Category Archives: Just a Thought

Expect the Unexpected, you will appreciate it. (Part III)

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This is the last of my post for the series and I have to end it with the Hurricane Sandy. The storm is certainly nothing close as glamorous as the other two, but is something that I certainly did not expect. I was upset when Hurricane Irene delayed my flight to my beloved Trinidad and Tobago for a week last year, but never expected that the east coast will be affected with another Hurricane storm. Especially at the level of impact the storm has left the Tri-State area. I admit that the belief of a super storm like Sandy was ridiculed (hence the Sandy meme jokes and Twitter) until the storm’s wrath was no laughing matter. The twitter account I find funny at first became deleted after the storm was over. I lost power at my place for over a week. I have missed a day of work and came back to work half a day later. Not to mention, the overwhelming crowds of people lining up Port Authority was unspeakably unbearable. I never expect to have the police direct how I will go home or the lack of wifi hotspots in New York City for someone who loves her technology.But for one thing, the storm has brought interesting attributes out of people. I have heard stories of people with generators sharing some of the power to next door neighbors, I have met interesting  people in the city that made my time more valuable. Instead of Facebook, instead of wifi, instead of internet, I was able to talk to many people first hand. Lastly, I found how less hectic it was when a huge percentage of electricity was shut down. I find it serene when the bus rides home have less flashing lights, piercing through the windows. It felt kinda cool when a whole town has a common bedtime of some sort.  I have seen different classes, race, and creed of people I hardly see on the bus to interact with each other. Most importantly, no one in my family was injured from the storm, nor the people I am close to. I expected many things this year, some of my expectations were beyond unexpected. Talk to you soon!

Thrift Store Dreams

Yesterday I had the pleasure of going to Elizabeth, New Jersey with my friend to Unique Thrift Store. I believe that this is the first time I went to a thrift store, but I can be wrong. Since I have fashion week photo shoots coming up this week, my friend thought it would be vital to get new clothes to fit my athletic body type. I learned so much more about going to thrift stores, I think this would be the primary source of where I would purchase my clothes from. You never know when you find amazing clothes to fit your body type. I was actually super lucky that my first experience in a New Jersey Thrift store was awesome. Personally, I was dying to purchase white pants as well as a blue blazer, yet I bought these yesterday. Best of all, 50% from its original cheap price. I never expected to buy a blue blazer for $2.50 nor white pants for $5.00. I got the 50% discount because it was labor day weekend. To get a bag of clothes for $32.50, including a 90s complete guide to photography was perhaps the best deal I got all year. The book may be quite outdated, but totally worth a look. I will write more about Unique Thrift Store in my future blogs, once I go there often. I ended my shopping spree with Chinese food. Curry chicken is perhaps the healthiest outside food choice I made for myself. $5.15 may not be a deal compared to my white pants, but overall I saved more money and then some. My advice:

1) Do not be afraid to buy clothes from Thrift Stores.

2) There is always  healthier food options in regards to outside food.

3) Have a friend to go with you, whether its for fashion or food.

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When Roots Reconnect

Yesterday, I went to the Bronx with a good friend of mine to a Nigerian fundraiser event. It was the first time I attended an Nigerian gathering since freshman year of college. It may be last minute, but it was refreshing to attend native cultural events. Quick educational fact: Nigeria currently has 36 states, however unlike the United States, Nigerian states are based from the original three states, Northern region, Western Region, and Eastern Region. Each region is dominated by a major ethnic tribe (Hausa, Yoruba, and Igbo respectively.) The fundraiser event I attended had majority of guests from Akwa Ibom, a state ethically similar to Imo State (this is the state my family comes from) We were warmly greeted with traditional dance and an abundant amount of delicious Nigerian food. Although this is nothing new to me, my good friend was quite overwhelmed because this was her first Nigerian event. It was the first time she wore a traditional women’s head-wrap to fit in the crowd, ate some of the finest Nigerian cuisine (I briefly taught her how to eat Ogbono Soup with Farina), and learned some Nigerian lingo, customs, and mannerisms. My friend’s friend, her husband, and myself dubbed her as “Honorary Nigerian”. Unfortunately, I forgot the battery to take pictures of the event, but I am actually glad I experienced an event for once in a while. There is so much to Nigeria I would love to experience and embrace often again, yet so much of Nigeria I need to learn more about. I’m making Ogbono soup in NYC one day for my friends and they better love it.

