Individuality, uniqueness, _____ sets us apart.

June 15th, 2011


Everyone of us is born unique. Each with his own signature look, laugh, quirk. I had an interesting discussion with a friend this past weekend. She was showing me some of her work. I really liked the images she had in her portfolio. She explored how she saw things and the images were not the everyday images you see, ok maybe some of them were. We all see the world differently, and we should explore THAT. There’s been a lot of posts on finding your vision, and I won’t be touching on any of that. If you want to find more on that check out David DuChemin’s writing and work . Excellent and inspiring stuff. This is however about how she created the cover for this portfolio. It was hand written in different colored markers. It was cute and unique. I at first kinda made fun of it as nothing short of a sixth grade child’s writing. We went back and forth on whether she should have designed something in some vector program on the computer to make it more professional. But she remained adamant on why she did it that way and stuck to her guns. This led me to think,’what makes something professional ? ‘ OK, the images have to meet certain standards, but should the presentation or wrappings detract from its significance ? Some might say yes, but that’s a discussion for another day.

This served as a reminder to me that we do it first for ourselves. If it doesn’t make us happy, then who are we trying to please ? We have to satisfy the inner critique first and foremost. Chase Jarvis wrote a post the other day, “Not everyone is going to like your work’ . But you better like it. No matter how many accolades and great reviews we receive from others, self satisfaction with our work must be foremost. In case she didn’t know, I eventually liked the cover and I see it as a personal signature that it truly reflects the pride and personal connection she feels about her work. Super clean, pristine portfolios sometimes lack this. There’s a time and place for everything.

When the photographer’s vision and client’s vision align, it truly makes for exceptional work. We can all copy from each other, but what sets us part is the way we see and envision things. When the originator of the style,vision,idea suddenly decides to change it up, the copycats are left floundering grasping for straws not understanding the reasoning behind the it all. This might seem idealistic of thought and several economic factors might preempt this from happening, but I believe this should be the ultimate goal where our individuality and unique way of doings things is the reason why clients and customers chose, not because we are a cheaper copy of something they desire !!


What’s in a Name ?

June 5th, 2011

What’s in a Name ? I’ll say a whole lot. It could be the beginnings to a great and easy life in kindergarten or it could be worse. Kids can be CRUEL !! One filled with jokes, songs and plays on your name will not be so much fun. I am proud of my 20+ names, although I only know a few of them. Babatunde ( Baba-toon-day) is just one of them. My last name is great one as well, OLUBANDO ( Olu-ban-doh). The origins of it I truly don’t know, but the literal translation is one that is funny, I’ll leave you to ask your Yoruba friends what it means. High school was fun with that !! Good times. In the Yoruba culture, giving a child a name is often a much celebrated event like all cultures. However, there is such pomp and circumstance around it. Technically, the child is not named until 8 days after the live birth. Some must be wondering 8 days !! Yeah no name for 8 days, so everyone comes up with all kinds of universal names to call the child till then. Bobo, mama, baby,… etc. My aunt still call me bobo till this day. There are many reasons why this was done in the past, but I won’t go into it in this post. I’ll however highlight what it covers, after attending the naming ceremony of my cousins daughter this past weekend.

Welcoming a new child into the family in the Yoruba culture is big thing. Depending on how affluent the family is, sometimes streets are even closed to cater to the attendees of the event. Yeah its that big, coming close a close second to weddings. Normally the oldest member of the family is tasked with responsibility of conducting it as Master of Ceremony. Several items are often procured to help carry out the ceremony. Each item has a special significance in the ceremony and in the Yoruba world view. They are used as symbols of hope , expectations and prayers for the parents and their new child. What better way to start life than with the good will and prayers of people who love you, Family. These items are:

  • Water
  • Palm Oil
  • Bitter Kola
  • Kola Nut
  • Honey
  • Pepper
  • Sugar
  • Salt
  • Dried Fish

The ceremony is often conducted in Yoruba, but here’s a translation of the process. The first that occurs is that prayers are offered by selected attendees and the MC. Once the prayers are done, the MC starts by presenting each item and explaining the significance followed by a prayer for the child. This items are then rubbed on the child and mother’s lips. In some instances today, the items are only rubbed on the mother’s lips.

