I love this dude for many reasons, One; we are grew up in the same town, Ikorodu. Two; we worked together on the first online Magazine in Nigeria, ZAI MAG and three he is damn artistic and free spirited.
Lai is a professional Makeup artiste (attended Opral Benson’s Beauty Institute) and was trained in photography by renowned photographer TY Bello. After many years of working as Ty’s assistant, he decided to create his own path.
Lai has worked with both corporate organisations and various individual. He inspires to base on ‘Hip-hop Photography’. He is also a professional graffiti artist.
Meet another Future naija! Lai ‘Xi’ Makanjuola
HIP: How/ when did u start Photography?
LAI: Well, I trained in 2006; I didn’t really take it seriously till 2012, why? Maybe I was a bit distracted from other things I could do too. But no regrets I really got more experiences in other fields too.
HIP: What inspires you?
LAI: Well, God most definitely, then anything and everything that may come my way…
HIP: What have you achieved as a photographer?
LAI : Well, I have achieved basically understanding who I really am and stand for in this form of art. Money yes, but defining me is more important.
HIP: How many clients do you have on an average?
LAI : Well I got a number of clients I’ve worked with.
HIP: Have you ever been discouraged?
LAI: Getting discouraged is key, it shows u alive and learning, so yes a billion times I have been discouraged but it’s all about getting back up and going on.
HIP: How much do you make; averagely from photography?
LAI : Errrrrr……. Enough
HIP: What are the challenges you’re faced with?
LAI: Basically trying to be accepted for the kinda art i do. I see lots of pro photographers trying to be professional but I don’t see fun free flow of art. And since I do other forms of art too, my photography is far from professional and just me doing what I feel is art. I have faced some clients asking me if I can shoot like this or that person, my answer is always if you want that kinda work, go to him or her to get it done. It’s his or her art no one should copy it to make a living.
HIP: What motivates you to continue?
LAI: Passion, faith, fun.
HIP: What makes your works different from others?
LAI: Well, I prefer working with the character and emotions of the subject, not that much into technicalities of the job.
HIP: What other businesses do you do apart from photography?
LAI: For now I’m building a hip-hop art platform, I also co-run a tee-shirt line and do graffiti arts, for now just digital though. Yeah, I’m very passionate about t-shirt art too. then I’m eying video production and art directing too.
HIP: Where is your favourite place in Nigeria?
LAI: Errrrmmmm, well lots of places outside lagos, because it seems more peaceful out of this city… Abuja is cool, and then I have been to Calabar too… awesome place.
HIP: Describe and Average Nigerian Youth
LAI: Hmmmm, the Nigerian youth? Well there are lots to say, but I’d stick to the good side, we are go-getters and smart.
HIP: When you look at the future of Nigeria with you in it, what do you see?
LAI: Well, the future with me in it?…. hmmmm, ok I see a more simple urban arty nation, or at least a portion of it, with true hip hop arts and culture being seen with some positive light.
HIP: What do you wish to change in Nigeria?
LAI : The ‘plasticness’ of the Nigerian people… we should be proud of us and what we stand for. Create our own things and not copying what we see in the western world.
HIP: Are you are proud Nigerian?
LAI: yep, totally proud to be one, we the best people ever and we will always be. Yeah we got some setbacks, but we will scale through it someday.
HIP: Describe you in a sentence.
ZAI: Simple … hehehe, that’s one word.
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