisfy my love for adventures and differences; having to work with the student and watch my coach take the class was an encouragement. Maybe I could one day take a class with quite a number of students, May be I could insight my student with the love and passion, May be I could be just be a teacher and much more than a shooter.
My name is Tobi Idowu; I love life, people and the Art of photography.
As usual I’m seated at home this Saturday evening pondering in my conscious and subconscious what to document about the past week. On the surface of my mind there are a few things I’d like to put down now; then again I don’t just want to tell a story of how the week sped off, I’d prefer to share what will be most beneficial to my esteemed reader.
Some days are great and perfect while some are not even close to it; some days are interesting and informative while some are not; some days you’ll be hungry while some you’ll have more than enough to eat; some days will be super busy and stressful while some will be boring and less busy; some days are clumsy while some are not; some days you’d have enough to spend while some days you won’t; some days you’d be in the best of moods while some will be moody; some days you’d feel like you’re in the right place while some you’d doubt your sense of judgment; some days you’d be carefree while some you would have cause to worry.
On that fateful Friday, I got to work at exactly 7:59am – the latest I’ve been to work in a while, apparently boss had been waiting for me to run a quick and important errand. It has been proven that those who live close to church come late to church than those who live farther; those were the striking words that greeted me (Yes, my boss has a diplomatic way of scolding someone). More subtle as the words came, it sounded loud in my ears but I had no other choice than to agree. The words convey a standing fact that even I can prove considering the many incidences I witnessed in my family church somewhere in the east. Thinking about it now, I believe it is a conscious thing because one tends to get a bit relaxed when he/she is closer to the destination.
About an hour after this revelatory period, we were working on our creative frames and in the process of improving the quality of the frames; we got an idea that required the use of very-small-sized nails. Of course, we are not woodworkers to have various sizes of nails so we had to go buy. Tope and I who were assigned to that task had to trek a wonderful distance in search of tack nails as it is called. From one shop to another asking the same question “please, do you sell nails?” and if they don’t the question is changed to “please, do you know where we can get nails”; with each person directing us back and forth, we visited a total of 13 shops ranging from shoemaking shops to electrical and book shops before we got it from a miniature kiosk popularly called “mallam shop” (just in case you’re wondering why we didn’t stop looking, my boss’ name is Seun Akisanmi and I’m learning not to give excuses).
Still that morning, boss told me that I’ll be going with Mr. Segun (a new face in eloPhotos) to get frames at Aroloya on Lagos Island. I didn’t understand the comical “odabo o” (meaning bye bye o) Mosope told me when I was leaving until I got to the place; it is that dirty, smelly, disgusting and horrible looking place Mosope told me about some time ago. I totally forgot; I would have braced myself up for the experience. The sight was even worse because it rained on our way, but it was also an avenue to learn some negotiation skills.
Just when I thought I’ve had enough for one day and was about leaving for my humble abode, a building opposite us started burning all of a sudden. Seeing they didn’t have much help plus the fire service was not forth coming, my boss stormed out to the rescue; in my mind I was like come back o, you’re no super hero. I realized not long after how timidity and fear can override and cloud one’s sense of judgment and empathy; the main lesson for me was when Mr. Seun told us the extent of the burns, he said a small room stacked full with clothes stimulated the fire and all the clothes got burnt. He said “it’s not as if they can wear all the clothes, they just lie there wasting”; these words got stuck and kept ringing in my head, probably because I’ve been worried and complaining about getting new clothes.
Some days? No, all days are wonderful and beautiful; it all depends on how you perceive it and what you decide the day be like for you. Truly that fateful Friday gave me a lot to think about and I’m grateful for it.
I’m Enor Izomor, improving daily and becoming a better person.
So I woke up last Saturday with just N350 left on me. Not that I went to bed the previous night with $493,562 on me; just that I was low on physical financial resources. My wife of 122 months was quick to ask one of her favourite questions of all time: ANYTHING FOR ME? I was quick to let her know that there was nothing to give her for that day as the only money I had was to transport myself to a client’s house in less that 90 mins.
"How are we going to do the weekend," she quizzed. I wished I could tell you how optimistic my response to her was. I think I just kept quiet and presumed she had made a rhetoric statement. Trust me, being broke is not a pleasant experience especially if you have hungry mouths that are waiting on you. However, I had been broke too many times in the last 2 decades to know that this storm too shall pass. I always rebound.
Within 30 minutes I was heading out of the house to someone who had read one of my write-ups a few days earlier and asked to see me. He wasn’t just anyone; I had photographed his birthday last year and impressed him so much with an album that made him give me the largest transport fare back home any client had ever given me. This is someone who will make you make time for him if he says he wants to see you. I sensed somewhere in my heart he wanted to bless my life with some financial resources. My head started playing with potential figures this wealthy retired citizen would endow upon my life. The figures seemed to be having at least 5 zeros in my head.
Fast forward to about 3 hours later. I had just left the man’s house. I wasn’t happy. I was disappointed. How could he have done what he did to me. How could he have shattered my expectations beyond irreparable Humpty Dumpty status. I wasn’t happy. I was disappointed. Oh, I already said that.
I was right to have sensed that he wanted to bless my life with financial blessings. I was wrong to have dreamt of so many zeros in my head. "Can you imagine him giving me just N20,000," I thought. He should have just asked me to send my account number so he would transfer the amount instead of having me waste time to come collect a meager amount. Didn’t he just buy a Toyota Camry 2017 edition. Didn’t he just paint his 12-room mansion. The thoughts were endless in my head as I took the 40 years journey back to my promised land called HOME.
I was barely 231 steps from his house (not that I was counting) before I came to my senses. I slapped myself in the spirit. I punched my imagination. How could I have been so so ungrateful? Was I not the same person that woke up a few hours earlier with almost nothing to feed a family of 5 (not forgetting my dream BMW 750i ActiveHybrid baby that seems to be delaying in arriving). I was ungrateful, unthankful, unappreciative and any other synonym that falls in within the family of ungratefulness. This man just literally gave me 20k just because he appreciated the work I did for him over a year ago…….and I was ungrateful.
Suddenly I found myself saying "I’m Sorry" as if apologizing to an invisible Father by my side who just scolded me for not saying THANK YOU from the depths of my heart. I was broke just a few hours earlier and now I was ungrateful. I’M SORRY. I’M SORRY. I’M SORRY.
