It’s been 8 years since I spent a summer in Nigeria, so I was a bit hesitant to make the trip. I had a couple projects I wanted to execute. ‘Something to do’ was not on that list
Every time people living overseas visit Nigeria, there’s a tendency to take pictures of people on the streets of Lagos. Pictures of hawkers, wheel barrow pushers and buses are some of the common ones you’d see.This time around, I just felt doing that would be typical and pointless. One fateful afternoon, stuck in traffic, I noticed a street hawker selling Calculators. I thought to myself, “on a hot day like today, why on earth would you be out selling calculators”. Then It dawned on me. He’d rather walk around in the hot sun cause there’s a possibility he might sell one calculator, than sit at home doing nothing. Though you could say he should choose some other, more profitable, product, at the end of the day, it’s Just Something to do. Ah!
From there, it was all about challenging myself to take portraits of locals in the area, craftsmen, sellers etc. I aimed to showcase a wide array of jobs people take on, regardless of how non-profitable it might seem. I always assumed that this would be easy, cause Nigerians are generally happy people. I was spectacularly wrong. Nigeria is in a state of paranoia at the moment. You point a camera at anyone without permission, and you just might get attacked. I didn’t get attacked, but I was reported by a mallam whom I thought was just ‘unlooking’. Some portraits were easier than others because my parents are frequent customers of these traders. Some took a lot of convincing, like the tailor.
All in all it was an experience I was/am thankful for. Getting out of my comfort zone, and convincing strangers to have their picture taken is not something I thought I was capable of.
'Something to do' speaks to the character of the citizens. With an almost non existent middle class, it could be so easy to look to crime as a resolve. But these people, and others out there choose to use their hands to make an honest living, no matter how little the income might be.
Carrie Mae Weems: The Kitchen Table Series (1990)
*for the other kind of valentines day
Women are sharing their comebacks to instances of everyday sexism
and it’s amazing
but wait there’s more
omg and then
Happy International Literacy Day! Today we celebrate reading, books, and the positive impact a literate society can have on sustainable development. Check out photographs of ZODML staff and library patrons sharing why they read on our Facebook page.
New Edition - “Something About You”
That mid-90s flow.
"What’s your biggest goal in life?"
"I haven’t figured that out yet."
(Juba, South Sudan)
Denzel stars new cover Spanish Esquire
"The only reason we don’t open our hearts and minds to other people is that they trigger confusion in us that we don’t feel brave enough or sane enough to deal with. To the degree that we look clearly and compassionately at ourselves, we feel confident and fearless about looking into someone else’s eyes."
Pema Chodron (via heyfranhey)
"A man should hear a little music, read a little poetry, and see a fine picture every day of his life, in order that worldly cares may not obliterate the sense of the beautiful which God has implanted in the human soul."
Goethe (via arzitekt)
Collective punishment, in which the entire population of the enemy country is targeted, so that an old man in a wheelchair and a kid reading a book in bed are in as much danger as a tank, is a vile impulse, and though it is now regarded as a violation of the laws of war and the Geneva Conventions, it has continued to be practiced long after Dresden and Hiroshima.
Taking into account unintended consequences is not regarded as a necessary component of strategic thinking in Washington. No wonder our grand project to remake the world in our own image, shape the future, and determine the outcome of history has proved to be as much of a flop as the world revolution the old commies were preaching.
“Collateral damage” is what somebody’s grandparents with their heads blown off are called today.
Of course, this is not generally how we talk about things. We practice what Ted Snider in a recent blog post called “a doctrine of historical creationism,” an interpretation of current events that is manipulated by selecting a convenient starting point for them—one that leaves out prior events and the larger setting in which they are unfolding.
There’s an authoritarian strain to this need to restrict historical precedent and turn serious issues into comic book narratives. We encounter it both in political commentary on Russia, Ukraine, Gaza, and Iran and in the way domestic issues are discussed. For people with long memories, this is not just infuriating but also terrifying."
From 'Portable Hell' by Charles Simic for the New York Review of Books blog.