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12 May


In a world where everyone is currently having to adjust to the idea of the “new norm”, creatives and freelancers have found themselves in limbo, but some have gotten creative (pun intended) and are producing the most incredible contents. Photographer, Bolaji Odukoya, discusses the inspiration and challenges behind his latest photoshoot during the lockdown.


Q: What was the inspiration behind this shoot?

A: I’ve pretty much been doing lots of editing since the lockdown began, so I’ve had to do a lot of research. I must have seen the FaceTime shoot that Bella Hadid did with Vogue. I was intrigued and I just decided to take out time and find out more about the shoot. Mainly the how’s and do’s.


Q: Was the shoot an already planned before lockdown or was it birthed out of spontaneity?

A: It was during the lockdown that I decided to do the FaceTime shoot. I did my research and in less than 24 hours, I decided that I was going to try it. There were bits of uncertainties, in the sense that I didn’t have to luxury to check out the location or test lighting. I wasn’t even sure where my model was currently isolating, but in the end, it all worked out well.


Q: How challenging was creative direction during the shoot?

A: It was my first time doing a shoot like this, so there were many things I wasn’t particularly certain about. I assumed that the model would be home with at least one other person because I needed someone to help hold the camera and move as I directed, but it turned out that the model was in fact alone on the day of the shoot. I basically had to tell her how to move the camera. For each shot, I had to walk her through the placement of the camera – every little move was orchestrated. It was quite challenging as opposed to having someone else there holding the phone as the model posed, that would have been a lot easier.


Q: Was it difficult depending on Nigerian service providers during such a digital shoot?

A: To be fair, the only problem I had with the network while shooting was just how pixilated FaceTime video was. In terms of communication during the shoot, I’ll say the network wasn’t interrupted at all. I was shocked and impressed at the same time.


Q: Did you have to use any special lens for the shoot?

A: I only had to use the FaceTime photo option. I’d definitely recommend that to anyone that wants to attempt the shoot here in Nigeria.


Q: How has Covid-19 affected you in terms of being a freelancer?

A: In terms of work, I’ve felt the impact of the lockdown quite deeply. Clients have had to move their shoots until further notice. Right now, most of the work I’ve had to do is mainly editing.

Funny you asked, I actually had a shoot in the studio today, and I had to be stern on the social distancing protocols. There were only three people in the studio, including myself, and we all had on our gloves and face masks.

Q: What are some of the things you do to push your creativity?

A: What fuels my creative is very personal, my art and my work are very personal. I expose myself to a lot of images and then discern how to recreate them in my own way. It’s definitely a fusion of research and my how my mind works.


Q: You recommended that other photographers attempt the FaceTime photo shoot, has anyone done it?

A: Yes, another photographer, Ngozi Eme actually did his own FaceTime shoot and I think he did it quite beautifully. Prior to the shoot, he sent me a direct message on Instagram and asked for a few pointers. The only advice I gave to him was to make sure his model and find had someone else to help him navigate the phone while he took pictures.


Q: You have time, now more than ever, what is next for Bolaji?

A: I’m currently planning a lot of exciting projects and you’ll definitely know it’s me when you see them.

Nimotalai Oki
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