With a remorsefully thankful heart, I got home with the good news of the testimony we had read in the Open Heavens devotion earlier that morning: DIVINE PROVISION. My wife was happy, my children were fed, and my imagination was reinspired to continue dreaming about my long awaited BMW 75……
What is it you’re not wholeheartedly thankful for? Don’t be like the ungrateful broke photographer. Don’t be like Seun Akisanmi. Even if its N350 you have now, be grateful that you’re still in a sane mind to know how to count and what money looks like. Be grateful that you can still use the restroom without anyone assisting you. Be grateful that your eyes can still read to this point. Be grateful that you’re still alive. For only the living can be hopeful. Don’t be ungrateful. Be thankful.
If by any chance you want me to come and see you so you can express your appreciation for whatever work I’ve done for you in times past, please be rest assured that I would be very very very very grateful. I have repented. Trust me, I would be very grateful. 🙂
Starting the week with God in prayer and singing was not uncommon, Red 19 was on ground to head the session, Mr Seun Akisanmi had ended the prayers with his poetic-like lines. The first and the only regular meeting of the week had begun, everyone with one or two words; one two three the ball was passed and in few minutes to the hour the meeting was over.
Our usual training session had started with Sal Cincotta, a video session of about 29hrs, the thing was to break it down and take the dose of photography and business bit after bit. The Basic business principle was explained; either in photography or any other it’s all same: pricing, marketing, target market and the face of the brand. During the period one could easily behold himself as in a mirror. The description of a man who enjoys creative and passionate of his craft, he set out on a business venture to make earning, in no time he soon becomes aware of the enormity of the task he has embarked on and that business is business. His emotion and sentiment had brought him nowhere. The business is riddled with the passion of the craft, family and friend factor, and the face of undesired and undeserved clients. He is faced with mounting bills and cost, and the craft had brought him no farther than he thought.
Video classes are not uncommon with the foreign artist, and so much for download on youtube and some other video platforms. Majority are centered on camera techniques and skills, posing techniques and its likes, and just a little on doing the business of photography, getting to see the video was just it, and no much fun can be than to listen to the artist with much of the understanding of the business.
Sal Cincotta is very successful business owner and the owner of the Salvatour Cincotta photography. He turned pro back in 2007/2008, and made successes in the business of photography. His business had a time declared 1 million dollars in the year 2014 as revenue.
Snapshot was a part of the week of business of photography. We had hosted him to facilitate a class on the Tuesday. We suspended our video lecture and justify his presence with the attention of our team to his knowledge and experience. His local perspective was best right on time, no better time to share his over five year’s journey. One of the high point was to him making money and improving his art without a sense of direction and vision. At a point he made up his mind to take up the full-time role of an artist after a period of about four years and his journey had been much adventurous.
One or two things to pick, sometimes we tend not to agree their perspective of life, but they have a message and the result is evident. Mr Seun had made arrangement for us to be part of the seminar down on the island; Sottu was on ground to discuss business. The talk had ended with just little on the business and more on his techniques and portfolio. His openness to show his pricing and his packages was it for me. The bottom line is Sottu has just decided to join the league of the few who are committed and passionate about helping the upcoming.
“Do not blame the rich, they do not know how it feels to be poor.” That is the interpretation I gave to the outburst of a speaker at the summit I attended recently, saying cameras that are not high ends are scraps. But he failed to teach us how to get there. As much as I agree that a very good and very expensive gears kill the job for you as a photographer, you do not get to access such gears at startup except you have a rich family background. So how do you save up to acquire the “high ends” if not by using the “scraps,” which makes great images as well; after all, the camera only makes the image your eyes already saw.
I suppose he is one of the rich dudes that started out as a big boy. I sincerely did not get his point because not even he will lend out his “high-end” gear to a newbie photographer, so how does a “not privileged” newbie pull through? Really, I am grateful for the foundational education in eloPhotos, very balanced I must say.
Analysing Bayo Omoboriowo and his philanthropic photography was a high point in the week for me. Yes I call a philanthropist; His foresight is deep, his interest and commitment to things and people is impressively genuine. So many of us photographers pursue money, but he personifies the saying; “Pursue your passion and success/money will follow you pants down.” The whole event of “The Coversation”/Book launch held at the Presidency showcased his high level of wisdom,value-adding attribute, forward thinking, humility, human relations… I can go on and on, the guy
captured my heart. And all these attributes did not just jump on him as the presidential photographer, he has upheld these values and the philanthropic nature since when he was a street photographer, had a personal experience with him back in the years. Something cuts at me, who does that? Giving all the proceeds from his book launch to IDPs (Internally Displaced Persons).
All the efforts, all the calibre of people who attended the event and their supposed depth of donations! Who does not like money, not even in this recession. It reiterated the truth that; “Joy is not defined by wealth, it is contentment that has its key,” and “wealth is not in money, but how many lives you affected positively.”
October 1st won’t leave my mind in a haste, not just because it was Nigeria’s Independence, but this contentment thing that brings joy confronted me again. Took out time with some younger friends to go visiting some families unannounced, just to show some love. Touched quite a number of places but one stood out. More than meeting a full house (the whole family members were present), much more than meeting them eating, the aura in the home lighted my heart. Even though we were getting tired by then because of moving from one place to the other, we were energized by the so much love in the family. They were not the “rich” that had varieties to munch, they did not have beautifully painted walls, well tiled floors or beautiful sofas, but they had joy.
We actually met all of them; Dad, mum and four well-built young men eating “garri (cassava flakes) and beans” from the same plates, gisting and laughing over the meal. Wow! I felt that was awesome and will be more tasteful than eating “fried rice and chicken” crampy. They were all very friendly and funny, I sincerely loved what I saw. Contentment is sure a virtue to be valued in life.
I am not sure going to stop taking life lessons as I, Mosopefoluwa Onanusi, savor my photography skill learning.
Attached are pictures taken last week. Do let me know what you think of them
As happy and motivated as I was, I dashed my dreams and disappointed myself. I had a hundred
thousand naira within my grasp and on a platter, all I needed to do was complete a simple task of
negotiating for a particular commodity for a particular price and redeem the N100K prize but
unfortunately I was unable to complete the said task. The situation was and is so disheartening that I
can’t even explain the details without shedding a tear. The fact that I lost the money is not as hurting as
not being able to complete the task.
The week brought a lot of lessons along while coming; having not to cover an event for a cousin was a
big deal for me and became a platform to learn something new. I kind of had a soft spot for her and
didn’t even charge her a reasonable amount because she’s family, unfortunately she wanted a free job. I
really don’t understand why because I also used to have that mindset before that if my family member
ran a business I should pay less or nothing to get their services or goods, now it seems difficult for me to
charge a family member but this issue is something that is needed to be really dealt with if not, one will
soon run out business.
We have been watching a video on Sal Cincotta’s lecture on the business of photography and among all
that I’ve been learning, he said we shouldn’t feel bad for charging what we charge as photographers and
as business persons generally but should be confident to charge what we as well as our service is worth.