Water is the first item to be used in the ceremony. Water is a universal solvent and everything in life needs water to survive. The Yorubas also believe that water has no enemy. The child is then blessed it would never be thirsty and like water, it would wouldn’t have any enemies. Palm oil is often used to cook, soothe and lubricate the body. The child is blessed that it would have a smooth and easy life.Bitter Kola is type of bitter nut that is eaten in Nigeria,its very similar to the kola nut. It lasts a long time and like the kola, the child is blessed that it would have a long life. Kola nut is the next item to be used to bless the child. Similar to bitter kola, it is also a nut that is chewed in the Yoruba culture. However, it is often spit out after chewing it to extract the caffeine in it. (PS: it is one of the original ingredients in cola elixir that brought about Coca- cola). The child is blessed that it would repel evil in its life.

Honey and sugar are used sweeteners in almost all cultures known to man. The child is blessed that it would have a sweet and happy life. Pepper ( Atare), is a type of dried pepper, with loads of seeds in it, what pepper doesn’t have seeds. The child is blessed that it would bear many off-springs like the pepper. What food doesn’t taste better with just a little salt ? Salt is a flavor enhancer. The child is blessed that it’s life would not be ordinary. That its life will be filled with excitement, substance and happiness.
The last item, according to the ceremonies I’ve attended is dried fish. A fish usually finds its way to survive in water, whether rough or calm seas. The child is blessed that it would finds its way in life no matter the hardships that it might face. This concludes the blessings part of the ceremony. Like I mentioned I have over 20 + names. I’ll go into details on how and why. Names in the Yoruba have meanings .

The parents are asked to tell the audience what names they have chosen for the child. Before they say the names, they are asked to place a token(monetary) in basket for the child. During my cousin’s child naming ceremony, her husband placed all his credit cards, his wallet and even his shoe in the basket. That got a laugh from the attendees. Aren’t parents wrapped around their kids fingers ? The names are then repeated by all the attendees. The MC, who is the oldest person in the family then offers her own name for the child accompanied by a monetary token. The next oldest person in the family offers a name along with a token. So you can see how you can get 20+ names. My grandparents ( RIP) called me different names . After everyone has had a chance to give the child a name, the monetary tokens are collected and handed to the parent to open an account for the child. The ceremony is closed with prayers and the food and merriment begins.

Two of the names that my cousin’s daughter was given last week were :

Yetunde –( Yay-toon-day) — which means mother has come back. The feminine version of mine.
Ebun-oluwa –( Eh-boon- oh- loo- wah) — which means God’s gift.

What’s in a name you say ? I say it could be the beginning of a great journey in life.


A bright and early start

January 4th, 2011

Its been a great start and a not so good to begin the year. Enjoyed how the year got kicked off, spent the first few hours with friends and family. Made the call home to wish my Dad happy New Year and a happy birthday !! How I miss New years in Nigeria, but that’s a story for another day.On a sad note, lost one of the coolest professors I’ve ever had the opportunity to meet, rest in peace Dr. J.

I’m not one to make new year resolutions, but this time I’m making a promise to myself this year. Shoot more, blog more,shoot some more and collaborate with all the wonderful artists out there. I’ll leave you with this ” People or things come into your life for a reason, season or a lifetime”. Celebrate them while they are there because tomorrow is not certain. Hope everyone has great and successful year ahead.


Baltimore| Soul Symphony Rehearsals .. Take 2

October 6th, 2010

Another Soulful Symphony rehearsal checked off as we get closer and closer to the anniversary celebration on the October 30th. It is so wonderful to be part of wonderful celebration of genius, hard work and just good-natured fun. Everyone involved in the rehearsal was there for no other reason than the love of the performing beautiful music.

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Baltimore|Soulful Symphony rehearsals

September 24th, 2010

On Monday, I had the distinct opportunity to capture the chorus rehearsal for the 10th anniversary of the Soulful Symphony created by acclaimed conductor Darin Atwater. I met Darin through a mutual friend, Brian Davis, who I’ll feature at later date on the blog. Darin’s music is different from any regular you might hear at music hall. According to NPR, Darin combines strands of gospel, jazz, R&B and even hip-hop in his orchestral music. If you are in Baltimore/ Washington DC area on the 30th of October, be sure to check out the concert at the Meyerhoff.

You can listen to the NPR interview from last year here

Below are a couple of images from the rehearsal