HOW I MET BAYO
One day, sometime in March this year, I went looking for a friend whose room at the University of Lagos school hostel is adjacent to Bayo’s. My friend’s room was locked and he wasn’t picking his calls so I went into the next room. I was just going to drop a message and leave but on looking at Bayo’s computer screen, I saw him editing photos on Photoshop. My first thought was that he was just a graphic artist. I had no idea he was a photographer (my friend, as a matter of principle, didn’t tell me). But then my eyes caught a DSLR camera on the bed, reflector and diffuser at the sides, camera belts and body strap on the wall. I knew these were the equipments of a professional photographer. I quickly connected the dots as I said to myself, this guy (I didn’t know his name then) must be a photographer. To confirm, I asked him and he responded in the affirmative. At this point, I silently cursed my friend for deeming it unnecessary to inform me all the while that there’s a professional photographer next door. Then I cautiously asked Bayo if he could help me.
You see, I had been looking for a DSLR camera to work with before I ventured into Bayo’s room. At the time, I was attending a workshop in photography and the erudite Kelechi Amadi-Obi who was one of the facilitators of the workshop had given us an assignment to do. We had to do a fashion shoot, nude/glamour photography and portraiture – all within one week. As I was only an enthusiast without any equipment, I was helpless. I tried every avenue I knew to get a good camera, to no avail. It was already thursday and I had to submit on friday. I was distraught. I was on the verge of giving up when I walked into Bayo’s room.
As my luck would have it, Bayo was an alumnus of the same workshop I was currently attending. In fact, because he was so good, Bayo worked for the organisers of the workshop, The Future Project, for six months after the workshop.
Without knowing me from anywhere, Bayo expressed interest in helping me. It’s very difficult to find a photographer willing to part with his camera (those things are expensive) but Bayo was willing to part with his — If only he didn’t have to use both his cameras that very evening. In fact, he was already gearing up to go to the venue of the Arise Magazine Fashion Week that was on-going in Lagos at the time. Then he asked me to come along.
Since it was a fashion show, he told me I could get pictures for my assignment at the event. He said he would allow me use of his camera for a few minutes at the red carpet and runway. I immediately jumped at the opportunity! Silently again, I thanked my stars for leading me to Bayo.
Bayo paid my transport fare from UNILAG to the Federal Palace Hotel in V.I, venue of the event. I had fun mixing with other photographers taking pictures on the red carpet. I took lots of pictures, including that of british model Dudley O’Shaughnessy, Rihanna‘s love interest in her “We Found Love” video, and TY Bello who posed with all the photographers on the red carpet. The event ran till late at night but I had to leave when my work was done.
For a beginner like me, it was still a wonderful experience. Looking back at it now, I think Providence led me into Bayo’s room that day. Bayo still jokes about it till today. He likes saying, “Meet Esquire, a photographer that started his career at Arise”.
WHAT I LOVE ABOUT BAYO
Bayo is a funny and playful guy with no qualms about him. He leads a simple and God-fearing life. He doesn’t let his achievements get into his head. Perhaps the most admirable thing about Bayo is his kindness. Bayo doesn’t mind sharing what he has. Bayo gave me expensive softwares and materials on photography without asking for a dime, unlike other photographers I had met who asked me for money before they can give me anything. No gainsaying, Bayo is the definition of a nice guy. Anybody you ask will attest to this.
WHY I RESPECT BAYO
I like calling him “the badass photographer”.
Bayo specialises in street/documentary photography. His pictures speaks more than just a thousand words; the way they just jump at you. The fine clarity of his photographs will make even the blindest of persons see. Recently, Bayo managed to bring out excitement out of the sadness of the Makoko story with his pictures. Even more recently, Bayo saw beauty in other creators of beauty; titled Pencils and Brushes, it’s a showcase of art students painting at the lagoon front in their school.
Bayo is also a wedding photographer. He takes the best wedding photos I’ve seen. His pictures are always so lovely, so creative. He establishes a cordial relationship with couples and works with them to achieve the best results. It’s how playfully chic his pre-wedding photographs are that just makes them pop. Bayo has a flair for capturing the happiest moments of a wedding ceremony. His creativity is limitless; he creates different posture with different couples.
Another reason I respect Bayo is the plainness, rawness and genuineness of his photographs. Bayo doesn’t over-edit his pictures. He doesn’t throw pancake on the faces of his couples with Photoshop. He doesn’t add extra effects to make his photographs beautiful; the beauty comes right from the camera. During one of those sessions we had with Kelechi Amadi-Obi at the workshop, he said a good photographer doesn’t spend his whole day editing pictures on Photoshop, he does the job with his camera. Bayo is more than a good photographer. He is an excellent one.
You can visit his website to see some of his works: http://bayoomoboriowo.com
WHY YOU SHOULD VOTE FOR BAYO
Bayo doesn’t think that he is doing so great. He tells me, “I’ve only just started”. True, Bayo just started over two years ago. He is so good that is why he is getting recognized at so short a time. Granted, there are other great photographers and writers nominated in the Creative Artist of the Year category Bayo falls into but among them all, Bayo is the underdog. And I like rooting for the underdog. It is why, among the other reasons I talked about above — I want to vote for him. I appeal to you to vote for him too.
To vote Bayo Omoboriowo as Creative Artist of the Year (The Future Awards)
* Via SMS (Nigeria Only): TEXT “TFA, Bayo Omoboriowo, Creative Artist” to 33120 from any network.
* Online: http://www.thefuturenigeria.com/vote/artist/
Voting closes 10th of this month, so please endeavor to vote as soon as possible. Thank you and God bless you as you do.