Thursday, 26 June 2014

2 Years after: Goldie’s exclusive photographer talks on secret of her life & death + How he became Celebrities No 1 Photographer ….Father is Ooni of Ife’s image maker


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Sunmisola Olorunnisola with his late Principal, Susan Harvey aka Goldie

If you meet Sunmisola Olorunnisola, you will think you are meeting a CNN war photo reporter with the kind of gadgets at his disposal which are mainly used to achieve one thing--Creative Photography. His second name is actually “Photography”. He eats, drinks and sneeze photography. But his brand of clients does not belong to the average class, Sunmisola whose father is the Director of Public Affairs, Palace of the Ooni of The Source---Ile-Ife, Chief Funmilola Olorunisola is the darling of several Nigerian movie and music celebrities who enjoy the creative dynamics of his works.
Among them are Nollywood stars like Fred Amata, Desmond Elliot, Genevive Nnaji; Ghanaian Televisions star Joselyn Dumas, Football star Ogenyi Onazi, rapper Eva, lategospel music star Kefee, Ovation Magazine publisher, Chief (Dr.) Dele Momodu and a host of others too numerous to mention. Sunmisola handles their pictures perfectly well and in most cases act the role of the director of “Portrait Photograph” for his numerous clients who are celebrities. He equally does it with uncommon zeal and a rare passion; to him, the name of the game is Celebrity/Fashion Photography. Sunmisola who is a 2012 graduate of Mass Communication, BOWEN University, Iwo, won the trophy of Most Enterprising Student in his graduating year. But for him, the best agent of Mass Communication is a good photograph which can say much of the personality than words. 
This whiz kid in his early twenties is unleashing his talent on the Nigerian entertainment industry. In the last one year, his exclusive and out-of-this-world brand of photographs have graced the cover of Ovation International magazine and other high class journals yet, Sunmisola is just starting his game.  For a year and few weeks, he was signed by late music star, Susan Harvey aka Goldie as her Official Photographer. They traveled together and did a lot of creative things together. Today, Sunmisola the Ijebu Jesha born Photographer who studied Mass Communication but chose to follow his passion---Photography is set to change the game of celebrity photography in Nigeria. In a rare display of journalistic innovation, your number one Celebrity encounter blog asabeafrika smoked Sunmisola out of his creative base couple of days ago and unleashed him to the world for the first time. Sunmisola who recently carried out an on-top-of-the Yatch photo shoot for star actress Monalisa Chinda was in a mood to talk to us as he opened up for the first time on his life, career, father , relationship with Goldie and other matters. It is one chat you will find very interesting. Enjoy the excerpts.
I communicate with my photography; I tell people what I feel. When I am sad, I take pictures and everybody can actually understand and relate my feelings with the photograph. And when it comes to celebrities’ pictures, I actually love taking portraits. I came to a particular point in my life that I believed that taking portraits for celebrities is going to add more value to my work. And that was the real tonic that drove me high into taking pictures for celebrities.”
My name is Sunmisola Olorunnisola
Sunmisola started by introducing his personality and job to asabeafrika “First and foremost, let me appreciate the honor. I count it as an honor for you to look for me and talk to me, precisely about my job. My name is Sunmisola Olorunnisola, I am simply a photographer. We have different areas in photography but I like to define myself as a fashion and celebrity photographer. I am a graduate of Mass Communications, BOWEN University”. 
Sunmisola Olorunnisola with Actress Monalisa Chinda during a boat cruise shoot in Lagos
Sunmisola Olorunnisola tells the story with Romance through lense
Me and Fashion/Celebrity Photography
We asked if photography had always been what Sunmi wanted to do or it was an accident of choice. His answer gave more revelation “I will say it is a combination of both circumstances. One, right from age nine to ten, I have always loved fashion. I love photography. And I equally love celebrities, back in the days, because of the kind of work my dad does (A television producer) we do see lots of celebrities on television and I would say ‘how I wish I can have a picture with this celebrity or that celebrity?’ and as time went on, I just discovered that I could reach a lot of them through my passion which is photography and I could also mix it with fashion also; so, I decided to narrow down my photography to fashion and celebrity. I major in celebrity photography, so I work with celebrities, fashion outfits and models as well”.
Sunmisola Olorunnisola with Ovation Publisher, Bashorun Dele Momodu
Sunmisola's photo lense got her sprouting on her bed
Photography according to Sunmisola Olorunnisola
 Apart from taking pictures of celebrities and their fashion sense, what again fascinates Sunmisola about Photography? “One, I believe photography is an art and I appreciate arts. I am an arts lover. And to some extent, fashion also is an art. So, when I see good fashion, when I see people putting on clothes, it turns me on. It spurs me with lots of visuals and if my camera is there, I will just love to take the picture and make something out of it. That is my passion; I am always pleasant with myself when I see celebrities putting on various kinds of outfits and making all sorts of fashion statements with it and for me, that is it! Because photography itself is a tool of information dissemination; photography is a strong tool you can use to pass a message; I am very aware of this because I am a communication student.  I studied mass communication in school and that makes me a mass communicator and the basic art of mass communication is to communicate. And that I have transferred to my own kind of photography. I communicate with my photography; I tell people what I feel. When I am sad, I take pictures and everybody can actually understand and relate my feelings with the photograph. And when it comes to celebrities’ pictures, I actually love taking portraits. I came to a particular point in my life that I believed that taking portraits for celebrities is going to add more value to my work. And that was the real tonic that drove me high into taking pictures for celebrities. I said to myself, ‘okay, why can’t you just be taking portraits for celebrities?’ and i bound myself with that passion and believe me, it has really worked for me because that is what has opened so many doors for me. I take pictures for celebrities and I feel fulfilled doing that”.
Sunmisola Olorunnisola with Star Actess Rachael Oniga during a location shot
Sunmisola Olorunnisola with best friend Folla Tella chatting up Celebrity Actress Clarion Chukwura Abiola during a photo shoot
 How Dad ignited my career
 We asked Sunmi to describe his father; Chief Funmilola Olorunnisola who is the Director of Public Affairs to the Palace of the Ooni of the Source (Ile-Ife) and what you hear from him confirms the kind of discipline he got from such an erudite media practitioner. Hear Sunmi on Funmi “One thing I will tell you about my father is that, he is a pathfinder. Without him, I don’t know where I will be now. I don’t even think I would have been able to discover my talent.  He has been a fundamental part of my success. A strong factor in my professional development; he always wants me to think and work. Moreover, he is my tutor when it comes to photography.  I actually fell in love with photography because then, my father will pick up a camera and take some pictures. He loves pictures and he always takes his own pictures and I derived joy, I derived passion and I derived the whole inspiration from him. And it got to a time he will just call on me and say “Hey, Sunmisola, come, take me this portrait. Just take me and give me this portrait shoot”, and then I was small and since then, I started developing interest in photography. So, he is like my tutor. And he once told me that if he wasn’t engaged with what he is doing now, he would have been a photographer; that photography has been a part of his dream and I thank God that I am helping him to achieve that dream now (Laughter). My father actually bought my first camera for me. And let me also tell you this; when I told him that I want to be a photographer, unlike every other parent who will scold, shout down and try to talk the child out of such decisions, my dad turned out to be different. Funny enough, my dad and my mum said ‘ok, if that is what you want, may God help you’ and they both gave their blessing. They jointly supported me in their own capacity and trust me; they have been a strong pillar of support for my career, making sure that I achieve whatever I desire in this field. Making sure that I find fulfillment in my chosen profession, I am actually grateful to God for giving me such a wonderful parent”.  
Sunmisola's legendary father, Chief Funmilola Olorunnisola