He also gave us tips on how to transform our business from the ordinary to an outstanding business
outfit. As much as it sounded harsh and not nice the Business tips from Sal Cincotta plus admonitions
from my boss came in handy for the negotiation with my cousin during the week because I probably
would have done the job for free on her own terms not mine.
We also had a guest lecturer over during the course of the week in the person of Adesanmi Oguntade of
Snaptures Photography. He shared his experiences with us regarding how he ventured into photography
to escape a certain academic frustration but it turned out not bad, he shared how he had failed and
excelled thus far in his photography career. I also learnt the principle of low-end customers and how
they can proportionate to great business transactions. Often times we neglect marketing to a set of
people thinking that the other set cannot afford to hire us, of course not everyone is your client, but we
can even make transform people into marketing for us without directly rendering a substantial service
My name is Enor Izomor and I’m proud to be female photographer interning at eloPhotos Academy.
He just stood there still as a rock. He should fight for his life, struggle his way out of that unfavorable situation; I expect that he’d at least give it a try. Still he was still; I stopped to ponder for a minute, he didn’t seem to be worried about the situation he was in.
Why wasn’t he worried? Why wasn’t he devastated? Why wasn’t he struggling his way out? Why? Why? Why?
I had been in this place called Akonko, somewhere in south-western Nigeria, since the day before and seeing the lifestyle of the people in this village I was marveled; nothing like I’d ever seen before. They were so carefree and not tensed unlike the city I live in where even the oxygen we breathe in is tensed. I’ve said it times and again that if there’s a reason to worry, then these people had more than enough reasons. Where there is no electricity, no good drinking water, no health care facility, no internet or mobile network source, school fees worth less than N1k seems unaffordable, schools are equal to a dead end and a lot more that can’t be written; I think there’s no better definition for misery than these but ironically these people didn’t see it as that but were even more carefree than people that had all that and more.
This butterfly was caught in a web and when I expected it to be worried and struggle its way out of the web, it just stood there and watched in patience. I’m guessing it had earlier been struggling and fighting to get out of the web and that didn’t seem to be working so he opted to try a calmer and stress-less method, it’s just a guess but I suppose the worry-free spirit was abundant in the village called Akonko where I captured this butterfly.
Relating this to our lives, as long as man lives there will always be reasons to worry and when you try worrying does it work? I can say 99% of the time it doesn’t work except you’re banking on the negligible 1%; so I was thinking why not emulate the Akonko approach and try the calmer method. It’ll cost you nothing to try anyway; let’s reduce the hypertension in the world and loosen the web easily, it all begins with you.
Just so you know I released the butterfly afterwards.
Now imagine you wake up on #Nigeria‘s #Independence day celebrations to discover that #Google just gave Nigerians a birthday present. Imagine they just announced that they’ll be starting, effective #October1, a #photography & makeup service arm of the multi billion dollar company. To make matters worse, imagine that you – the reader of the supposedly-good news – are either a #photographer or a #makeup artists.
HOW WILL THIS ANNOUNCEMENT AFFECT YOUR #BUSINESS?
My goal wasn’t to intentionally deceive you with a blog title that has the #potentials to render thousands of #photographers and #makeupartists #jobless. My goal is to bring to our conscious awareness the fact that it’s becoming paramount the need for us to reinvent everything we know about photography, makeup & business generally. Most of us never undertook any serious level of business education before starting our businesses and it’s affecting us whether or not we acknowledge it. My campaign is for us to have a serious rethink of how we run our artistic businesses.
I know for sure that many of us will be terribly affected if Google decides to launch such services. Their concept of #FREE will cause many of us to either sell our gadgets to survive, or move into other unconquered Google fields so we could barely survive. Imagine they start by #advertising that #passport pictures is for free. Anyone who goes to Google #Photos can get up to 200 free passport photographs yearly. Anyone who goes to any of their branches can have a free #portrait #session and get all their high resolutions softcopies for free. Anyone who visits their makeup saloons will get their first 10 sessions absolutely FREE. Truth is it won’t be funny at all. Many of us will literally cry, complain and declare that the #Antichrist has come in the form of an unmercifully evil company.
This may seem like an extreme example to give but if we don’t rethink everything we know about how to run a photography/makeup business (or any other business)…….. Everything about #pricing, #marketing,#copyrights, #negotiations, customer service, #EVERYTHING…..the end will definitely be upon us.
I’ve had my own share of challenges this year (& still going through some now) and my rethinking process has been the reason why I’ve not been active on some online social media platforms. My rethinking process has even led me to sell a few things many people consider as assets in order to invest in a BIGGER dream process. Trust me selling off our ********** wasn’t funny at all but I believe without doubt there will be results in a few months…. Many of us (myself inclusive) spend too many unproductive hours daily on #Facebook, #WhatsApp, #Twitter, #Instagram begging for people’s approval and attention when all we need to do is to spend time to invest in something so radically different that will make the likes of Ty Bello, President #Obama, Bayo Omoboriowo, Kelechi Amadi Obi or Santa Claus call us for advice. Some of us need to take 1-4 weeks off to restrategize and rethink our processes before the unthinkable & unbearable comes upon us.
Please note that this message is NOT for everyone. I don’t write it as someone professing to know much. It’s just a challenge to a few people who care to take note to invest radically in new #inspirational ways of doing things.
The #books we’re #READING and the friends we’re KEEPING (or #mentors we’re FOLLOWING) will very well be a BIG determinant in how we’ll be #LIVING in 2 -10 years. A word, like they say, is enough for the wise. What will you do if #Google decides to move into your industry and provide the #products & #services you presently provide? Well if you’re travel consultant or tour guide, you might want to unbiasedly analyze how Google’s new baby, #GoogleTrips, will affect your business. Happy Independence day to everyone.
For those that couldn’t make this year’s Nigeria Photography Expo & Conference (NiPHEC), all he videos have been uploaded to our YouTube channel for you to download. Even if you attended, you might still want to watch it over again at youtube.com/niphec
It is not only with God that all things are possible. With Seun Akisanmi, all you need ask is “Is it possible?” and the default answer you get is a big “Yes” irrespective of the request intended. I guess he is just exhibiting his father’s trait, he doesn’t believe anything is impossible, don’t bother dare him with it. This was our new discovery as we walk off to fixing some jobs this past week. While my colleague talked about how it was wisdom to ask to join me in the task and how taking the “is it possible?” route helps enhance the kind of favorable response, something popped up in my head, I smiled and muttered “wow, report caption.” You can imagine where my mind went to! This report thing, no be small thing o, you will just get creative by all means.
