A story of courage, challenging the status quo and seeing with new eyes!
A little about Seun!
I first met Seun when he came to Babalakin & Co, (the law firm where I worked) as an intern. I remember that I took an immediate liking to him- he projected a gentleness, keen intelligence and he liked writing and photography- like me (at the time, I wanted to be a professional photographer!). Anyhow, fast forward a year or so later, I meet him in church, we talk about his work- he had started working in another law firm and the fact that he had bought a new camera! I am also very excited to show you Seun’s photos of Lagos because he exemplifies something I find to be true! That it’s not about travelling to new places, it’s about seeing with new eyes! Sometimes when I see his photos of places I consider familiar, I am in awe! In awe because we all may look at the same thing, but when it comes to what we see? We all see, through our own eyes, our own biases and our own perspectives! I dare say Seun’s eyes are beautiful! You will see why below!
I have to say, it’s because of stories like Seun’s that I blog! It’s because, like his story illustrates, I want you to know that you are truly special, that you can make your own rules! That your heart is different for a reason and you should embrace that difference! That following your dreams, your passions and being your best you, will ultimately bring you more fulfillment, success and mastery of life than following the bandwagon! (All the photos below, except those that Seun is in, were taken by Seun, I have captioned the photos as they appear here).
Enjoy meeting Seun below:
HP: Seun, you take the most amazing photos! How did you make the decision to start, what keeps you going? And how has the journey into professional photography been so far?
When you have some dreams, you only have to look inwards for some motivation. Not many people will encourage you. Crazy dreams fall into this category. Small dreams too. Everybody is instead used to “big” dreams. My own small, crazy dream at some point in my life was to become an archivist cum photographer. If you live in a society like ours, you will know why I have tagged these “nice” dreams crazy and small. At best, those dreams were fancy dreams. No “serious lawyer” worth his legal onions would descend so low as to want to choose music and photography as professions. Not hobbies, professions.
I started thinking seriously about photography soon after I had qualified as a lawyer. Buying a professional camera was definitely not in the plans at that time but I always had a device-at a point, it was a phone(Sony Ericsson W810i) but I got to own two point-and-shoot cameras later on. I then started earning more and that meant that I could afford some “luxuries” and I actually thought of buying an iPad (through a scheme where I could pay in installments) for my then-girlfriend-now wife that we could share. She queried my decision to get an iPad and I grudgingly dropped the idea.
I had attended a course called Working for God in the Marketplace, organized by Apostles in the Marketplace Network, spearheaded by Pastor John Enelamah and Ndidi Nwuneli of LEAP Africa. Ndidi had made us write down goals (that we would stick to) for the year 2012 in our course notebook. Out of the many things I wrote down, there were two small, crazy dreams-learning to play the guitar and learning photography. I told my fiancée about wanting to learn to play the guitar and she got me a guitar as surprise Valentine present in 2012. I tried to learn it but I couldn’t create enough time for it.
Around the same time, I had bought a small Canon point-and-shoot camera for my fiancée and I found myself with it all the time. So, when the iPad issue came up, I decided in one crazy moment to divert it to purchasing a professional (DSLR) camera. I bought the NIKON D 5100 and photography literally consumed me. I read a lot online about photography and bought loads of photography magazines. My first set of pictures told me that this was not one “hobby” to drop.
HP: Your photos of Lagos, they are totally different and do not fit into the stereotype! Are you on a deliberate campaign to re-brand Lagos? Or is just you- celebrating what is beautiful where the emphasis is usually on what is not?
Being a lover of nature, I took a lot of landscape pictures and I saw Lagos through a new set of eyes. I was working at NECOM House (NITEL Building), incidentally one of the tallest buildings in Nigeria, so I got to look out of my window to see the beauty of Lagos all the time, something we hardly notice. Less than 2 years later, I have thousands of photographs in my portfolio from landscape, to nature, to weddings.
HP: One of the things I find most fascinating is that the journey to following your dreams, re-moulds you. You learn more about yourself, you discover how passionate, how disciplined and how “good” you can be, if you let yourself. How would you say your journey into photography has helped you?
My photographs have given me the perfect medium to express my creativity-the best of myself. Many photos yet unseen and many yet untaken, all I know is that no dream is too small to be followed through with. For me, the best is yet to come. Somehow, I have been able to blend my two professions successfully. It is possible. Let me not bore you with prose-the writer in me. Visit www.seunidowu.com, where I have been blending my blogging and photography skills). My dreams won’t let me be. Here is a peek into my photographer life: http://sdrv.ms/1edeaBb
I really hope you have enjoyed meeting Seun and seeing his work. He is available to cover your occasions, events and even magazine photo shoots! (LOL, I can’t help but advertise such great talent!). More importantly, I hope this interview encourages you to follow your dreams, to put in the hardwork it takes to become a master in your field. To be true to yourself and the gift that God has deposited in you and like Seun did- to listen to the people who are invested in seeing you become your best (in his case, his wife and “the Apostles in the Marketplace”), seek the right company, seek avenues for growth, invest in yourself and be your very best you! Ciao! Don’t forget to be awesome this week.