Dad by me
When we asked Sunmi to describe his dad in full details; a hot or a cold dad, he started like this “Let me tell you, my dad would spank me if I did the wrong thing. My dad will beat the hell out of me if I did the wrong thing; my dad will scold me if I did the wrong thing; my dad doesn’t take nonsense. No nonsense person, he doesn’t accept it. He is principled, in fact it got to a stage I was afraid of him and whenever they say ‘Daddy n bo o’ (Daddy is coming) I rush out of the place. But by and large, he is a level headed person who wants things to be done the right way. He strikes the balance, he is a good father and in my own opinion, the best father in the world. The only thing is don’t disappoint him. Don’t just disappoint him that is the law. And he is a very democratic father; he gives all his children the room to express themselves.  He gave us a large room to express ourselves and if it is good, it is good and if it is wrong, he gives you a second side of the coin and say ‘ok, why can’t you do it this way?’ and you realize that once you do it that way, you get result. A happy family, a happy father, so loved by his children and he always say to us that his best asset are his children. He will tell you that he is not working for anybody except us. He want to see us in a big place; he will tell us that where he is now, he wants us to carry it ten thousand times above him and that is what we are working at. That is our watch word now because we just want to make him proud”.  
Sunmisola's dad, Chief Funmilola Olorunnisola, Director of Public Affairs to the Ooni of Ife HRM, Okunade Sijuade
Dad, Ooni of Ife and I
 We asked if the fact that Sunmi’s Dad works with one of Africa’s most influential traditional ruler robs well on him and what he said is pinpointing “Well, one thing about my dad is that he cherishes his culture a lot. And I must tell you this, if you are his child, you must first understand the basis and basics of Yoruba as a culture and heritage. The history of Yoruba, my dad took passionate time to tell us about the history, culture, norms and philosophy of Yoruba. He does that from time to time. He will give us proverbs and ask us to interpret the proverbs; he is a passionate teacher in that regards and he takes time to train us all in that aspect. He always tells us the culture and he will say ‘this is what the culture says and you have to follow culture’. He always wanted us to be the pride of the Yoruba people which I think has robbed on me to a very large extent. I can conveniently tell you now that I am a proud Yoruba boy”.
Sunmisola with music icon, Bisade Ologunde aka Lagbaja
This is celebrity photo art by Sunmisola Olorunnisola
Dad, not an Ife man
 This blog thought since Sunmi’s dad works as the head of the Directorate of Public Affairs, Palace of the Ooni of Ile-Ife, he must be an Ife indigene but the whizkid changed our views “That is not correct, my mum is from Ile-Ife, and my dad is Ijebu-Jesha. You know there is this very famous jest people do, they will say “Ijebu o da, Ijesha O suwon (Ijebu is bad, Ijesha is equally not good), and somebody now tell you that he is Ijebu-Jesha, meaning that you have literarily joined the two bad items togther (Laughter). Anyway, that is a joke by the side, reality is always far from the joke but the opinion I want to correct is that people often think I am from Ile-Ife, no. I am from Ijebu-Jesha. I am proudly Ijebu-Jesha, providence only brought my dad to Ile-Ife to work and he got his brief with the number one of Ile-Ife, the Ooni of Ife, Oba Okunade Sijuade, the Olubuse II. We Ijebu Jesha people are very enterprising and industrious, we are the pride of Ijesha land”.
The artistic lenses of Sunmisola olorunnisola got this actress opening her bedroom to the world

