The past few weeks have been a rollercoaster for us as citizens of Nigeria.
It’s only fair that I ask how you’re doing amidst all this. How are you and hope you are keeping safe?
In the past two weeks, we have seen ourselves collectively swing between hope and despair.
While it’s easier to hold on to despair, erase the past from our minds and move on with the future while planning for a means of ‘escape’ if you will permit, can I play devil’s advocate and preach hope?
Hope is within you. Just like love, faith and resilience.
They are within you, and nobody has the power to snuff it out except you give them the power.
So in this message, I want to remind you that you’re strong enough to hold on to hope despite the circumstances.
The doggedness that has brought us this far is still strong enough to take us further.
Like never before we stood together as one Nigeria; with one culture, one religion, and one tribe for one hope.
What I have seen in the past few weeks is hope to me.
So, believe it and hold on tightly to it. Give no one the power to snuff out the light of your hope.
It’s amazing how we can go through life and our experiences teach us stuffs about life. Here’s what I learn from taking (Phone) photography
I got an iPhone X mid-2019, and there is something about the iPhone that makes you want to get all the beautiful scenes and capture every moment. So okay, the iPhone was a significant trigger for me in beginning my phone photography journey. Soon after taking a few (lots of) photographs, my skills were improving, and I got some fist bumps or chopped knuckles (depending on your motherland *winks*) from people saying my pictures looked really good.
The more I kept taking pictures, the more I saw a correlation with life and realised that you could apply some photography principles to your life and live a productive and happy life.
You know when you hear, “picture the kind of life you want to live,” well I think these lessons can help you create the ‘perfect’ life picture.
1. It’s all about perspective
The idea of perspective was probably the first thing I learnt when I began photography. Life is perspective. I could look at almost any image and just by changing my point of view and positioning my hand to the right place, that ordinary image looks good.
Many of the beautiful pictures we see today were all about perspective. There were just ordinary images until the photographer looked from a different angle and asked: “is it a 6 or a 9?”
Same for our lives, people who made their lives beautiful once lived ordinary lives and decided to look at life from another perspective. They learnt from their mistakes (because everybody makes mistakes), they understood their weaknesses as strength and made a profit from their pain. They changed their perspective to life and added that “extra” to their ordinary life, making it extraordinary.
If you’re wondering what I mean by “miracle”, it’s simple: a miracle is a shift in perspective from fear to love.
– Gabrielle Bernstein
From a motivation perspective, helping others enriches the meaning and purpose of our own lives, showing us that our contributions matter and energising us to work harder, longer, and smarter.
– Adam Grant
2. Get some light
Light is key! When there is light, there is hope for a beautiful picture. Have you ever wondered why some of the most beautiful photographs look so bright and colourful? Well, it’s all about lighting.
I learnt to take advantage of the light. When I see a bright day, I know it is an opportunity for a sweet photograph. Even in the studio, photographers would always bring extra light, and you will hear … “the picture was awesome because there was light.”
Same for our lives, if we can only take advantage of those small “light” opportunities that come our way and choose to bring our light (like knowledge – the best light: ask questions, read etc.), we would brightly see our lives. Most importantly, the beauty of light is that it brings good energy to our lives (just like it does to pictures).
3. Learn from the dark
This point might seem contradictory to the second point, but well, it is equally important. I observed that black brings beauty in photography.
Black has an extraordinary power of enhancing the definition of an image. When there is a dark environment with a small ray of light or you edit a picture, and you enhance the dark spots, the image would be great.
I like this lesson because it makes me recognise my weaknesses and take advantage of them. I realise that my shortcomings and disabilities can work in my favour, that through discipline and dedication, I can spin things around so that they begin to enhance my future identity instead of bringing me down.
… to do this effectively, you need to be aware of yourself, understand your situation and trigger some inner happiness (because hey, you are about to turn the impossible to possible in your life – you need these things, so you can see the beauty in your ashes)
4. Learn to focus
The focus might not apply so much to phone photography (because you can’t entirely manipulate the settings), but in all forms of picture taking, the FOCUS conversation doesn’t get old. If you use a high-end phone like the latest iPhone or SAMSUNG, you will get a feel of the focus setting.