It is easy to believe the realness of something especially when it is repeated severally or more than one person is saying or doing it, it is pretty difficult to stand alone, you even have to doubt your sanity at some of those times. What saves you at those times is your confidence in the information you have of the subject matter and that is why true and sound knowledge is required to excel. I cannot imagine what would have happened if I didn’t have a fore sound knowledge of picture editing from eloPhotos or I was not confident of this, I would have been so tossed here and there by these incompetent photo labs who apparently need to fix/service their printing machines. Imagine what the problem is when an image with originally color green coming out as color blue, what! What could have happened, I sensed it was their ink, but was told they use chemicals instead of ink when I approached them. This is definitely the printer’s error, but this print guy won’t accept, he kept hammering on “I only brightened the image.” How on earth does exposure affect color!? The guy unrepentantly kept ranting foolishly, would not even allow me make my point even when the business owners came to intervene. It doesn’t seem customers’ satisfaction mean so much to them too as they were just concerned about the recent cost of print papers. Of what benefit is wasting time there, we are obviously not on the same level of knowledge. I left everything furious; my money (they were obviously not going to refund that) and their horrible papers, I am a Professional Photographer, and I can never deliver that to my client, No way! I made them understand that before I left.
The next day, I went to another lab only to get the same issue. Now, this almost got me confused, but for my sound training, I would have believed what the other print lab guy pointed was the issue- my editing. I complained, they adjusted their machine and got a “near the color” print. I accepted the result (I was tired of the whole process), only for me to be called by the first print lab that their engineer has rectify the problem in the machine and they have printed another. Of a truth when I saw it, it was the real color even better than the latter print.
So I learnt, never follow the crowd or be intimidated by them, they possibly are not right. Get sound knowledge and confidently take it on, you can be the only right person amidst multitude on a matter.
This is Mosopefoluwa Onanusi taking life lessons.
I had an interestingly revelatory experience last Sunday. Having just arrived in church, I went outside to try to get something to eat so as to enable me use effectively the medicine that was supposed to help me recuperate from Malaria. Getting to the food kiosk at Ikosi road, I was lost in thought trying to contemplate the most economically viable option for me to eat. It was then I came across the BEGGAR I would eventually consider as one of the most creative Nigerians I’ve met in recent times.
He approached me with the look that made it obvious to me he was about to ask something of me. I’m usually not too given to be merciful to people that just walk up to me in church to ask for money. Most of the time I’ve realized it’s a habitual career for many of them and it hurts me more to know that many of them lie about the sweet tales they tell. So even before this guy opened his mouth to ask me of what I assumed would be money, I had made up my mind that no money would depart out of my pocket that morning. His requisition would however surprise me.
“Oga, please can you buy me food? I’m not asking you to give me money, just buy me anything so I can eat. I am very hungry.”
I was touched. I thought he wanted to ask for money. I figured he must be genuinely hungry to make such a requisition to a total stranger. I was touched. I moved closer to the woman selling gala and decided to buy one gala for him. I eventually changed my mind and bought 2 gala sausage rolls for him because I was touched. He appreciated it with the usual “God bless you” gestures and I subsequently stepped away just a few feet (about 7 feet) from the gala seller. What he did next blew my mind out of the waters.
I watched him with all curiosity to see the level of vigor he would use to eat with haste the gala I just bought him. Eating it he eventually did not do. Instead, he went back to the woman selling gala and bought a ribena drink to help accompany the lonely gala down his starving system. That wasn’t the surprise.
What surprised me was when I saw him walk to a small kiosk behind the woman selling gala. I watched him as he took the gala and ribena and kept it into one of 2 big bags that was obviously filled with different food stuffs. Apparently other people had been buying him food and it looked as if he had gathered enough food stuff that will literally fill up a hungry man for at least 10 days.
I was shocked. I was angry. I felt duped. I felt like going back to ask him to return the 2 gala that I gave him because I felt he deceived me. I held my peace, stood and watched him for a few more seconds and then I was touched.
I realized that it was still a poverty mentality that made him come up with such a strategy. I realized that he had also witnessed the fact that not many people were probably as quick to dash beggars money in this season as compared to previous times. His economy had been drastically affected by the supposed-recession that has hit the country and he decided it was paramount that he change strategy if he must survive in this economy, especially if he wasn’t going to leave what he considered to be his passionate career of BEGGARpreneurship.
And then the revelation hit me. This beggar in his late thirties had to creatively change strategy if he was to survive in this times. As much as his mindset isn’t what I approve of, the idea behind his strategy is something to be emulated. If we as entrepreneurs, individuals & business owners must survive in these times, we must consider adopting new divinely-inspired strategies that will help stand us out of the crowd and make us question whether or not there’s really a recession going on in the economy.
My eyes still fixated on the beggar as he tried to arrange his spoils to fit perfectly into the 2 nylon bags that was now filled with goodies, I smiled. I watched him as he moved unto his next “client” and watched how the client yielded compassionately the same way I did. I was touched. I smiled. And then I silently prayed for wisdom for Seun Akisanmi to be creative enough to attract more clients in times like this more than ever before. May God help me. May God help us all.
I was already on my way; it was 7:02am on Monday morning and like any other part of Lagos, there was traffic due to the bad state of the road and a myriad of motorists plying it. I had never plied this road before and unlike me I wasn’t interested in looking at the road. There were a few things on my mind at that time that needed quick attention; I had not submitted my weekly assignment and I needed to do so soon plus I wanted to read an editorial in a magazine I just borrowed.
It all started last week Thursday when Mr. Seun asked if I’d like to come along to Akonko; in my mind, while I answered in the positive, I’m like sir are you still asking. I’ve heard an earful of Akonko gist and was longing to see and experience for myself what I’ve heard, of course I wasn’t going to let this opportunity pass me by. The trip was actually planned majorly because of an electrical engineer based in the US who was interested in providing this community with electricity to meet their basic electrical needs.
We got to the acclaimed Akonko village and it was just as I had heard- horribly looking school, dirty water to be drunk, no medical care, no mobile network or internet source, no electricity and of course terrible road network. The sight of the only nursery and primary school in the village made me chilly, the environment terrible enough for the children to learn almost nothing. We had to meet with the Baale (traditional leader) of the village so the engineer could make his intentions known; the Baale informed us about the several challenges they went through daily as a community, the most devastating for me was the lack of a medical centre in the village and the journey children took to their secondary school. There isn’t any secondary school in the village so their children had to trek a long distance to school since their parents couldn’t afford a daily transportation fare of about N800, all that ran through my mind at that point was that some children who have better opportunities misuse it and complain over trivial things while these children who have less opportunities value the little they have and go the extra mile to get the most out of it; the irony of life.
