Jide Alakija

11 Jul 2006 1,714 views
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photoblog image The Streets of Lagos #1
The Streets of Lagos #1|

The Streets of Lagos #1

The streets of Lagos is littled with scenes like this. Many young and old people playing soccer. This shot taken in the in the open square of the local areas city hall. One has to wonder if this is where some of our footballing stars plucked! Just looking at these kids you can almost see the next Jay Jay Okocha.

On the other hand they could just be playing this game because they can't afford the likes of Playstations and X-boxes. Don't call them poverty striken, this is their environment as they have come to know it and live in it. They are all eduacted people with at least Primary school level education. This is like the "Evergreen forest" very swampy, dirty and full of diseases but yet the animals like it and are naturally acustomed to it. It is their natural environment, we on the otherside seem to think otherwise. It's the same way we view the streets of a third world nation.

This shot clearly shows my views on the streets of Lagos, rather distorted where the action happens in the background and on the face of it is nothing by muddy water.

Discussion point: What's your view on the streets of Lagos? I grew up in a very sheltered environment and everytime I came out to these part I was always lead to feel that these people were either bullies, tormenters or common theives (area boys) with nothing better to do with thier time or just layabouts. I've not had very much of an opportunity to meet and speak to these people as I'm still overcoming that thought about them. I kind of now believe that my initial feelings are very false. I'll be very interested to hear what you think about the people of Lagos. Please don't call me snobbish, I'm just expressing what my feelings which should be corrected.

The crop was a deliberate in case you are wondering with these types of photos you tend to want to put your own creative slant on them. I think I have successfully portrayed a "Distorted view" on the situation.

comments (27)

  • deedee
  • United States
  • 11 Jul 2006, 01:06
now i'm home sick!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • Dotun
  • United States
  • 11 Jul 2006, 01:20
Jide this is a great shot. Great composition. Love the picture.

To your discussion point, this has been a topic of debate between my boyfriend and I for while now. The income gap is so wide that it seems like there are two parallel worlds existing in this city. However the irony is that, in Lagos, no matter how rich you are you're never insulated from the poverty. We can be chauffuered around town, build up high walls around our homes, even traverse the city via helicopter, poverty is still always there in your face. I always have a hard time with this whenever I visit- i find it so intimidating. I hope I don't sound too preachy or some kind of ajebota for that matter. The question is, is it possible to bridge this gap (socially at least) without feeling like a lamb to the slaughter? Don't know, for now I guess I'll keep looking on...
  • GeckoZ
  • Singapore
  • 11 Jul 2006, 03:18
Nice game of football. the slant enhanced the picture a lot. cool dude.
  • Laurie
  • United States
  • 11 Jul 2006, 04:04
Football (Soccer) is so hot right now. Great shot. I think the slant gives the shot more interest.
Oh wow, this is HOT!!!!!!!!!!!.........U've been blowing me away!!!!
from a journalistic point of view a great shot
  • Suby
  • Great Britain (UK)
  • 11 Jul 2006, 09:14
Lovely shot (yellow shhs mode Jide...)

Anyway, I lived in an equally sheltered environment when I lived back home and you would not catch me going to areas like these if you paid me. tongue

However I did eventually start venturing out to these area cause I really liked to watch how life unfolded in these area and to take picture (more than 11 years ago), I have to say I did venture out there with my heart in my mouth and usually trying not to p*ss myself with utter fear (did I miss to inform you me a bonafide coward?) As individuals, most of these people are actually very bright and lovely, dealing with the unfortunate circumstances life has dealt them, HOWEVER as a group/unit, one can only advise all to avoid them. tongue

For me, I do know Lagos may have changed, but because I really do not like any form or corruption in any guise, and know I will encounter this at almost every turn, I stay safe and snug where I am. Foolish? Hey it's all up to the individuals.
Jide Alakija: I think you've gotten the shMoods' confused. When I put yellow you can say what you want but I'd rather you focussed on the image bearing in mind the content and not about how I should have taken it. But I've given you license to say what you want this time.
  • MaryP
  • UK
  • 11 Jul 2006, 10:16
Like the photo but please put up my favourite soon - the three amigos - pretty please wink