Sunmisola with Actor Desmond Elliot during a Beach Photo shoot
Ijebu-Jesha and Stinginess
 We equally threw the gist to Sunmi to defend the general belief that people of his Ijebu-Jesha tribe are stingy and very crafty with money. The Celebrity photographer gave us a new perception “I am not stingy; my father is not stingy. The only thing about us is that we are focused; we want to succeed because success is a polygamist and failure an orphan. We want to make it and we want to make it well; my dad will always tell us to be proud of ourselves and be proud of our heritage. We should be proud of our heritage and we should be proud of our family.  That is the lot of the Ijebu-Jesha man. He is a man of enterprise and industry”.
The Celebrity Photographer, Sunmisola with Actress Bisi Ibidapo-Obe aka Omo-logba-logba
Sunmisola's illumination of an actor's fashion sense
Me and my siblings
 Sunmisola who is the second child and first son of his dad told us more about his humble family “Yes, my sister used to work with the Nigerian Embassy in Port-Novo (Benin Republic). She studied French but she later proceeded to England at the University of Buckingham where she did her Masters in Global Affairs. Her name is Tomilola. We are six of five boys and an only girl who happens to be my senior sister, Tomilola. After her, I am the next. I am the second born and the first boy. I have other brothers who are all doing great in various schools in the country”.  
A marvelous image costruction by Sunmisola Olorunnisola Photo
A splendid imagery by Sunmi's photo lense
Why I did Masscom
On what prompted him to study mass communications at BOWEN University, Sunmisola told asabeafrika more “Well, I love communication but like back then, I wanted to study theatre arts because I love directing. I love arts; I am just in love with arts. So, when I wanted to go in, the public universities were going through their normal instances of strikes and other wahala so I decided to opt for BOWEN University. I actually went to BOWEN only to discover that there was no theatre arts curriculum at BOWEN, there was only Mass Communications and I went for it.  They wanted to give me sociology but I said ‘no, I am more of a communication person’ because arts communicates and that helped me to go into mass communication because I think I have the flair, the love and passion for communication”. 
What I said on my valedictory night that stunned many
 We asked if Sunmisola went through a career counselor and he replied thus “Not really, you know as usual, my dad intervened. He was the major interventionist because I already knew what I wanted to do. I could remember when we were doing our valedictory service back in secondary school, there was an occasion when we were asked to stand up and tell the assembly what we wanted to be in the future.  And when the question was pushed to me, I stood up and told the assembly that I wanted to be a cinematographer and that really led to a lot of surprises on people’s faces. Everybody was like ‘Wao, what is cinematographer?’ and I said ‘they are people that handle cameras and produce films’. A combination of photography and videography, which leads to motion pictures (Not still pictures). I told them that is what I wanted to be and the whole assembly was surprised because everyone was saying I want to be a lawyer, a doctor, a banker and other white collar profession available on school curriculum. But I didn’t do that and it is because I love art, I love to direct, I like to shoot and it is nothing too far from what I am doing now”.

