Sometimes when I browse the net and the papers, all I see about Nollywood is mainly pictures and tidbits of the celebrity life. It is either one person’s marriage is crashing or another person is changing religion. We get bombarded with pictures of what they wore on the red carpet, to the supermarket and to ‘snap picture’ to upload on Instagram. A lot of it is speculation, rehashed information and sometimes, just plain gossip. But who am I to complain as all the other ‘hoods’ have their own share of paparazzi driven news? So today, I decided to give my own take on Nollywood celebrities.
At the Nollywood at 20 celebrity glam night dinner, I decided to put my pen temporarily aside and get behind the lens. While I was all dressed up for the part(even if I may say so myself), I wore shoes comfortable enough to allow me to move around and get good pictures. Before I go any further, let me just say that photography is not as easy as it seems and I can now see why professionals like T.Y. Bello and Kelechi Amadi-Obi are smiling to the bank. So, if there is any parent out there and your child says they want to become photographers, please don’t despair instead encourage them. It is not just about pressing buttons; photography in itself is a craft that must be mastered to achieve great and beautiful results.
Anyway, back to my story. In between taking on the spot lessons from my friend – seasoned photojournalist with The Guardian newspaper, Charles Okolo and snapping away at celebrities walking past, I noticed that some celebs are better at handling the pappz than others. One famous light skinned actress in particular posed for like two seconds and announced it was enough and just walked away. I was like wow! A lady photographer with me was not impressed to say the least. For me the feeling was more of surprise and a bit of shock. For one who is in the public relations trade, actors and actresses cannot afford not to understand the power of the media. It is the same press that brought you to the limelight that will eventually remove you or make your stay so miserable that you leave the limelight yourself. Just think about it for a second, if people are not reading about you constantly, they will be reading about somebody else and over time, they would forget you for ‘somebody else’. That is why publicists exist in the first place – to put you out there in the public which if done right, can do great things for your career.
I continued the rest of the evening taking pictures and eventually settling down to enjoy the event. Luckily, most of the people I encountered were actually happy to have their pictures taken and even posed for me. Some wanted you to take permission while others just continued carrying on like you were not even there. One of the most memorable feelings of the night was when I joined all the other photographers in taking a picture of the Tourism Minister, Chief Edem Duke. It made me feel like I was a real photographer, who says I’m not?
I’ll conclude on this note, people need to respect each other whether you’re a celebrity or a press man. At the end of the day, both of you are just doing your jobs, so please be professional about it. If you don’t like your pictures being taken, please say so nicely or better still, stay in your house and don’t even bother coming out. Paparazzi too, please don’t harass them and beg – they too are human.
The Nollywood Review is a weekly column by Isabella Akinseye published in Saturday Newswatch newspaper.