SUPER SATURDAY STORY
With three kids in the kitty, beautiful Busola – Timi Dakolo’s better half – is finally stepping out of her shadows. With a passion for celebrity photography, Mrs. Dakolo is adding to the fame and perhaps, fortune of her family through her Bubuphoto Signature, Funke Olaode writes.
• I’ll be Fulfilled to Help Humanity Through Photography
• No Longer living in her husband’s shadow…
She is Busola. What comes to mind when her name is mentioned? Perhaps, the name requires a suffix to ring a bell. An encounter with Busola Timi-Dakolo (nee Bernice), an indigene of Kogi State. Looking smart in a short, sky blue dress and red sneakers, she makes things happen in cozy Bubuphoto studio, on the popular Adeola Odeku Street, Victoria Island. It is almost five years since she married Timi Dakolo. Apart from occasional appearances with her husband in the newspapers, Busola has been operating in the background as an entrepreneur dealing in hair care products and at the same time tending to her three delightful children.
She grew up in Ilorin and had her secondary education at Gifted Academy in Suleja, Niger state. Her initial ambition was to be a medical scientist. But a visit to the laboratory where she saw dead bodies made her opt for another course.
“Really, I didn’t want to study Geology and Mineral Resources. I wanted medical science. But the sight of dead bodies made me run away from that. I had to change my course to Geology and Mineral Resources which I studied at the University of Ilorin. I felt I should do something that is more challenging. As an adventurous person I love field trips and I felt Geology would give me the opportunity. Again, it is about discovery. After my youth service in Balyesa State I never practised in the offshore but worked in an oil servicing firm where I was able to do something in the field,” Mrs. Timi-Dakolo recalled.
Though she never had the chance to go to the rig, her intellectual acumen in the field of science found its way to the information technology department of Zenith Bank headquarters on Victoria Island as a solution provider, helping companies on business development and providing IT solution. She was with the bank for four years and quit when she got pregnant with her first child.
Busola has been quiet for sometime now. She is, however, gradually coming out of her shell. And contrary to public opinion that she may want publicity stunt or ride on her husband’s popularity, she said, “I didn’t want to come out to the public initially because I am restricted in terms of timing. It is not easy to work fully as a photographer and be a mother. In every step of the way I always love to be me. I want people to see me for who I am. I am coming out and believe me, if it is something that is not a solution provider I wouldn’t come out. I love my privacy a lot and in terms of photography I have to come out. I know I am bringing new things to the table. My passion for photography has always been there right from childhood. I had cameras and if we went out I was always concerned about taking photographs. If we went on family vacation I would be the one in charge of photography and hardly had pictures of myself. So, I am always excited about taking pictures whenever we travelled.
“My husband just pointed it out one day that I love taking photographs and why don’t I get someone to tutor me in-house. I enrolled with a photographer here in Lagos who tutored me for three months. After that I continued with my passion of taking photographs. I finally decided in the middle of summer of 2015 to go for a course in photography in New York Film Academy for eight weeks. After I got back I turned the passion into what everybody will benefit.”
It is over 12 months since she launched out and the experience has been awesome.
According to her, photography is an eye-opener in terms of reading meaning into photography. It is not about clicking; there is the portrait, the abstract, the documentary and the storytelling.
While her inspiration comes in many dimensions, including gazing at a moving car, or watching a movie, or just gazing into the sky, Busola is concentrating more on celebrity photography, portraits, storytelling photography – because her passion is about making a larger statement.
“You know a picture can cover up three pages of a book. Before I take any picture I will make a sketch of what I am going to do and for me it is like fashion designing. Before I do any shot I make a sketch of it out of my mind to enable me achieve my desired result. I want to do different aspects; and there is likelihood that I will stage an exhibition later. My work will definitely be exhibited for people to understand how I see things. Pictures of every photographer show the person.”
There is no doubt that being married to a famous husband can open many closed doors in her new vocation. With that reality in mind, Busola insisted that her works also speak for her.
“When I started the studio, I told my husband that I wanted my work to speak for itself and let people know that I have something to offer. When anyone sees a picture of a celebrity they are able to connect with that aspect of a person, not the glamorous aspect of it.”
So far, Mrs. Timi-Dakolo has done some jobs for individuals, portfolio work for a few corporate organisations and some shots for the Genevieve Magazine.
With constant training and mentoring at the feet of veterans sometimes is an antidote to career success, Busola is willing to toe the line. But her number one role model in photography is Steven Meisel, a fashion commercial photographer based in New York, who has taken many royalty photographs for Vanity Fair and Vogue Italian cover for over 20 years.
“I love his work and the way he is able to connect with every celebrity and bring out their personalities and his ability to connect with the models. In Nigeria, I love Obi Somto and TY Bello because for a female to embark on a photography job it takes a lot of a concentration.”
Getting personal with Busola is like touching a soft spot as she laughs shyly, reminiscing on how her path crossed that of the Balyesa soul singer.
“We met in the Household of God Church in 2008 shortly after winning the West African Idol. I wasn’t even ready for marriage or a relationship when I met him. Honestly, I was quite nasty to him because I didn’t want to entertain anybody around me. He was very persistent and kept pressing that he just wanted to be a friend. I just said that I was not keen in dating him. I even gave him a wrong number.
“But the following week after church service, this guy trailed me with his car just to know where I was staying. And some weeks later, I saw him around my premises pretending as if he was coming to look for my flatmate. That was how he kept coming, telling me to give him my ears. That was how we started and we got married five years ago.
For the Dakolos, culture shock was not an issue. A kogite married to a half-Ghanaian and half-Bayelsan.
“I didn’t know I would marry an Ijaw man. My mother was a bit apprehensive but my father was indifferent and even said I could marry a Jew or an Indian as long as I was cool with that. He gave me his support.
But my dad warned me never to come back to complain about my choice. In terms of their culture, I am already accustomed to it having served in his state.”
For Busola, her celebrity status hasn’t changed her approach to life though she admits that there are times she is restricted because of public perception. And if there are things she has to cope with it is the ability to deal with her husband’s admirers. Is she constantly on his trail?
“Not really. Initially, I used to follow him to the show but now that my hands are full I hardly have all the time. But there are times my husband would say, ‘Baby, you have to come for this one oh! And I will follow him. Even if he is not a celebrity he will still have female admirers. I feel they are only admiring him for his vocal talent but I know him personally. There are some things that don’t get to me because Timi Dakolo on stage is different from Timi Dakolo as a husband and father. If you want to know the real Timi Dakolo come to me. He is very quiet, cool and calm at home but not quiet outside. He is a bookworm also.”
Juggling motherhood and career may be a task for some, but she sees it as a commitment to motherhood.
“It is quite demanding because I am directly involved with my children. If they are not seeing their father frequently due to the demand of his job I want to be there for them. I cook their meals. I try to plan my time but every day I wake up asking God for strength.”
For a young mother who is still in her thirties, relaxation doesn’t have a place in her dictionary. She wishes to traverse the Caribbean Islands of Barbados or the Bahamas because she loves to chill beside the ocean while she also loves to go on a camp out under the tent just for a night on a hilly side or by the sea.
She may be a new kid on the block but as 2017 progresses, Busola has a vision and mission; which is to see herself exhibiting her works in renowned places and galleries in Nigeria and across the world.
“I feel people connect more with images and you can touch lives more. I will be feel fulfilled if I am able to help humanity through pictures.”