The Humanity of Technology

I wish I wrote this yesterday, but sadly I did not have a clue of how to write such a post at first. Sorry folks, I am quite new at this blog business! I am shooting to write everyday starting soon (maybe today?) Different from talking about my usual posts on photography/videography, I had quite an interesting day with technology because its transformation within the ten years is remarkable. DSLR cameras that can shoot video, touch screen multimedia devices, and social media are some of the examples of  today’s technology that makes life easier. However, does it truly makes things easier? Yes and no. With new technologies, going to school and buying things online may makes our lives easier, but what happens when the internet at home goes out,  computers with viruses, or dead cell phones? Most likely, it feels like the end of the world. Yesterday was one of those days. I went New York via train and made strong photography plans over the next few days through the course of a cell phone call. I spent 5 hours at the Sony Electronic store in Madison Plaza because of my fascination of emerging and innovative Sony products. I admit, I am a nerd, mainly for gadgets.

I would often go to cnet.com to compare products to get a sense of the latest and greatest stuff to buy. Going back to the negative side, my train coming back from New York was hectic. The power went off and I spent the next hour “playing music chairs” by going in and out of cable cars. I did however met some lovely people to make the wait less stressful. Finally, I deleted pics off my SD card that left my good friend temporarily distraught. I initially deleted them because they were blurry pics of Coco Breezy and herself. Luckily for me, I found an online program that allowed me to find deleted files from the card and revive it. Her mood immediately switch back to normal and cheerful. Overall, I guess all of this represent something; humans are also technology. We constantly make mistakes. We constantly do jobs to make the lives of others easier, and we are programmed a certain way to complete as many completed tasks as possible. If I was a gadget, I would be some sort of tablet. Just a thought. See you soon.

Once in a Lifetime: 11 years after Aaliyah’s Passing

I was 11 years old when I watched 106 AND Park and learned about Aaliyah’s death. At first, I was not familiar with her name, but when they played her hit songs such as “Are you that somebody” or “If Your Girl Only Knew”, I became completely shattered. She was so beautiful, had catchy songs, and she was not as aggressive/bitchy as other artists. Aaliyah was one of the few artists that first came to mind that inspired me throughout my childhood. Aaliyah would wear the most subtle clothing and had one of the most humble personalities, yet still can convince you to fall in love with her. Her smooth, buttery voice is automatically recoginable and timeless. Timbaland and Missy Elliott producing her soundtracks also made Aaliyah quite the trademark. Yet, 11 years into the future today, I am currently the same age as her death. She died at the age of 22 years. Sold millions of albums, was in 2 movies, toured all over the world, had a 4.0 GPA from her high school, and she did all of this before she died at 22 years old.

She is the inspiration of many, including Drake, all under the age of 22. I have to keep saying that number because as much we look at music and singers today, she is way ahead of her time. Her music was unmatched, she was going into so many amazing opportunities at the time. Hell, even landed roles at the Matrix trilogy. I can go on and on about what Aaliyah has done in the small amount of time she had, but I had to write a post in dedication to her memory. I’m not sure if I would write another post to her memory, perhaps I will. Regardless, I am still haunted by her death up to this very day. Every other day, at least once, I would think about Aaliyah. I also acknowledged how heavily she  influenced my career as a videographer/photographer. I often shot with wide and medium shots, similar to many of her music videos.  I may not done as much today as Aaliyah did when she was 22, but I know that she is always someone my work will be influenced by. Aaliyah, you are truly one in a million. No words can express how much you are truly an amazing individual. Rest in Peace, Aaliyah. “There will never be a day you will be forgotten, you are forever missed” -Missy Elliott

Worth the fight, worth the struggle.

 

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Haven’t wrote a blog for a few days now, so I rather reflect on things close to home than report on some events I have in store for August. While I am thrilled to get press for New York Fashion Week, Couture Fashion Week, Afro Punk, and American Basketball Association launch, I still have a ultra long way to go before I actually get there. I often hyperventilate on little things that questions both  my photography/videography skills. Photographers, ever been told that you have amazing photography, but mentally you are not yet satisfied of your current level? Are you only doing wedding photography because you are very good in this section of photography, but deep down someday you always wanted to do fashion photography? That, you want to breathe the same air as models who traveled to Paris, London, and Tokyo? You want to surround yourself with people that only talk about Coco Channel, Audrey Hepburn, and Twiggy, but I am quite sure that your yearnings for these conversations are deemed unfit for the most important day of someone’s life. I am very familiar with Event photography, but I hope to someday do Action, Fashion, and Photojournalism. I see myself practicing Martial Arts such as Muay Thai and Shotokan Karate (or Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu) as well as both re-speaking Japanese and learning Portuguese to go to both Brazil and Japan.

