A few weeks ago I paid a surprise visit to one of Nigeria’s top filmmakers, Tunde Kelani (he is fondly called Uncle T.K) of Mainframe Productions. I had my DSLR in tow as I was proudly itching to show off my relatively new camera to my mentor in photography. I call my camera Michelle. All my gadgets are named.
I entered the office beaming with smiles, and of course Uncle TK was so happy to see me. Over a year ago, he gave me a solid introduction into photography using a manual, yes MANUAL camera. I was astounded at first – the sight of the old school camera had me in fits of laughter. C’mon, the camera didn’t even use AA batteries – you had to take a shot on the film and wind it to move to the next free slot. Then Uncle TK said to me, everything we hold as digital now, started from this piece and it’s returning there. Truly, the digital camera has a Manual function mode. I remember us strolling down Oshodi expressway (Lagos) and taking shots. It was bliss as he taught me the basics of photography – how to work with light, composition and more. I didn’t have my Canon then.
Now as I walked into the office, it was time to show and tell Uncle TK everything I had been up to in the world of photography. This was where he gave me an interesting story. I casually settled on the rugged floor, braced for another interesting and insightful peek into the 60s and 70s of a professional. I have his permission to share it with you on my blog.
Once upon a time in Nigeria, it was highly embarrassing to say you were a Photographer. Today, it is a fashionable profession (swag-certified) – but it wasn’t so in the beginning.Uncle TK said as a youth, he was seeing a lady back then who was going to medical school. To be a medical student was (and still is) WOW! He said she never introduced him to her friends as a photographer; while he was proud of his profession, his girl was embarrassed about it. Everyone thought Uncle TK was crazy to take up a career in “point and shoot”, but he stuck to his guns (pun unintended) and even moved on to cinematography. Has it paid off? Visit MainFrame and feast your eyes on his achievements thus far.
I became curious so I asked what kept him motivated. He said, “a passion I could not explain until now.” Till Now? His response was:
New technology in photography is giving me the same excitement and passion I felt then now. I feel like i’m back in those days when I first discovered photography.
Uncle Tunde Kelani has experienced every phase of media for motion picture, and I saw the excitement in his eyes to be a part of current trends in technology developments. From the beginning of Black and White TV to colour, to when editing film was non-linear, then linear and now back to non-linear (in digital form) – he’s seen it all. Just like in ladies’ fashion, it’s a cycle, and only a few can boast of seeing the full cycle. If the cycle keeps rotating, I guess it would soon be the turn of my generation. Till then, i’ll be content observing, taking notes and of course snapshots 🙂
Have a fab saturday, i’m off to take some snap shots.