The engineer in turn told the Baale of his plans and how he intended executing his plans, the Baale who seemed to be more interested in a Medical centre set-up was still glad about this proposition although he stated clearly that funding was going to be a major hindrance due to the fact that most of the villagers live off their farm produce which isn’t worth much. The meeting ended on the note that the Baale would convey the message to the villagers and get back to the engineer via a middleman.
As soon as the engineer left, the journey began for us – eloPhotos team; the team comprised of Seun Akisanmi, Busayo Alabi, Temitope Adeniyan, Mosope Onanusi and I. First of all, we had an intensive meeting concerning eloPhotos’ now and future (I’m certain Mr. Seun can hold a meeting in the desert if need be) then we had a quick lunch before we moved to the farm. En route the farm Mr. Seun asked that we take as much macro pictures as we can to build our portfolios, thanks to this advice the journey to and fro the farm was not as tiring as it should be.
The trip slated for one night got extended to 2 nights and save for the annoying insects that kept stinging me and the discomfort (wasn’t expecting it to very comfortable anyway), the trip was worth it for me and wasn’t as bad as I envisaged. Thanks to the unadulterated air, fresh vegetables and fruits, it made our stay quite refreshing.
The trip opened my mind to a few things; the people in this village seemed very carefree and happy despite the state they were in. Of course they had worries and it was obvious that they should be worried but the case was in opposition to this fact, in my opinion they lived in a manner that was optimistic, expecting nothing but good. I caught immediately that happiness is not based entirely on your status or the wealth you have, but on the state of your mind; what’s going on in your mind and what are you feeding it with? Positive or negative? God help us all to worry not and be happy.
Enor Izomor is my name and I’m proud to be a photographer.
I was shocked. I couldn’t even shout or say a single word when I caught him; all I did was hold my pocket and look at him sternly. Guess what he said. “kilo n se e” meaning “what’s wrong with you” in a tone that sounded like I’m even trying to help you.
We (Mosope and I) were on our way from Ikeja, computer village precisely, when we stopped to buy plantain chips from a petty trader on the road. I was still complaining about the size of the commodity when I felt something move slightly in the pocket of the cardigan I was wearing. Apparently a skinny dark complexioned suspicious-looking young man was trying to pick my pocket for the phone that was borrowed me. Yes, I lent the phone from my boss. I’m aware of street theft but I had never experienced it personally before, so I’m still a bit carefree with my things on the road; this was an eye-opener for me. It would have been a horrible experience if he had succeeded but thanks to God that was not the case.
I’m beginning to understand why Elophotos scrutinizes it’s applicants before accepting them on board; let me quickly share my experience.
I’ve met Mr. Seun Akisanmi severally in Daystar skill acquisition program (D-SAP) and I perceived he’s one very strict young man – well, he is. It took time, encouragement and a lot of boldness for me to decide to speak to him about furthering my photography training in his photography school (Elophotos academy). Finally, I meet him and after narrating my photography dream to him, I thought I was even speaking gibberish that day because I was really tensed. After my speech he asked, “On a scale of 1-10 what was your level of determination like, here in D-SAP?” Guess what my answer was? 4! Even I was dissatisfied with my answer. And I felt worse when he said he’s looking for people with an 8.
The questioning continued that day and even led to an assignment which further led to a meeting leading to another assessment and assignment before registration and payment was even considered. Notwithstanding I got the admission and like any young person that had been applying to a University I was elated.
Working with Elophotos for the past 3 weeks has given me better understanding as to why they go the extra mile to run the scrutiny and give you the rules and regulations before registration.
This week was more of what the hurdles of being a photographer looks like, we covered a wedding during the course of the week. Although it was quite an enlightening experience, it was also stressful and in fact even more stressful than I imagined.
We were privileged to attend training on the importance and use of digital/social media. The training exposed me to several uses of the social media and the improvements that have been made over the years.
To wrap up the week, we had a spontaneous job on Sunday afternoon that kept us waiting for our client’s model. Unfortunately we were unable to do the shoot due to the unavailability of the model. Gladly the wait was not much of a waste of time because I learnt quite a number of things during this waiting period. I’ve come to understand now that no time should be wasted; you can actually get the best of any situation. It all depends on you and how you perceive the situation and circumstance you find yourself in.
I’m Enor Izomor and though it’s getting tougher, I’m still glad I’m a photography intern.
The world is staged on the eternal journey of people, the dreams and the reality they conceived. There is truth to the idea of places before its inhabitants, but so also people are interests of the places they live. The Newton law of Gravity, Einstein concept of time and space, the ingenuity of the Apple boss, Steve Jobs in technological designs and creativity, the rise of the richest men of the new age during the industrial age of the late 19th century to the early 20th century, the best of men is men at its best. One thing is certain the world had evolved through a state of entropy catalyzed by temporary state of insanity and abnormality.
“The human race is a monotonous affair. Most people spend the greatest part of their time working in order to live, and what little freedom remains so fills them with fear that they seek out any and every means to be rid of it.” ― Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, The Sorrows of Young Werther
In every generation while some leave to standout, others are captive of their fears, successes, talents and backgrounds. The world moves round its axis, the people move in a moving world. The idea of static is a concept of negativism or reverse motion; forward or backward as there are no mid-state.
“The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson
We are who are, a product of our thought, our relationships and companies, the books we read and the choice we make. We live to tell a story, as one day we seize to exist (in this world) and the story we tell is a constituent of an evolving world, the magnitude and size is dependent on what we say and how we say them. We are shaped daily by our relationships sometime not in the short while but in the long run we live to tell the stories of our influences. The beauty of life is not to build a world of others but to build a world through the help and the input of others.
The status and the experience of one shape the story of the other; a relationship status quo, ‘the mentor, mentee’, ‘the teacher, student’, ‘the coach, trainee’. The purpose is clear one grooms the other, ‘the less is blessed of the greater’.
While the word of a mentor are worth more than a 1000 shekels, the coach’s training and instruction speaks more than a 1000 word. The student/mentee is good for it; he is baptized in a lake of hot and ice. He is gathered; molded and formed He is the product of servant hood.
Like one master once clearly instructed his servants ‘go out into the highways and the lanes…, the words of my coach is clear; ‘ I train and teach’, ‘I pay attention to details’, I am a leader. The lessons are straight and heard ‘little foxes destroy the vine’ ‘be like your boss’
TGIF – Thank God it’s Friday, that was exactly the way I was feeling en route Elophotos academy on Friday last week. The last few days had been quite exhaustive for me physically, mentally, financially and even spiritually, I guess you’re surprised; although it’s nobody’s but my fault, I’ve been lagging a little spiritually. I’ve become so carried away doing my photography training that I’m abandoning other things about myself and I think that part of me is fast becoming an issue I have to deal with very soon. Maybe you’ll also join in prayers for me so I don’t lack spiritually.
