Photo: Little Predator

Little Predator

Small animals like lizards, chickens, goats, cats and stray dogs are a common sight on Nigeria streets. With the exception of lizards, these animals are usually owned/reared by people. Most of these animals are not cared for, so they often have to fend for themselves. This brings about a fight for survival; a blurring of the line of the food chain as these animals often prey on one another.

Humans prey on the chickens and goats (which are often not their own); the goats prey on human foods that are not properly kept (of course, it’s mostly kitchen waste and leftovers); the dogs prey on the chickens and kitchen wastes and leftovers; the cats too sometimes prey on chickens and lizards and kitchen wastes.

In this picture, a little chick can be seen with a lizard it recently caught hanging from its beak.

Meanwhile, I’m confused as to what category of photography this picture falls in. I’m thinking Wildlife Photography but chicken and lizard are barely wildlife…hence, my confusion.

Little Predator

Streetlights

Streetlights (2)

Streetlights is an on-going project I’m working on. It is a series of pictures of streetlights taken with beautiful blue and white sky as the backdrop.

Streetlights are used for illuminating the roads at night and they are often beautiful at that period. Hence, many photographers only photograph streetlights during the night. They are usually ignored during the day; It is only in the night that people appreciate them for what they are.

Using beautiful blue and white sky as a backdrop, I created the images of Streetlights as a fusion between man-made and nature’s design.

As I am always fascinated by the blue & white abstract nature of the sky, a street lined with streetlights, either during the day or night creates a sort of symmetry which is also striking.

Broken or not, these images showcase Streetlights as conspicuous monuments on our streets.

Streetlights (3) Streetlights (10) Streetlights (9) Streetlights (8) Streetlights (7) Streetlights (6) Streetlights (5) Streetlights (4) Streetlights

Photo: Mad Man

Mad Man

This is the photo of a typical mad man (or “mentally unstable”, if you want to be politically correct) you will find on Nigerian roads. You can find this particular mad man under the bridge near my area. Oftentimes, when I pass through the bridge, I see him either displaying one act of madness or just lying down peacefully.

On this particular day however, he was pointing and pacing about a boutique, perhaps contemplating changing his rags for stylish brand new clothes. In the real word, that is called window-shopping but I guess mad men do theirs differently and with added drama.

Anyways, this is one picture from a series I’m working on. Watch out for “Chronicles of a Mad Man” and “Mad Men on Nigerian Roads”.

Mad Man

Photo: Homeless Man

Homeless Man

I took this photo at 12 noon on a pedestrian bridge in Oshodi. It was on a Sunday when most people were at home resting. But because this man didn’t have the comfort of a home or bed to go to, he chose to sleep on the pedestrian bridge even with the sun out. The bridge also serves as his place of work. In the picture, you can see the broom he uses to sweep the bridge in order to beg for stipends from sympathetic passers-by. You can also see his belongings – perhaps all he has in the world – rolled into a bunch and also serving as his pillow.

Pictures like these abound on our bridges and roads. I often look at these people and wonder about their life. I wonder about their story; how they got around to living on the bridge; how really hopeless they must be to resort to living on the bridge; and the circumstances that lead to that. One day, when I can, I hope to do an intensive research into the life of these people.

Homeless Man

Why you should vote Bayo Omoboriowo as the Creative Artist of the Year at the Future Awards.

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.

How to become a music artist in Nigeria

So you are a Nigerian yoot? Thank God for your life (You see, there’s no better time to be a Nigerian yoot because Nigerians are making waves all over the world). And I’m guessing you like partying and girls (You can’t be a Nigerian yoot if you don’t like partying and girls). You want flashy things and living the fast life to complete the package? And you’ve already figured it out that doing music will get you all the money and fame? Ok, what else? You’ve tried your hands at Yahoo-Yahoo but maga no dey pay again. You’ve tried to check out of the country but dem no give you visa. Now you’ve come to the conclusion that music is the only way. You are smart. I am happy for you.

Thank God much of Nigerian music today is a formulaic one. All you need to do is get a banging beat, concoct a melodious chorus, talk about partying, girls, sex, money and/or God’s blessing repeatedly on 2 or 3 verses, and you can be the next Wizkid. You don’t have to be talented. Heck, you can sing along to the most popular songs in town, almost as well as the artist did on the track – that’s talent. You got it. You don’t need anything more. You don’t have to undergo voice training; there’s Auto-Tune. Akon did it. T-Pain’s whole career was built on it. Lil Wayne has used it several times. Kanye West did a whole album with it. All your favourite Naija artistes have used it at one time or the other. It’s only natural for you to follow the trend.

Your lyrics don’t have to make sense. What’s sense anyway? D’banj, the poster child for “entertaining music” have said it: “you don’t have to make sense”. You can shegidi megede all over the track, just make sure it sounds melodic. Never mind that his international breakout single “Oliver Twist” makes a lot of sense. Oh, you don’t know? Read Oris’ piece and learn. You don’t have to be deep, leave that for Modenine. Your listeners don’t care, they can hardly write correct English anyway. But why should they care? All they want is to make that quick buck and live large like their favourite artistes.

You don’t need to have any experience in music-making. Gone are those days when you must have been a member of your church’s choir, or at least played an instrument. Not everyone will pass through the church abi? You don’t also need to have any history doing music on the streets and/or singing/rapping to your friends. The only connection you have with music is with your iPod, (or techno phone as the case may be). That’s nice. You already know what good music sounds like. Now jump in a booth in a street corner somewhere, pick up a headphone and cheap microphone and just spazz out.

You sound horrible but the wannabe producer won’t tell you. He also is trying to make some quick bucks. Your case is not different from those really clueless people who can’t sing to save their life, yet they go on tv to audition for Project Fame (or any of the several music competitions we have nowadays). Your friends, family and relatives won’t tell you either. They don’t want to knock your hustle (you don’t have anything else going for you anyway). They will even contribute money for you to pay the hype-man. Pray you get past a few plays on radio. If you have enough money, Soundcity might play your video a few times as well. You are made.

By now you should be getting a few shows performing at street carnivals, local clubs, campus shows and the likes. You can now start bragging to your friends and cursing out your “haters” on twitter. Now all you need to do is pray that you get signed to a big record label so that the big shows, endorsement deals and millions will start rolling in. Don’t forget, on your debut album, you must do a track on how Baba God has blessed your hustle.

Congratulations, you’re now a Nigerian music artist.