Jide Alakija

07 Feb 2006 1,492 views
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What are they looking at?|

What are they looking at?

Tosin consoled me with this statement that I think is very appropriate to all the artists out there. "Many of the good artists in history lost some of their best work in flames, floods and theft, this inspired them to produce their most outstanding masterpieces. Sometimes these are omens (The Alchemist) to lead us to greatness." I think I'll let it drop now with the last of the two shots I've manage to salvage.

To me this is one of the best I've ever taken from the Ajegunle collection. Please I'd really be interested in what you have to say about it. Just to let you in on a few things incase you are wondering how I took this shot, a tip, if you point your camera at someone soon they'll notice you, you know what to do next...I don't suggest you do this all the time as you may loose your camera, there is a certain gift of the gab required for shots like this.

Oh and for those of you that are wondering "What Ajegunle shots is he talking about" well I'm going to start posting some of my old shots (some you've seen already) in the archive of this site for example, "Ajegunle's 3 Amigos" is posted on the 28th January 2005 and so on. So in effect I'm posting two shots a day, on for the future and one for the past. So check out the photo archive each day for the shot I'm posting in the past.

One last thing. Thanks for all the support from yesterday, I'm really blessed to have such good friends. =) Update. After a few thoughts on the title I decided to change it. I'm happier with this Title. Previous title "Passers by on the streets of Ajegunle"

comments (34)

  • Suby
  • 7 Feb 2006, 12:00
Sorry bro, Know this is one of your "best" shots out of the "Ajegunle collection" but I am not feeling the shot. It does nothing for me. All I keep thinking is "why did he take this shot?" Okay what’s right?... Nice holiday snap. What’s wrong?... (been looking at the image for the last 3 mins) just not grabbing me like your other shots have i.e. "Okada washing" now that’s a shot I wish I had taken (why was your ISO so high?)

Maybe the above image would have been a better shot without the passers, it just seems like the are obstructing the image you were trying to capture, maybe it will be a better shot in monochrome. Maybe maybe maybe.

What’s counts really is what you feel about the shot.
  • mr skee
  • 7 Feb 2006, 12:07
Suby you read my mind! Jide, you have taken many Nigeria shots much beter than this, I say no more!
  • Sele
  • 7 Feb 2006, 12:19
Nice pic... but I share a similar opinion to the fellas.
  • Folake
  • 7 Feb 2006, 12:22
If you dont mind me asking,Jide why do you think its one of your best ever?
Oh! Quite simple. But I'd rather you thought more about the shot and the mood of the individuals in it. I think that will tell you why I think it's my bests. Also consider what must have happened before and after the shot was taken. These will lead you to why I regard it as one of my best.

Remember when I take shots I try to capture moments that tell a story. So it's the story behind the shot that makes it one of my best.
  • Folake
  • 7 Feb 2006, 12:58
My oyinbo oga at work looked over and saw the picture and i asked him what he thought about it and he loved it saying more or less what you said, that it captured a moment..(this was prior to me telling him what you or anyone else thought about it)..another guy came over and thought the same ... I thought I liked pictures for that reason, because it captured a moment and told a story but i'm still struggling to see it here. On the flip side I love art for that reason, because it is very individual
  • Folake
  • 7 Feb 2006, 13:09
needless to say it started an argument aboout poverty and racism!
  • mr skee
  • 7 Feb 2006, 13:12
I will agree just not to disagree!
  • Bidemi
  • 7 Feb 2006, 13:29
Sorry you lost your pics yesterday. I know how I felt when I thought I'd lost all my manuscripts. The paralysis, the fear, the sweat, the depression and most of all the thought that I would never write again. Yep, I've been there.

About this shot, I'm a writer not a photographer so when I see photos, I see words and stories. There's nothing wrong with this picture. When I look at the mechanic boy in those oil stained overalls, I wonder what his story is. I wonder what he looks like when all the dirt and oil has been washed away. I looked at the background scenery and I see a halfway house between progress and deprivation. I know I'm waxing lyrical so I'll stop. Bottom line; I like the pic. Well done!
  • Sope jimo
  • 7 Feb 2006, 13:51
Its a hard knock life.....No words, just thoughts
  • Tosin
  • 7 Feb 2006, 14:22
Sorry to stress this point again, but I thought this was Jide’s space to express himself. I love the way Folake broke the ice by asking the question "If you dont mind me asking,Jide why do you think its one of your best ever?".