Don’t get it twisted, I’m enjoying my stay here at Elophotos and even though I made up my mind earlier to do whatever it takes to get the best out of this training, it’s not as easy as I thought but I’m definitely not going to give up. Travelling every day from my residence down to Elophotos’ location is not even helping matters. Since Monday last week, I’ve had to stand on a bus down to Ojota from Ikorodu. The Enor I was 2 weeks ago would rather wait for a more preferred option but right now anything is fine as long as I get to my destination promptly, even if it means walking down there.
Last week was a new story; it started out with lectures on negotiations and general clientele management. Gladly we got the opportunity to see practically how an official presentation was made when we visited Broll Property Services Limited to propose some of our products which would be very beneficial to their company. We also got an opportunity to experiment what we learnt from the negotiation and business classes. On Friday, Mr. Seun announced that we – Mosope (my colleague) and I would meet with some companies to propose some interesting deals. The experience was quite amazing as we weren’t able to reach a preferred agreement with any of the companies although some of them were more receptive than the others. But interestingly, thinking about it now, I learnt a lot of things from that experience; you shouldn’t approach 2 different people exactly the same way, I guess we made that mistake. 2 of the companies we met had Asian receptionists and we were unable to make them understand us and I think they were even threatened by the way we approached them, so note that your first impression is paramount.
During the course of the week, we had a guest lecturer Mr. Tolu (Chozenfaces), who came to share his experiences as a photographer with us at Elophotos Academy; he’s one of the self-made photographers who went through little or no basic training to get to where he is now as a photographer. One of his narrations that really got to me was that his camera started malfunctioning recently and he had not prepared for a new one and he’s going through a tough time trying to replace it now. Subsequently, he explained to us that upon every job taken, a percentage should be saved for gadgets’ insurance. He is learning the hard way now; I hope we learn from his experience. He asked us some questions I’m still trying to answer – what photography meant to us, what we intend using it for and our area of specialty in photography? It’s taking me a while to answer these questions; I hope that doesn’t mean I’m not smart though.
I’m Enor Izomor and I’m surely glad I’m a photography intern at Elophotos Academy.
Preparing for the week ahead and knowing well that the week should with the submission of my weekly internship report (a on or before 8:00am Monday morning stuff), I settled to fix this. But I had not gotten the inspiration to write through the weekend. Usually, I start writing Sunday morning and end by afternoon, but alas! Nothing has come to mind, this is serious gbege (trouble) o.
Then, at about 09:00pm, while pondering on what the past week was all about, two lines in the NYSC anthem;”…Under the sun or in the rain, with dedication and selflessness…” dropped on my mind. What could have brought the song to my mind that moment, NYSC anthem! I sang it about ten years ago, and here we are, having the lyrics cropping up fresh at a time like this…. I marveled. The words of the anthem are definitely pointers to Passion, Love and Commitment, this struck me absolutely. I then remembered what transpired in the past week established that these three (Passion, Love and Commitment) majors for Photography as well, even the week ahead poses to be tougher because of the lined up to-do list, something in me feels like a super human.
It was still post-NiPHEC, hands still on deck to make some deliverables; our Zambian speaker was still in town and still has an affiliation, as he hand-picked me as his Personal Assistant, so I had to fix personal things for him, not neglecting my office work which is primary. All these took me to some places, both pleasant and otherwise. Example was Aroloya in Lagos Island where I framed the certificates of Recognition for NiPHEC speakers. Very messy and disgusting, the previous day rain had worsened the situation. There are areas where I had to jump like a squirrel, tiptoe or even close my eyes because of some black water and stuffs around. And guess what, the best selling sector there is the Food market. I suddenly realized innumerable small-scale food canteens all round the place; there is virtually no corner you turn to that you don’t find at least five, and guess what, they had customers even taking turns to be attended to. Very alarming, cooked food in this kind of place! I was just seeing typhoid, dysentery… all around. Their air was not a good one as well, as the whole atmosphere was also full of smoke from Igbo (weed), I was almost holding my breath throughout my walk through the area, until I got to where i carried out my purpose of going to this amazing place (that was my first time).Where I did my framing job, show cased another story entirely. It established the reason why the rich will always be different from the poor; Excellence in Service Delivery and Customer Relations.
Truth be told, it is obvious the rich understands the concept of multiplying wealth, so their service delivery is outstandingly incomparable with that of some low class people. And they see whoever that complains as ‘’customers from hell”. Here is the response I got for ensuring I got a near neat and perfect job; “You are the only troublesome customer we have had in one year”, and I wondered what is wrong with the eyes and brains of other customers they had if the job I turned out from there was ‘trouble’ as one of the attendants voiced out. I agree that some low class people deliver excellent service, those are the wise finding their way greatness. I wish seminars could be organized for the guys in that market to achieve excellent jobs and more satisfied customers.
”…Under the sun or in the rain, with dedication and selflessness…”, as it resonates, is gradually playing out because I don’t think I can or anyone else can pull through, especially absolutely dependent starters in this photography business, without upholding these lines.
However, despite the present staring challenges, I chose to see the positive and greatness because this is where Mosope belongs.
The devil was all out for me this week, it was a week of test. I have not had it this hot before, but trust me, I seriously engaged him as well. I wouldn’t allow defeat, to the devil?! Oh no, that would be too costly, so I thought. I managed to counter question and comments he came up with. He gave me close shots that almost threw me off balance, no breathing space but I was stubborn to sure win.
It was a very tough debate; all these took place in my mind.
What a smart dude, with a nice strategy. He gave me millions of reasons why it was stupid to take such decision I had made; ‘How did you even get to this point, this is not wise at all. Now look at you, your colleagues and former bosses’ advice will be justified, Better don’t go around them yet. Even your parents will not be happy. Now you are financially handicapped, you can’t even sort some basic things again. Oh my God, at least you still had little then & hope that it will be regular. Or you should have just joggled both together. So how would you get through this now?” These are few of the numerous points he confronted me with and I can bet you, I replied every as he raises each. It was hot back-to-back, we were both stubborn but little did I know I was already sustaining some injuries. As the day goes by in he week, he battle went on and on, he was strong still, I was becoming moody and struggling to be my happy self. Could it mean he is getting at me? No way! I pushed harder.
