Photography gave me something Electrical Engineering could not – Tosin Junaid
Millennials consume the highest amount of media in history. They want to see themselves, they want to know what happens at events. They want to keep memories alive in pictures. We have gotten to a stage where an event in incomplete without a photographer. The roles of photographers in Nigeria has increased over time. We spoke to a fast rising photographer, Tosin Junaid. He had this to say;
Please introduce yourself
My name is Tosin Junaid and I am a portrait photographer based in Lagos Nigeria. I like to think of myself as an introvert, very reserved and laid-back. I would probably stay indoors all day if I had my way.
How was growing up like?
Growing up was fun, my parents at the time were above average financially, so we had everything we needed. My elder brother and I were pretty close, so I had his company throughout those years. I did a bit of boarding school in secondary school at Mayflower Ikenne, and I’d say that had a significant impact on me.
What were your desires and aspiration growing up?
My desire and aspirations changed a lot while growing up. I’m pretty sure I wanted to become an astronaut at one point. I also wanted to become an engineer, a pilot, a doctor, a lawyer, all at different points while growing up. I eventually ended up studying Electrical Electronics engineering at the Federal University of Technology Akure (FUTA)
Where you under any pressure in changing your desires?
A little bit of pressure, but I wouldn’t say they inferred the changes. I just kept changing my mind as I got more knowledge and exposure.
Did the decision to study Electrical Electronic engineering come from you?
Yes, although I initially wanted to study computer engineering, it wasn’t available at the University so I did the closest thing to it with the intention of furthering in computer engineering later on.
What changed for you?
Well, I found out Electrical Electronics Engineering wasn’t what I thought it was. It was still a fun ride and I enjoyed every part of it. In my final year, I found photography and really started to enjoy it.
How did you venture into photography?
After one of the many ASUU strikes, one of my closest friends came back with a camera. I followed him around for shoots and my interest started to grow. I started learning from him. The learning never ends. I am still learning today.
Photography seems to be the trending career choice among young Nigerians, how did you carve a niche?
Carving a niche for yourself takes years and I’m still carving that niche. You want to get to a level where people see your work and recognize it instantly.
So how would you rate the level of work you do?
I’m my number one critique. So, while others might think my work is beautiful, I’m constantly striving to make it better.
The role of photographers in Nigeria is a huge one but how much of Nigerian stories are being told? If you Google young Nigerians online, you wouldn’t like what you see. Are Nigerian photographers making their mark?
The photography industry is just beginning to develop. I believe that in a couple of years with the amount of intelligent and creative young men and women getting into the craft, we can change the way the world views Nigeria and Africa as a whole.
What is your take on mainstream media in Nigeria and the role of photographers?
I read an article the other day about how someone gathered 20 different books about Africa by completely different authors and different topics, but all the books had very similar covers. A desert, a withered tree and sunset. This is the narrative we’re trying to change. Nigeria is a beautiful place with many beautiful untold stories and we are going to tell it to the world.
What photography do you do?
I do portrait and headshot photography mostly. I also enjoy doing documentary photography, but it’s not a major for me.
How have been able to get your clientele and solve payment issues?
Getting clients can be tough at the beginning. But young photographers have to understand that there is room for organic growth and should be patient and let it happen. I learnt the issue of payment the hard way. After recording some thousands in bad debts, I learnt to give out contracts to my clients.
What plans do you have for the future?
I plan to start a training school for photographers and I also have a couple of photography related business ideas to develop.