Our newest member of the More Than Food team is Anjola Awosika, a food and drinks photographer from Lagos, Nigeria. Anjola is excited to share his story with us this month. Allow him to take you on his journey of persistence and see what motivated him to learn the skills to do what he loves.
I am thankful for the opportunity to take you on my professional food photography journey and I can assure you that you will discover some very interesting things about me. So, keep reading.
I began my career as a professional food photographer in August, 2018. Prior to that, I worked as a graduate-executive in various reputable marketing communications and PR agencies. These opportunities gave me the fundamental skills I needed to grow as an individual and professionally. I was also able to develop a network of friends who guided me through finding myself and my new career. These friends were my inspiration and motivators. They would say “Yes, go boy” and “Anjola, you’re the best. Keeping going.” to whatever I was doing at the time. I like to tell people that I transitioned into food photography because I was a food enthusiast who then became a food blogger, YouTuber and finally a food photographer.
When I was ten years old, my mum would make pancakes for me on weekends and my dad would buy my siblings and I ice-cream at our favorite confectionary shop. This was a tradition that continued till I got older and I could afford to treat myself to my choice of confectionery goodness. In high school, my favourite subject was food and nutrition, a food focused course that generally introduced me to the world of food. I took this course for the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) and passed with distinction. This gave me the validation I needed to pay more attention to my love for food. When I went to university, I developed my baking skills and started baking for my classmates. I would make cakes for their birthdays and in return get paid for my service. Baking gave me so much joy that I decided to start a baking business after school. That dream was shattered by the inability to fund my baking business. But life had other plans.
While I was trying to recover and navigate life, I got the idea to call my uncle and update him on my plans. I was already interning at the company where he was the MD. We had a meeting and I was offered a contract position. While I was there, I worked on various campaigns and attended client meetings to pitch ideas. But my love for food still had a way of finding me. One day, I decided to start a food blog and talk about my experience with pastries in Lagos at the time. It gained so much traction that pastry shops would send pastries to me in my office and I would write about them. My friends named me Pastry Boy. I was creating content on my blog consistently and I felt I needed to take it a step further. YouTube was my next move. Creating food related content on YouTube opened my eyes to more opportunities. It also gave me more courage to reach out to food businesses and bakers. This unintentional effort created a foundation for my business today.
As I navigated life, I felt like I needed to do more. I became thirsty for growth because I knew my dreams were bigger than blogging and YouTube. Early in year 2018, I was randomly sourcing food images on a stock website when I asked myself how these photos were taken. I Googled “Food Photography” and stumbled on a whole industry online. Joanie Simon from The Bite Shot had just begun her YouTube channel on Food Photography at the time so I stayed glued to it. I watched and downloaded all her videos so I could learn at my own pace. I fell in love with Joanie. I also followed her on Instagram and discovered more professional food photographers who were so helpful. I subscribed to more food photographers on YouTube, joined their email lists so I could get their free resources and followed them on Instagram for more tips and tricks. I consumed so much information on food photography. Food bloggers, bakers and restaurants began to reach out to me to photograph their dishes.
Since August 2018, I have been working as a food photographer in Lagos, Nigeria. I love what I do and it makes me happy. I have made connections that I thought would never be possible and I have the understanding that I’m on a journey to impacting my generation. Food unites the world and it’s amazing that I get to be an instrument of unity. Food photography is very new in Nigeria. I’m on a mission to help local food businesses to understand that they need to own their craft by having professional photographs that enhance brand positioning. I’m looking forward to doing more and growing significantly and am thankful to More Than Food Magazine for giving me the opportunity to tell my story.