Then a twist came. Decided to change my display picture on Whatsapp to an old picture I took about two years ago, then my boss saw it. Can’t guess what really went on in his mind, but this conversion ensued;
Boss: Chai. Is it eloPhotos that made you loose weight? Cos you fresh in this picture o
Felt like a slap, concretizing the battle I have been fighting at.
And I replied; Awww, No money again, I faked a smile.
Then a blow-like reply came; “But has grace finished also?, Or you were only surviving on money? It is well. You see yourself.”
I just remembered the experience of Jesus in the wilderness when he had his own share with the devil. And he was like; “It is written…It is written…It is written”, then finally said “Get thee behind me Satan”. Wow! I jerked back to life, that’s the word I needed to kick the devil’s ass out. That was my “get thee behind me Satan”. Those words were definitely God’s deliverance for me out of the battle, very right on time and I am so thankful for it.
I must sincerely say here that the major and toughest battle we would fight in life is within, right in our minds, but we must find our “get thee behind me Satan” word after our several “It is written.” That is when you can have aaavictory and peace.
Wow! Week in, week out, learning seems just beginning and grace has not finished yet. I remain Mosope Onanusi.
It’s a whole new dawn, and like a woman caught in labor pain and gain to bear her child, the year was pregnant with a new week. For me, my training session at Elophotos has begun; the seriousness to be timely, the discipline of study and mastery; my first week at Elophotos, a rebirth and eye opener of some kind.
The journey to be good an artist and of course to be vibrant at the business (and I mean the business) has long started, more like an inner war, a battle of self, a desire to be who I am.
One important question I’ve always asked no one but myself is “what it is really do I want and how far can I go?” Can I stand alone where no one seems to thread (even the close ones)? Do I bury my dreams and wakeup to the reality of general sentiments and norms? Question and quest still lingers strong and deep.
The facts and figures are clear; it’s a journey, not with buses on the roads, but one on purpose and destiny. We are here to fulfill an inner call, a voice whisper to no one but one; a call of duty, a trumpet to war, and a rise to mission. My dream of being a part of Elophotos academy has finally begun. The road is set straight, not without ditches and patches. One thing keeps the track; focus and then discipline, one without; a fall seems inevitable. The Academy offers me the platform, the belief, the profession and the spirit, a challenge to put to work.
The training started out on the Monday morning (11th of July), with understanding the basic photography equipment and gadgets with their classifications. Having the privilege to handle some of the professional body cameras was a delight.
Having shared the summary of his 10 years’ experience, the founder Seun Akisanmi was a delight to listen to…The up and the downs, the good, the bad and the ugly… The lesson for me was to be who I am in spite of what others want; to give the dreams and vision my all in which success is attainable, so also emphasizes was laid on the benefit and the importance of reading.
The week also saw us attending some trainings and meetings outside the regular classes. The Google training was one, it was eye opener, and a pointer to various opportunities that abound and yet untapped. The knowledge provides a space where the industry seems cranked up and everyone focused on some particular areas.
The week also saw us delving into the 360 degree photography, the practice session started out after the teaching class. We made out time to take shots of various sections of the close-by streets and roads. Fear ran through my spine just again, my fear of doing street photography hasn’t elapsed. Hope to be a conqueror of my fears, and enjoy the fun.
Elophotos has chosen to be different; to be innovative and a game changer. The desire to be the best, and turn out the best; best of artist, creators and the art. My name is OLUWATOBI; join me on my journey to photography greatness.
The previous week ended with a pregnancy shoot of a client at Ajah. Three interns went to assist/learn on the shoot; two of us were JJC (Johny Just Come), we sure learnt a great deal and had lots of fun, even with the mountain-size food we were served. But Guess what, I got back home 11pm. I prayed silently as I walk down to my house as everywhere was dark and no one was on the street. It was a work day in the week. I looked at myself, overly worn-out, and a saying popped up in my head; “omo wa’se o r’ise” (meaning, You looked for work and found it). I just eyed myself and snapped back immediately; “Ehn, I chose to do this, shikena! and God will help me”. I slept like forever on Saturday, but never enough. Like I’ve accumulated stress over the weeks cos I can sometimes exhibit like a “German Machine” (Chuckles)
And then Sunday came, I suddenly realized that the internship programme proper starts tomorrow Monday and I remember the rules eloPhotos Academy gave me, Jesus! Omo, I have not really rested oh! To resume 7:30, chai! I don enter am. Then I thought of using “eiko” (prank) on my “oga at the top”, Mr. Seun, maybe a miracle could happen and this “7:30am Cup” could pass over me. Although I know him too well, very disciplined, never compromising good standards, but I needed that miracle so bad. So I chatted him;
Me: Hello sir
Is the internship programme starting fully tomorrow? #smiles
Mr. Seun: Yes ma
See you tomorrow morning
Mr. Seun: Smiles
Can you imagine! He didn’t even give room for compromise (like, “don’t just go there”). Hmmm, na so I pack myself, prepare for the next day, abi who send me? No be me send myself?
The week started with editing pictures from a burial shoot. Apparently, this is the most boring aspect of photography (maybe for starters sha).
But there was a twist for me in the week on Thursday when my former office called me for invigilation of promotional exam of some Lagos state teachers. I was granted permission to go.
It was quiet interesting but tiring experience, you don’t want to hear my ordeal. I saw hypocrisy live, a compromise of the standard laid for students by these same teachers. Gaskia, I give it up to students (like me) that maintain high integrity in exams. For me, I see as belittling myself, I’ve got a name to protect you know. Anyway, what me I know is; exam standard is exam standard, whether students or teachers, for promotion or for certificate. At least some of us are dignified certified professionals in our various fields of practice, so don’t give me the crap that “I am an elderly person…blah blah blah”.
Easter holiday is a good succor to the accumulated stress. One other good thing about Jesus’ death and resurrection, aside Salvation and Victory, is these holidays (#smiles). If he hadn’t, chai! (rollingeyes).
“How would you be taking such decision, going from the known to the unknown? With your professional certification and job prospect! This was a reoccurring question and comment that popped up when she decided to quit her paid employment for Professional Photography. Her Directors in the office couldn’t comprehend what was burning inside her, all they could summarize out of it was maybe she is confused or sweet-talked by her supposed trainer. Though family members didn’t have a choice than to support, there was an underlining fear for the decision. But she knew what she wanted and stood with it (How the whole episode went is a story for another day).
Now, the journey into professional photography started and I asked myself, “What would have informed my thinking I was a photographer (as I have been shooting before now). The first two weeks Intensive class training at eloPhotos Academy made it clear I wasn’t near a Pro (though I knew deep down). There was so much to learn, that my brain got so overwhelmed and enlarged. Learning about the Aperture, Shutter speed, ISO, White balance, Lenses, Lighting, Depth of field, Silhouette, Long exposures etc. What it entails in documenting a moment in time, as a photographer, is indeed unquantifiable and priceless. I am proud to be one of those that will be giving/trading this service.