One of Sunmisola's Celebrity Portrait works
How I mastered Photography
 We asked if Sunmisola attended any photography institution after his university education and what he said stunned us “Funny enough, people that appreciate my work do walk up to me and say ‘Sunmisola, I love your pictures, where did you learn it from and how do I go about it?’ and I do tell them that funny enough, I have never attended any photography unit. Everything is just me; I developed myself by myself. I studied photography myself and I have never been to any place to study photography, I studied it myself. It is an inbuilt talent which I just developed by myself. I grew up taking pictures and loving it and it became a culture after some time. Today we have it as a career. So, it is an inborn talent that metamorphosed into a career”. 
Sunmisola with Star Actress Monalisa Chinda and her daughter
This sexy Actress demonstrates her sexy mood through Sunmisola's photo lense
My Pictures on Ovation Cover
So many of Sunmisola Olorunnisola’s pictures has graced cover of Ovation International Magazine owned by flamboyant publisher, Bashorun (Dr.) Dele Momodu who also grew a part of his life in the Ooni of Ife’s palace in Ile-Ife, how does the experience make Sunmi feel, seeing his works on the cover of a world class magazine “It all started in 2010 while I was doing my IT with Ovation International Magazine, which has been a very good platform for me personally. Then, I went on a photo shooting assignment with my photo editor to shoot the actress Genevive Nnaji, I was the co-director of the work and that turned out to be my first celebrity photo shoot. That was a popular one then as the picture made Ovation cover.  After that experience, I started doing photo shoots for the likes of Desmond Elliot, Monalisa Chinda, Susan Peters, Kaycee the Musician and several others. That was in 2010. Then, it became a tradition as I have done more since then. After the experience, I went back to school to round up my program, and when I graduated and returned in 2012, I came back to Lagos. The first photo shoot I did was for Big Brothers Africa Star, Uti Nwachukwu, it was fun, luxury and very interesting. I also did something with Joselyn Dumas, the Ghanaian television star, I did a photo shot for Ogeniyi Onaji, the footballer, I did Chika Ike the actor; I did Eva the Rapper, I did for Skuki, I did one for Splash the rapper. I did Fred Amata, the actor. I did a photo shoot for Koya Abiodun one of the leading Nigerian Opera singer in the United State of America. It was a huge project and many other top rated people in Nigeria and around the world. I am still counting but I can tell you that the industry is huge”.
Sunmisola the celebrity photographer with Star actress, Genevive Nnaji
Sunmisola Olorunnisola with Darey Art Alade
What the Experience with Celebrities does to me
“It is indeed a great experience; working with them is like you learning more and having a factor of varieties in terms of understanding the idiosyncrasies of many. You learn to handle each one’s taste according to their philosophies and peculiar habit. It is a learning voyage”. 
Sunmisola helps this actor illustrate himself in this portrait
Sunmisola got this celebrity panting under his lenses
Sunmi descibes a rapper in her element with his lense
(Watch out for Part 2: How I met and fell in love with Goldie; Read on this blog in 48 hours time.)

Gbenga Dan Asabe

Africa's Number One Celebrity Encounter Blog

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