The question i have for you, readers- Why do you come to this site? Is it to the be a critic, to understand what Jide's inspiration is, to be or not to be moved by his pics, to influence his decisions on what kind of shots he takes and displays?
  • Ayo
  • 7 Feb 2006, 14:34
I really like this; can't help but notice the "on edge" expressions and posture of the subjects, a typical "gidi" stance.
  • Ayo
  • 7 Feb 2006, 14:44
Really sorry 'bout the pictures, I've got some of your niaja stuff archived though and will be willing to negotiate terms smile
  • Sele
  • 7 Feb 2006, 15:28
Jide's words: Please I'd really be interested in what you have to say about it.

He's expressing through his photos; we in turn express OUR opinions from a certain perspective that may or may not be in line with the artist's. As long as it's constructive, should it matter which way the opinion swings?

Sharing our different opinions (including the artist's), allows me personally to percieve the subject in a variety of ways by the end of the day - and, more often than not, appreciate it more!
  • Tosin
  • 7 Feb 2006, 15:50
I agree with you sele.
  • mr skee
  • 7 Feb 2006, 16:15
continuing to
1. agree just not to disagree!
2. To remain sane in an insane world
3. somebody help me here;-)

Ok skee is getting serious on this one! Gloves off!
A picture, I feel it has to convey a sense of emotional content to, as one would say " Have a voice", it is not always that a photograph will have it's photographer at arms reach to "explain", what it is about. Frankly speaking, if I have to guess and guess and spend to much time asking myself "why" a picture was taken and what it conveys... then it sadly has missed it's mark!

Artistically speaking, the elements that basically make up an interesting compostion, do not seem to exist in this picture in this format, anyway!....if they do....pls someone please tell me what they are.

I do think that as a practising artist/photographer, we do benefit from positve criticism and it has always pleased me that Jide has opened his arms wide for such...and as a result his work has improved at a rapid place.
  • Duane Bong
  • 7 Feb 2006, 16:19
I'm glad that you didn't lose this shot when your photos got deleted. It rocks!
  • Ade
  • 7 Feb 2006, 16:34
WOW u lot are really going at it today. I come to Jide's site to be inspired, to offer positive feedback and critic his work. He does the same for me and so does Skee and eveyone else (which I am thankful for). I have to agree with Oga Skee, sometimes we try and convey meanings (or tell a story) in our photographs, and sometimes we are so set on everybody getting what we see. I aspire to develop great photography that will need no caption or explanation, but people will be moved by it. The photography won't be around to explain what he is trying to say, the picture should speak for itself. Everybodys eye is different so we will interpret it differently.
Now to the shot, I can imagine seeing all naija shots without any captions or explanation, that said this is not one of your best (IMHO). Its a good shot but not the best. Its an interesting shot though.
  • Ade
  • 7 Feb 2006, 16:36
Do you know I think the shot might have been stronger if you had only person instead of two
  • Sele
  • 7 Feb 2006, 18:53
I could go on about the above comments but what's the point... it would probably only blur the point more...

Jide dunno if u got what I was tryin to say, cos it would appear that Skee and Ade didnt quite!

btw, i'd like ur take on this... (whilst u are interested to know what we have to say, i wish to 'hear' ur 'voice' as well!)

Subjectivity is a strong element of art in general right?
For instance take literature... if a poem has only one interpretation, then we would not debate on it right? what was poet referring to? what do i myself think of it? etc...
so then why must a photo NECESSARILY speak for itself? where would be the fun in that, if that was always the case? - that's really my only criticism of remi's and ade's comments.

I said earlier that it didnt do much for me - which is the case (but really my opinion only)... remi in particular seems to feel that if it doesnt fit a certain mould then its not right!!!!

anyways, lemme control my verbal diarrhoea, and sign off here...

lemme know what u think! i guess that goes for madam as well, as u 2 are 1. smile
Guys try this
put ure index finger of ure right hand horizontally infront of ure screen blocking out the young boy in the picture, then kind of imagine he's not there.

Now imagine that you only have the small girl in the picture... you see a different composition... smile

For this composition to have worked I guess you shot about 5 seconds to slow as the girl and the boy should have been much closer.