I haven't been to Lagos so I couldn't comment on that but in other areas on Nigeria boys like this just used to come up and see us as we were travelling through. They used to just sit and stare at a group of oyimbo with a big Merc truck parked outside the embassy, sitting in a circle around a gas stove cooking brekkie/lunch/dinner. Often they'd ask to try the food but more often than not they wouldn't like it - too western! In Makurdi we set up camp and the entire village surrounded us in a circle just staring for about an hour as we put up our homes for the night, cooked and washed the dishes. Most people seemed scared of our dog that we'd rescued from a hole in Mauritania.

During long border crossing waits we all used to join in their football games. There were always demands for toys or sweets but never threatening behaviour. Most just seemed intrigued. They used to ask for the weirdest things, like my coloured biro or hairgrip. More often than not I'd give it away just for some respite but I drew the line at my shades as the piercing West African sun on whiteman's eyes is a killer!!
  • micki
  • United States
  • 11 Jul 2006, 11:28
Nice work and this is going to be a fascinating series.

I'd rather see the younger generation out playing physically than sitting in front of their video games any day...no matter what their educational or economic standings are.
  • david
  • England
  • 11 Jul 2006, 11:44
tremendous energy in this shot, and i love the skewed composition.
I've nothing to say about the people on the streets, but you shouldn't feel guilty about feeling wary; it's not as if you had any choice about the way you were raised.
  • Azhar
  • India
  • 11 Jul 2006, 11:45
  • Idefix
  • Germany
  • 11 Jul 2006, 13:09
Beautiful shot from a very interesting perspective, I like this a lot!
  • chantal
  • Netherlands
  • 11 Jul 2006, 13:21
great impression of the activity here.
  • Bayo
  • Great Britain (UK)
  • 11 Jul 2006, 14:30
Very interesting post Jide and one that's a little personal to me. My fam experienced both sides of the coin - from the sheltered upbringing to having to move to a less affluent side of town (Ijeshatedo) due to circumstances.

Your pic reminds me of playing football on the streets. There was definitely talent on those streets (a kid I played with called Kamilu was sick with a football) that would have surpassed the Zidanes of today if the right structures were in place.
  • Reza
  • United States
  • 11 Jul 2006, 15:26
Well, I dont know much about Lagos, but from this shot looks, it seems simmilar to where I was born and raised. The streets of Tehran, Iran, which is probably not as bad, but bad enough. We couldn't afford videos games, and the luxurries of life, but thinking back we were always conent. We didn't have a phone line or a phone, no car for my dad to drive to work...pretty much nothing other than house furnishings. It seems that the most fun time I had was playing footy into the night underneath the street lights and making paper airplains. OH, I did have a red girls bike, but it was red...and a girls bike.

The streets of Lagos from your photo seems rather....well..it doens't seem too bad. Maybe because what they are doing is exactly what I did in a simmilar environment, but in a different counrty.

I'm glad you brought this discussion point up Jide. Its making me think back to ol' days. Inshallah, when I go back to Iran I'll take some shots of my homeland, and maybe we can see the comparison.

Amazing shot btw, very nice.
Great shot, urban and gritty!
  • barbara
  • Great Britain (UK)
  • 11 Jul 2006, 17:11
I didn't actually grow up in Lagos and so my views may be rather distorted, based on fleeting visits and longer stays as an adult. My experiences there have always tended to be quite good and I don't say that purely from a cosseted view point. Lagos as a microcosm of Nigeria is one of those places where there is a lot of good and a lot of evil. It really is all extremes and it is surprising where you find acts of great kindness and generosity from people who have nothing, but then again others constantly on the make...but who are we to judge others if all they are doing is trying to survive the only way they can.
...oh and cool shot...as usual..
  • tetsu
  • Japan
  • 11 Jul 2006, 17:11
Wonderful street shot!!
Everybody in the world loves a game with ball!!
Lovely pic ..like the way u caught the guy just kicking the soccer ball.