FOCUS: an image can’t be distracted. To take the best picture of an image, you have to decide on letting go of somethings, things by the side and at the back of the image.
Focus is a continuous life decision for most of us. We live in a very distracted world which makes it difficult for us to see the things matter. We need our shift our gaze from the distractions, dive deep on what we need and focus on the essential things in our lives.
Focus requires tradeoffs in life, at different stages in life. Everything is important, but not a priority
5. You will get it wrong sometimes, many times…
Trust me, for everyone beautiful image you see, there were many imperfect ones. I would take ten shots of one image and end up deleting 8 or just using 1. Imagine if I now took just one imperfect photograph, what will I have to post?
The same applies to life, there will be so many things that we might try to do, and they won’t work out the first time, second, third, fourth and depending on our capacity, situation or opportunity till the Tenth time before we succeed. When we see successful people, trust me many of them failed many times for succeeding. We only saw them on stage, we never saw their failures.
It doesn’t mean that nothing will work out; it only implies that we should keep trying until we get it right … Don’t be scared to fail. Don’t run from success because you are scared to fail
“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. – Wayne Gretzky.
6. Follow your curiosity
This point is an extra, but still valid. Sometimes I see a view, and I’m just curious as to what beautiful image I can make from this and when I act out on my curiosity, it is indeed a beautiful image (actually not all the time though, but it was worth the shot because I had nothing to lose).
Curiosity is all about asking questions and trying various options to find an answer. In life, sometimes, let your curiosity lead you to explore and try out new opportunities. You will be amazed at the results of your trial.
(I plan to write later on Moses and the burning bush – one of the greatest curiosity moment in history)
“The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing.”
― Albert Einstein
7. Be the director
This is the last ingredient to this collection, and I must confess I got this online along time ago. I google how to take good pictures and one article said “be the director”
What does this mean? You know when someone says take me a picture and they just stand. Most of the time the photographer is as good as the model, you need to tell the person how to pose, where to look, how to look, what to hold, where to stay etc
Most people don’t know how to pose and if you want to take a good picture you need to tell them how to.
Same with life. You are the person behind the camera. You determine every photograph that you take. You make every decision and take ownership of your every action. Always be in charge of your life!
Let’s give this one for Tara 🙂 Actually Tara can direct too … she direct small here *winks*
I’m sharing all these so that we know that most times, those fantastic photographs that we see, the photographers just followed simple principles of perspective, light, focus etc. and this is the same for life. Just follow the simple principles and watch your life become a beautiful photograph.
“Conductor, abeg give me my change, where is my change?”.
I sat in the Danfo bus listening to so many echoes of the same sentence. It wasn’t an unfamiliar sound. I hear this same change request every time, and sometimes, I am even one of the requesters. Once, I had witnessed a fight where the passenger and the Conductor exchanged abusive words and soon got into a physical altercation because of change.
Passers-by were quick to interrupt their fight, and I kid you not, this fight was for a 50 naira change. Wow! Well, the passenger ended up collecting his well-deserved 50 naira change from the Conductor, and everyone was happy.
While I would not like to overlook the essence of a 50 naira note in changing the life of a person, I cannot but ponder on how much we keep fighting for the wrong change. There are more important things to fight for that can rid the Conductor’s chances of not giving you your change in the bus like; how you can fight to change the transportation system or fight for the transformation of the roads or maybe even how so many public resources can be maintained or yes, fight for how we can use our resources to transform the nation, Nigeria. What about the level of corruption in the country, is that not something you can fight to change?
But beyond all these many changes, we can fight for a change that begins with us; a change that we can influence in our little way. Like changing how we dump refuse on the road or changing how we treat people or even changing how we do things on our job. Remember that to begin a revolutionary movement takes just one man. Start the revolution today.
Seeing my fellow Lagosians / Nigerians fight for their 50 naira change on the street with so much passion and defence for their dignity (U no fit cheat me, give me my change oga) showed me that we have fighters in Nigeria, they just need the right leadership to direct them to the right change to fit for
And yes, the conductors should stop hoarding our changes too.
Like the first line of the national anthem says “Arise, O Compatriots.” Let’s arise! The change starts with us.