Seun Idowu is a young man with a lot of high hopes and great dreams. He is someone who believes that a man will be empty when he neglects his spirit and mind so he works as hard as he can to develop these things. Seun was born in Nigeria and has lived there all his life. He presently lives in Lagos and hopes to conquer the world from Nigeria. He studied law at Olabisi Onabanjo University and the Nigerian Law School. So, when he’s not a photographer, he’s a lawyer who works in the legal department of a telecom company.
In a way, I have always been interested in photography. The interest must have started when I developed the habit of keeping family photos, good ones and bad ones—and that’s a hobby that has been there for a very long time. The bulk of the good pictures were taken by my Uncle Saka Kasumu, a consummate photographer whose work I hope to document one day. I didn’t own a camera until my friend Bolanle Adebola bought me a point-and-shoot for my birthday in 2003. I experimented a lot with that camera (and wasted a lot of film). In 2008, I bought the Sony Ericsson W810i because of its great picture and music capabilities. Then the internet came and I started seeing the work of great photographers from everywhere around the globe, including Nigeria. By default, I picked up a lot of knowledge about photography along the way. However, I did not buy a professional DSLR camera (a Nikon D5100, with the kit lens AF-S Nikkor 18-55mm) until September 2012 and it’s been “liberation” since then! I’ve not let the camera rest! The new knowledge I have gained from digital photography has consumed me so much that when I’m not reviewing legal documents, I’m either taking, poring over, or editing pictures. So, as an enthusiast, I have more than twenty years experience and as a “professional” I have just one month of experience.
In terms of my aesthetic, I am, first and foremost, one who is intrigued by Creation and the Creator, so I’m inevitably fascinated by God Almighty and His creations. On the next level, I am fascinated by man (God’s greatest creation) and his many capabilities and creations. So my inspiration comes from the Creator and his Creations. I simply love nature, so anything that falls into that category will be a favourite thing to shoot. I love nature because it doesn’t have to strike a pose and it’s not controllable to a large extent. I love the challenge this poses. However, I don’t intend to restrict myself to this genre.
I am a Nigerian who has refused to give up on this country. I have lived all my life here and unlike many people, I see the beauty alongside the rot (true of every country, unless it’s populated by angels). With my (documentary/street/landscape/travel/nature) photography, I would love to bring out the beauty in Nigeria as well as travel around the globe to see and feel the world’s beauty.
With portraiture/family photography, I simply want to preserve memories (freezing time), the same way my Uncle Saka Kasumu was able to create indelible memories of our family. I must have gone through our family albums a million times. I hope to become a welcome face in many homes all around the world through this.
With stock/creative photography, I simply want to create original content for the Nigerian media. I have noticed that many Nigerian websites carry pictures of white people. That’s so wrong. I run a blog and one of the frustrations publishing my many articles is the struggle to get original Nigerian content. That’s looking at it from the inside. From the outside, foreign media seem to be starved of Nigerian content, so they inevitably rely on the perception they already have of the country through mass media. Try Googling something truly unique to Nigeria and you may find that a lot of stuff is merely regurgitated or imitated.
As a creative person, I would love my creative photos to make the outside world see that there’s a lot of creativity in the home-grown Nigerian as opposed to creativity influenced by exposure gained from living outside the country. Creativity is not lacking in the nation, it’s just largely untapped. At the end of the day, I want my photos to celebrate the Nigerian, not just celebrating me as an individual.
Here is my advice for beginning photographers: It’s the information age. Once you have the innate talent or sufficient interest, everything else you require can be found through Google. I invest a lot in books, journals, and magazines. Magazines help a lot. I read Practical Photography and Outdoor Photography Magazines from time to time and from there, I have learnt a lot about what kind of equipment to buy, defined my area of photography, and gotten useful tips on photography methods. There are also great pictures to inspire as well as learn from. I buy almost every photography book I can lay my hands on and I learn editing on lynda.com. I intend to go for a photography course soon. I’m doing all these just to make sure I don’t wallow in mediocrity. Passion must be backed by adequate knowledge.