Like it has always been said,Lagos is nobody's town or hometown.People from different backgrounds and even people from all over the world make up the city called lagos just like New york.I was born,schooled and lived all my life in Ibadan,just come to Lagos for hols once in a while and the only places we go to r all the posh places,but when I was my 3rd year in college I had a friend that was from Lagos Island as deep in Lagos island and he was actually a cool guy and u won't even know and he invited me to come with him to Lagos ...and abeg no abuse me o ..that was the first time I will enter public transportation out of Ibadan.I stayed in his house in Lagos Island and that was when I got to know a lot abt life.People that live the life over there r very fascinating people that when I was there all I do is just sit outside and watch people.It's as if they don't have any worries and they r just living life as it comes and enjoying it too.I was so amazed that I kept going back o.DO u know they don't even sleep over there.When I went to Brooklyn,it always remind me of Lagos Island.
The blog was afterall a nice one! Great work !!! Hope you may write good blogs in future too..

¤ Regards, vijaysomanath
¤ www.spaces.msn.com/vijaysomanath
¤ Copyright © 1999-2006 vijaysomanath. All rights reserved.
  • Nkx
  • United Kingdom
  • 11 Jul 2006, 19:01
Wonderful composition, great PJ work. I wanna be back home!

As a suburban american boy who essentially led a sheltered life and has since grown up I can identify with what you are saying. I still hit the door locks when I see what look like (I'll use your term) "area boys" when I am drivin around. I try to be less judgemental at first sight but it is very hard to overcome years of conditioning. The only to do it is to break the patterns. Not everyone is what they appear to be (some are) and I think that we just try our best to see the beauty in everyone regardless of the first impression. I think that is what we are trying to do when we take photo's of people on the street and what you have done with this photo, You have shown us the beauty behind the mud and grime.
Hi Jide,

I have been to Lagos a few years ago for work, it was my first time in Africa. I am a white man, I come from a small village in northern France, I travelled business class and I was booked in the best hotel in town on Victoria Island.

I say all this upfront because arriving and staying in Lagos for a week was the bigest culture shock I have ever had in my life, it has had a profound, lasting effect on the way I see myself and approach life in general.

Lagos challenges western (or westernised) conventions at a basic level. Nothing is normalised, formal, fixed or reliable yet the city still manages to grow and exist. It made me feel like western cites are 'digital' and Lagos is 'analog.

I found most of the people I interacted with in the streets of Lagos to be incredibly tough, hardened, agressive, in my face, probably because they thought I was a rich white man. Without a Kenyan friend with lots of experience to take me around I must say I would have probably holed myself up in the hotel and not come out. Thank goodness I had him.

During my time there I was shocked and amazed in equal mesure. I was appalled by the extreme poverty, I was amazed at the people's resillience and willingness to succeed no matter what. I was appalled by the squalor, I was amazed by the ingenuity of people in conducting their daily life. I was shocked by the history and the politics, I was amazed by Kuti, Sunny Ade, Soyinka and Okri.

Lagos is a city that deserves to be more widely known, its people discovered and talked about.

I now know how lucky I am, how I have to make the best of what I have, because so many dream to be exactly where I'm at.

Looking forward to your pictures.
  • blacktinkerbell
  • Nigeria
  • 12 Jul 2006, 10:57
After reading Vincent's comments, all my words fueled by passion for my City dried up. Thank you for saying it as it is. It's most parts ugly and some parts beautiful, but ah! how the beautiful makes up for the ugly.
  • BeakerSt
  • Shutterchance
  • 12 Jul 2006, 19:03
I like the unusual crop, it adds interest. smile
  • Jamey
  • Great Britain (UK)
  • 12 Jul 2006, 23:13
I quite like that, with the second level at the very top and the bus just in frame. The space at the fron't good, it almost looks like the dark water is creeping closer to the people very slowly.
Another view of Lagos streets can be found on this site - www.ceaser-web.com.

You will be amazed what good things can come out of Lagos..

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for this photo I'm in a any and all comments icon ShMood©
camera Canon EOS 10D
exposure mode
shutterspeed 1/250s
aperture f/7.1
sensitivity ISO200
focal length 20.0mm
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