1000 Faces of Lagos project, a photo exhibition of 1000 Faces of Lagos by Micheal Ogbaa will kick off today at Terra Kulture, Tiamiyu Savage Street, Victoria Island Lagos. The show will also witness the lunch of the 100 Faces of Lagos website and a summary the book, writes Mary Ekah
For Michael Ogba, a banker with one of the Nigeria’s banks, the most cosmopolitan city in sub-Saharan Africa, is “a perfect kaleidoscope of contradictions, a cacophony of inequalities and a collage of entwined destinies.” For this reason he has come up with a collection, tagged, “1000 Faces of Lagos”, in an attempt to tell the story of contemporary Lagos, using a thousand pictures.
Having invested about forty weekends and public holidays in touring various parts of Lagos, Ogba has taken over ten thousand photos of certain aspects of life in Lagos with the intention of sharing one thousand of them with the public using the most advanced channels. These photos range from the aquatic splendours of Epe, Ikorodu and Badagry to the majestic skylines of Victoria and Lagos Islands. Every shot, he recalled, was an unforgettable experience.
The photo exhibition of 1000 Faces of Lagos, which takes off today Saturday 27 at Terra Kulture in Victoria Island and ends on Sunday, 28, he said was inspired by a trip across the popular Third Mainland Bridge.
“I was on third Mainland Bridge one fateful Wednesday evening and beheld the amazing beauty of the golden shadow of the setting sun over the vast lagoon. It was an enchanting view. I wished I had a camera to capture and share that delightful memory with as many people as will appreciate nature at its finest - that was how the idea of 1000 Faces of Lagos was birthed”, Ogbaa reminisces.
Lagos remains the most photogenic city is sub-Saharan Africa. It is home to over 15 million people, each, with unique and amazing stories. It therefore not surprising that it has caught Ogbaa’s interest in this manner.
“Before I set out on this project, I sought for and got the written approval of Lagos State Council for Arts and Culture. Armed with this, I secured the services of a rental agency and a security man”, he noted.
Most of Ogbaa’s photos were usually taken on weekends, public holidays and during his annual leave. “It was as tedious as it was exciting. The inviting rustic riverine landscape of Epe where fishing is an art and a science was the most memorable. The historical background of Badagry was also remarkable and Ikorodu completes the tripod of my amazing experience in rural Lagos. Victoria and Lagos Islands at night are captivating scenes that can rival some sprouting European cities. Takwa Bay, Bar beach, Badagry and Oniru (Private) Beaches are invitingly irresistible. Mushin, Oshodi, Ketu, Yaba, Oyingbo, to mention but a few had fair share of coverage”, he noted.
Would it then be difficult for this self-acclaimed photographer to decide on his best shots? “This is a very difficult question. The reflective emotions rising and setting sun arouse is quite different from those of fishermen setting out to fish in Epe or Badagry. The helicopter view of Victoria and Lagos Islands are as breath taking as the natural habitat of Lekki (Chevron) Conservation Centre. The Eyo festival and the Lagos Carnival, the bustling traffic and the busy markets that dot every cranny of the city, every picture is special in their various ways”, he noted.
One would then wonder if he has achieved his aim for the project. “The answer is partly yes. I am a banker, not a photographer. I wanted to motivate our youths to realise the unlimited possibilities in photography. I have achieved that. They can borrow a leaf from 1000 Faces of Lagos and get the telecoms and other multinational companies to sponsor them. I have been privileged to visit many cities in Europe and America – The Hague and Amsterdam in Holland, Liverpool and London in England, San Francisco, Atlanta and Paolo Alto in California amongst others. All these cities have over 200 photo books about each of these cities. Lagos has only a few and mostly by foreigners.
He hopes to take a few more amazing pictures and prepare for international exhibition of 1000 Faces of Lagos in Paris, London and New York. “I intend to get a few sponsors for this. A few companies have indicated interest to use framed pictures from the project for Christmas and other gifts. A few hotels are also interested and the Lagos State Government may likely be involved at a point’, the banker-cum photographer noted.
For Ogbaa, everything is possible to those that are able to overcome their fears. “You will never walk on water if you remain in the boat. Try something you have never done before. Even if you lose everything in the process, you will never lose the experience. If a picture tells a thousand stories, 1000 Faces of Lagos tells a million story about our beloved City of Lagos”, he said.