This one is on You!

As a commercial photographer, I get commissioned now and then. Every time I’m commissioned to do a job, I seize the opportunity to explore. While I dance to the tune of the Piper, I’m always on the lookout for those precious moments that occur. Many times these moments are not part of the direction, but often send the same message. Sometimes, they bear a different message but they are still very useful to communicate other emotions and feelings. Trust don’t want to go out with me on any of these outings. If you care to know, I’m the kind that gets immersed in my art. I am able to create worlds around the subjects I capture. Most times this behavior is not comprehensible by the onlooker. This is not surprising because we all look but see differently. On this shoot, I was commissioned by The Edo State Government’s Ministry of Arts and Culture to make pictures for Edo State Festival of Arts and Culture 2014.

In a bid to showcase the vibrant culture of its tribes as well as its landmarks, the Ministry had us travel around the state to capture images. Among the places visited was Ososo a potential tourist destination. Ososo is a scenic town of streams and rocks in the undulating Somorika hills. The town is located in Akoko-Edo Local Government Area, in the north of Edo State, Nigeria. With an average altitude of 1236 feet above sea level, it enjoys a very temperate climate similar to that of Jos, Plateau State. The highest peak is a very large monolith often called the Oruku rock. Ososo town is of granitic nature, with some elevations of volcanic origin containing precious stones of varied descriptions. Located on a plateau of dispersed rocks and undulating hills, the town continues to be a haven for tourists.

The shoot started early that Saturday morning. The sun had just risen to an altitude around 30 degrees and that produced a lot of shade which was good for pictures. Because of the town’s topography, moving around the different locations in town the was by walking, cycling and motorbiking. The nearness of some of the tourist attractions made walking our favored option. It was 10 am and everything was working as planned. Thanks to Donald my host whose knowledge of the terrain made navigation simple. We virtually walked paths that trailed in between houses. This was a plus to me as I seized the opportunity to capture everything that meant anything: from small stones to gigantic rocks; leaves to trees; kids to adults; in motion and still. None could escape my trigger. The rare untapped beauty of the scenery aroused a part of me and in a flash, I was in my own world. I knew Donald was getting tired of this crazy behavior but something in my head said “ignore him” lol. ‘The day was still very young’, I thought as I snapped on. After a while, something striking happened. Out of blue, my eyes caught the gaze of a man, who was all grey and dressed in a blue robe. This gentle old man had a noble character that made him seem to have emerged from a story book. The man though very old, had this fixated look like none in his age I had seen before that day. I pointed my Canon camera at him. Like he knew the deal, he nodded his head to show his approval. In seconds, I took a couple of images; Images unknown to me would challenge me someday.

Every time I look at this picture, floods of thoughts arise in my mind; some of which make me worry and wonder. All these led me to a fundamental question. What would be the worst nightmare in old age? Every time I try to answer this question, I get scared. It took me ages to figure this out. The worst nightmare in old age is regret. Old age is the time of assessment; when all strength is gone and the most valuable asset called Time, is not guaranteed. According to Dr. Myles Munroe’s quote, ‘Every human heart cries and yearns for the same thing: a chance to fulfill his or her own dreams and desires. Even the poorest man has a dream’. This, I believe, is true. We all desire something but most times, we are scared to even try to have our desires. See what Bruce Lee said: “Life is all about expression…how can I express myself totally and completely. Style separates men. It is a crystallization. It is a process of continuing growth/development”. It takes work to express self. Jim Rohn said, “If you work harder on your job, you make a living but if you work harder on yourself, you will make a fortune”. What we become is much more valuable than what you get. “Success is something you attract by the person you become…you can never catch up with success if you pursue it”.

As we grow older, it is important that we do as much as we can to live our dreams. We must do so much to be happy; live each day like it is the only day we have; be ready to explore and engage ideas with courage. Then when finally we are aged and grey we can smile at all our accomplishments.