Well, it didn’t just go down smooth inside me, I asked myself several questions to confirm if I am still sane and game for the journey ahead. I had headache at the end of each day, almost throughout the two weeks training. Yes, I knew it was going to be heavy; it was heavier than I thought. But I am glad I made the decision (My Toughest and Best ever!). I also had to go through works of several renowned Professional Photographers in Nigeria and in the world over. At this point, I had cold shivers, this occurs each time I venture into that and concluded that indeed humans are mini gods, we are creators. God indeed replicated Himself in us when He made us and breathe His breath into us as documented in the bible. And also, our brains have greater capacity than its usage. That’s my testimony of the photography works I have seen so far. Got me actually thinking and even scared at some instances. How do I make it through, how do I get myself into doing greater works. I think I have to keep feeding more on these works to enhance my creative sense and capability.
Come to think of it, I actually resigned my job to do this. Not only that, I had a strong witness in my spirit, so I told myself; Omopretty (as fondly called by my close allies), You can do this, there is NO going back, this WILL be a great success. And guess what, I love to be called a Photographer. Watch Out for Mosope Onanusi
What gut do I have to be ungrateful to God or to complain?
This resurfaced several times in the week ended; I had another episode of experience and learning. A visit to Akonko, a village in the outskirt of Ogun state, almost linking Ibadan in Oyo state was a big one.
I loaded my bag with leggings-socks as we have been told that mosquitoes there are weight lifting and we possibly may be coming back with mosquito bikes like boil. For me, that is the scariest part. Other expectations were that there is no electricity nor telecommunication network and we are going to be there for about three (3) days documenting the village and its residents. Hmmm, God help us.
We set out early and kept going and going like we were travelling to the east, but we eventually got there and wow! It’s for real. I have been part of village outreaches, so the village setting; the mud houses and bushes were really not concerns for me (though doesn’t sound like where I would naturally want to be).
Then the lessons began. After resting some few minutes, we visited the farm. I noticed on our way to the farm, everyone we met gave us a well composed greeting with a Big Bold Smile, children and adults alike. For real! or are we riding on the goodwill of our host? I thought. My mind flashed back to what transpires in Lagos and I was quick to conclude this People are indeed courteous and hospitable. There are some places you live in Lagos that you just automatically lose your morals, everyone rides their own horse. These people are obviously tagged the poor, but they’ve got what money cannot buy.
My presumption was confirmed as I further interact with the residents of the village. They were much more open than I thought, they seem not to have a choice, they just wanted a better life and feel our presence and mission could enhance this.
Looking at the people, they were not different from us, just that they don’t have the opportunity and hope we have. No good water (We didn’t take our baths for three days, only necessary areas with sachet water), no electricity, no good roads, and most pathetic, no single good healthcare centre and no good school. The sight of the school breaks my heart, a dilapidated building that has just three teachers taking from Nursery to Primary. Those attending a better school trek one hour to school and back every day as transportation is another huge issue there. Wow! How can people be subjected to such life, I see a great level of neglect on the part of Government especially when I heard they had voters’ cards. Now that is hell crazy if you understand what I mean.
Reminiscing on where I am coming from, where I am, my high hopes of the future, I sighed and said to myself;
“Thou shall never be ungrateful. By any form of complain or unseemly countenance.”
That sounded like a commandment. Yea, for me, it is my 11th, as being ungrateful or allowing situation affect one’s countenance seem now like a sin. A colleague buttressed, “if God would not further do anything else in our lives, I think He has tried.”
I thought to myself, “We and these people cannot definitely have the same prayer points”. We have hopes alive, cannot explain what their state of mind is (definitely not what you would wish). But if the people in Akonko can live happy, there is then no excuse for someone like me.
Wait a minute, sorry I forgot to mention they made very sumptuous meal with little or no ingredients. The village called Akonko is one I’ll definitely not forget.
Last week, I felt like I was just hanging in between two phases and I was very much excited. You know that feeling that can be described as being stuck on the moon? Yes, that one. The one you have when you daydream about something you are not sure will come to pass but you dream anyway. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not the type to daydream and get out of reality, I still do what I have to do but in this case, the whole excitement is borne out of a possibility of stepping into an unfamiliar territory. Trust you’ll like to know the reason for such excitement, well, I’ll tell you.
Sometime in October last year, I saw a vacancy advert in my church bulletin and I applied for the post of a facility manager trainee. There was no feedback for such a long time I totally forgot about it until I got a text on Tuesday, 16th February to come for an interview the following Monday. Subsequently, I was invited for the second stage of the interview two weeks later and in another two weeks and five days, which was Tuesday last week, I was asked to come pick a medical test form to conduct some medical tests at a specified hospital. I had the option of picking it up the same day or Wednesday, the next day but I was the only one in the office as my other colleagues had gone for Jide Odukoya’s Photography Workshop and the fact that I had work to do (working on some pictures) made me decide to pick it up on Wednesday morning. So, I went to go pick the form next morning and then proceeded to the specified hospital for the tests. Thank God it was only medical tests I went for and I didn’t even have to pay because going there made me realize once again that I enjoy divine health so much that I don’t have to visit hospitals, something I am always grateful to God for.
I did that the next day which was Wednesday. The interviewer asked for when I could start and I replied that I could start in April which would be the on Monday, 4th of April. However, on my farewell note when I asked, “Do I just come on Monday or what?”, I got a, “We’ll call you to come for your letter” response and based on that response, I assumed I was going to get their call latest by Friday evening. Yes, your guess is as good as mine; I am yet to get the call. Nevertheless, I have to stay optimistic so, I just waited (and I’m still waiting). The amusing part was that I’m a bit restricted in making plans. I did not want to make any promise for the coming week because I knew I might get to resume work in a new office.
Here I am, at 3:36 am on Sunday morning and I’m yet to get a call or text asking me to resume work on Monday and as much as I do not like suspense, I have to deal with this one because unlike the movies, I can neither fast forward, rewind, pause or play events playing out in reality. In other words, I had better enjoy my stay on “this moon” that I’ve found myself while it last. Just in case you are wondering, I’m not confused at all. In fact, I’m far from being confused I’d rather say I’m amused.
Already, I miss eloPhotos and I wish I could stay back for some more time. So, if I don’t get the call/text, it’ll only save me from having to miss the company of my colleagues at eloPhotos but, whatever happens, I definitely will have no regrets. I’m OLUWATOSIN Sunmola