Tell us about your yourself- Hobbies, family and education.
Hello, Thanks for having me. My name is Oyeleke Emmanuel Seun, first of four children, Dad’s a fine artist, works extensively as a lecturer, mom’s a catering and hotel management professional. I’ve got the best family on earth. I love to travel, I love nature, I love people, I love cultures, I love colours and I love good music. Jazz, country and some pop. I must not leave out that I am a scrabble addict, I hold the title of National Collegiate Scrabble Champion in Nigeria (At the time of this interview) and I’ve won a couple of tournaments in Nigeria. I obtained my National Diploma in Computer Science from the Polytechnic, Ibadan, Nigeria and thereafter my First Degree in Computer and Information Science from Lead City University, Ibadan.
Other hobbies? I love cooking, I’m trying to get my painting skills back, singing in a choir and learning.
I started living my dream a couple of months ago when I joined a photography class (The Future Enterprise Support Scheme) put together by Red Nigeria and at that time chaplained by a young dynamic lady Ifeoma Areh. The class was the best I could hope for because we had so many established professionals as lecturers, people like Isaac Emokpae, Kelechi Amadi-Obi, Obi Somto Ikenna, Ade Plumptre and Body Lawson. I was my first real encounter with professional photography. I was so excited and fascinated by the amount of knowledge we gained and the exciting possibilities as a young photographer. After weeks of intensive exercises and lectures, I came out as part of the top three finalist which earned me my first interview on national TV. I was so engulfed by my passion, I quit my job a few weeks after and embarked on the mission is to deliver happiness to all I meet and in turn to myself through the joy and satisfaction my passion offers.
What was your first photography project?
My first photography project outside photography class was coverage of Google Plus Launch in Lagos Nigeria. The project was handed over to me by my mentor Isaac Emokpae who was unavailable for the job.
Was it successful?
It was a resounding success, it was a lively and interactive event, I even got a few recommendations from the event.
What lessons did you learn?
I learnt a lot from the event! Apart from the technical details, one lesson I learnt was, “Dress the way you want to be addressed”.
Why did you quit coding? or rather why do you prefer photography over programming?
I have not totally quit coding, I only quit commercial coding *Smiles* Well, I am a man of changing passions, while I love challenges, I know the kind of life I wanna live, I have an idea of what I wanna be doing in 40 years…and guess what? It is not coding *Laughs*.
Your biggest client, the project and were you happy with it?
The aim is to constantly deliver happiness, so far we are doing a good job! The biggest client? Just a portrait session, the client was overjoyed with the output. I was very happy too, not just because I did good, but because I had to work with third-party vendors for some deliverables and they surpassed expectations.
What do you think will help take your venture to a new level?
What has brought me thus far, God, hard work, excellence, and learning.
Some will find fulfilment in the confines of formal employment, some will not, some will explore their capabilities and push the limits, some will not. Bottomline is, not everyone is built to be an entrepreneur, but if you have a thing of value, a passion, a will to make a difference, then you should realise your purpose and make the best of it!
How do you balance family/personal life with business?
Tough! Tough! That’s a tough one. At the moment, it is kind of unbalanced. Work has a huge chunk of me. Forgive me if I’m wrong but I just think in the formative years/period of a startup, you tend to spend more time developing business relations, business ideas, strategies, links and systems to keep the business afloat. These tends to take a toll on relationships outside of business. Nevertheless, there should be checks and balances and you must not lose the connections that ultimately matter, family.
Are there professional photographers in your area?
Yes! A lot of good ones. I have also been able to develop healthy synergy with a few. I have also had the opportunity to work alongside professionals I look up to.
Which startups, or accelerators, or VCs etc in Nigeria interest you, why?
Startups? DuduPrintz Media Company because of their focused drive to acquire leading quality in their area of specialty. Accelerator or VCs, not that I know of so many, but I will like to mention that Co Creation Hub, Nigeria, FATE Foundation, AGDC (Afterschool Graduate Development Programme) and Tony Elumelu Foundation are doing a good job.
Is there something you feel ought to change?
Well, first, the orientation of our youths towards acquiring wealth as opposed to creating wealth, and secondly access to seed funding should be more readily available.
Which African country would pick on as a photography tourist?
I’ve had Kenya and Namibia in mind for a while, but I think I can make a trip to Kenya and Namibia at once.
Overall, 2012 was a great year! Came with so much experiences and gains in form of losses. It was a year of learning and also learning the hard way. 2012 taught me to take risks, it taught me that givers don’t lack, it taught me how to be good at what I do, It taught me to do it myself, taught me to work hard and taught me the reward of good work is more work, it taught me the power of synergy amongst many other lessons and above all, it taught me that God rocks!
What are you planning to do this 2013?
I am preparing for expansion, continued improvements, bigger business, more trips, and I plan to affect more lives positively.