Maybe waited till a third person appeared on the scene! Even a chicken would have made a difference.

Jide... did u burn the shadows n the girl's face...and headscarf? cos they look un naturally dark! She seems to have mumps!
Opps I meant "Vertically" sorry!
Mr Skee: I did no burning the girls face, that's how she looks.

Ade: I regard this shot as one of my best because of the situation I was in taking it.
To everyone: As usual it's always nice to hear your opinions however on this one I think it's important that the opinions are yours and not somebody elses. The shot may look rubbish to some for their own personal reasons to some others it looks fantastic, however there is no right or wrong type of shot and I don't think there is a right way a shot should look before it's a good shot. To that end I'll draw this discussion to a close. I personally enjoyed your comments both publicly and privately. I think what I will do next time is to give some more information or background on my shots from now on to give them some more colour.

Thanks again.
  • Suby
  • 7 Feb 2006, 22:31
Mr Skee, could not have put it down any better. Why do I/we put my/our pictures up for people to see and pass comments, critics?

We crave adoration of the shots we take, we are so proud of them we want to see what the world thinks of them. I/we do not expect every one to like our images, we just want them to be appreciated by most.

Tosin, it is an opportunity for the artist to express themselves, however we should not always expect our expressiveness to always be appreciated.

So people keep expressing yourselves, in whatever form or way as long it helps in the developement of the individual who is being expressed to.

Constructive criticism rule.

"Ars longa, vita brevis"
  • Anonymous
  • 7 Feb 2006, 23:44
Jide Alakija is the best photographer ever. He rocks men
  • Ernest
  • 8 Feb 2006, 20:02
I don't know what y'all are seeing oohhh. But I believe that the reason why Jide thinks it is his best picture ever is because he nearly lost his life after the shot. I believe that in the trouble he entered afterwards, he told God that if he escaped, he would claim the pic to be his best ever. Here you have it, he escaped with his life intact and now he tells everyone that it is his best pic ever.
  • deji
  • 11 Feb 2006, 02:19
lol. jide you've got guts thats all i can say. so far i haven't picked up the nerve to point a camera at strangers.... so this picture really does it for me. All the best and don't get into trouble!!
  • Femi Shabs
  • 12 Feb 2006, 04:09
Post-conversation: Jide, a visual artist's work is completely subject to individual interpretation - at the risk of stating the obvious. The most interesting images are the ones that don't immediately bludgeon you with their message...they don't allow you to be lazy, you actually have to think before you understand them. I looked at this for a few seconds before I started getting it. Plus, its provoked more reactions than most other images on the site...does that say something about it? smile

In response to one of the earlier comments about perhaps taking the people out of the image...the people ARE the image. Its not a random shot of two passersby, its an expression of their emotions at the time the shot was taken. They both look VERY resentful, as if they are asking Jide "what are you doing here? You don't belong here, you don't have to be here, you aren't stuck here like we are - you're just slumming". With the girl alone, it might have looked like she was just having a bad day - or more correctly, a worse day than usual. With her and the young man, there's a lot more impact, since its a shared spontaneous reaction.

Personally, I really like this one. These are the people whom it is easier for me to look through and not at,when I'm in Lagos. Looking at it,I wonder - what are they really thinking when they see people driving past in the comfort of their cocoons on wheels? Or when a clearly affluent stranger with a big camera takes their picture? Does the fact that they can't clearly verbalize their anger mean its not there?

The picture makes me think, and to me, that makes it better than any pretty images Jide has in his portfolio. Not to negate the value of those, but this is one of his better ones.

Ok, enough introspection - its time to sleep!
  • Femi Shabs
  • 12 Feb 2006, 04:11
And about the 'burning'...looks to me like shes just got a couple of agbalumo seeds in there! smile
Thanks Femi, just to add, this shot is about not 3 people but 3 people, the girl, the guy and the photographer. That's why I love this shot.
Thanks Femi, just to add, this shot is about not 2 people but 3 people, the girl, the guy and the photographer. That's why I love this shot.
Thanks Femi, just to add, this shot is about not 2 people but 3 people, the girl, the guy and the photographer. That's why I love this shot so much.
  • Suavo
  • 9 Mar 2006, 12:25
you've got an eye for the streets. Much love!

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