However, being buried in extensive college loans heavily drown my thoughts constantly. Not to mention, 2012 is perhaps the most difficult year I have ever experience. The pain of getting robbed twice in a year, getting my heart kicked the shit around all my last college semester, a sick grandmother, and hyperventilating that not having a full time job and following a photographer(s) who specializes in Action, Fashion, Photojournalism is quite a mind- fuck. That is not even all in my bucket list that 2012 is quite difficult for me. However, giving up isn’t something I hardly do. And you should not either.  The women in my family (excluding my sisters) are perhaps the most bulletproof people I know. To have a Nigerian-born mom working 16 hours workdays at least 6 days a week and still have time to raise and advise seven children is absolutely amazing. My grandmother is a step  above my mom, who also raised seven kids during the Biafran war. God knows how much mentally she went through since most people experienced the war like Biafra often go mentally ill. My grandma is the sweetest old lady I know. Her smile often makes you forget about the horrors, whether her horrors or yours. In fact, writing this post at this moment shows how lucky I am, to be fully alive, have a place to stay at home, and a camera to continue being a photographer, and hopefully the photographer I want to be.

My Lovely Friends

I hate it when I would post more than once in a day just so the next day I often won’t post anything. Today is one of those angst days where my expectation for the day was not achievable. However, I wanted to actually wanted to share the appreciation of the friends that actually made my life more cherishable. I admit, there are things about me that I do not share in public, but if you were one of my close friends you already know all there is to me. I was never the popular or outspoken kids in school, I’m exactly the opposite. I was picked on for a majority of my life and ironically I am doing much better than any of those jerks. I can always brag how every time I confront them in person today after years of torment, you can see their perception of me changed. I have a college degree and traveled to many places and they never even considered college. Long story short, I am doing much better than them and the tables has turned, but I actually forgave them. I won’t forget their actions, but I have become a stronger person because I dealt with their jeers for years. However, I am a stronger person today because of my friends since High School. I won’t name names, but hopefully they know who they are.

I am grateful for the my high school friends who fixed my first guitar from scratch, sat with me to figure out which college I should attend, edited my essays, always looked out for me, gave me first dibs to read stories before anyone else, forcing me to ride Nitro twice in a row, and had so many referrals of solutions to my problems. I am grateful for my college friends who helped me rejuvenate my African awareness, helped me to focus studying when my ADHD acts up sometimes, taught me to be a somewhat better dancer, endless conversations at my room, memorable ladies night out in Hartford, and random fun things to do at night (Blowing a South African Vuvuzuela at the middle of the night), comfort me when someone close to me passed away (especially the risk of getting pushed by me, considering her fragile size), good home-cooked food when I was saving 90%-95% of my summer earnings on my Canon 60D camera with 18-135mm lenses and other accessories. It was really hard to go work without breakfast at times. I did not forget my Trinidad and Tobago friends. You guys are the window to my world too! I can stress the endless amount of fun I had. I never forget the fun days at the beach, taking me out to video shoots, eating doubles with me, helping me with my groceries (some groceries more important than others), helping me throw the best curfew parties Milner Hall ever had, taught me how to enjoy life when I am always uptight, and countless advice to in obtaining better videography and photography. Without all of you guys, my life would totally suck and perhaps will not at all complete! I love you all!

 

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Love,

Chioma

P.S. Trinidad was the place where I discovered my photography skills last year, please check out my pics I took of the country (especially my friends who never saw my work before):

http://chiomaozuzu.smugmug.com/Travel/My-Top-Pictures-of-Trinidad/21713561_LhHsc8#!i=1731391849&k=HZ7nRdZ

P.S.S. I also want to thank the friends I made in Los Angeles, California as well. I didn’t want all of the lovely words I said about my high school and college friends to get jumbled up in paragraphs. Thanks so much for all you have done for me in my time in Los Angeles. Movie times with a Kindle Fire, watching animations with me such as the Legend of Korra, helping me look my best when we go out, meeting Van Vicker and sending a pic/autograph to my mom, car trips to places in Cali  I needed to be, SEO training, videography tips, cooking amazing Cameroonian dishes to make my mom jealous and lastly dealing with all the times I am out of focus. I am really grateful for everything and hopefully I be back in the Cali scene, ASAP!

First Poll: Summer Olympics 2012 Thoughts

What You Want by Evanescence

I find that life after college graduation even for a few months is incredibly challenging, especially if you are majored in something that is not in demand. Its really a Health Care and IT/Computer Science-catered economy at the moment; leaving us Humanities and Social Science, Political Science, and Philosophers in trouble. Was it a mistake to major in what we did for the X thousands of dollars in debt we bury ourselves in for a piece of paper that shows our completion of our 4+ years in college? Unfortunately, I have no place in my post to answer this question for you, but I can show you from experience that if you are truly blessed with a skill, definitely nurture it to the best of your ability. It is also wise to do more courses that can help you make you stand out as an individual. I see myself different from other videographers and photographers because I tend to focus on different styles of photography with heavy emphasis on composition and color. I am signed to fly to Cameroon in October as a Still-Photographer/Production Assistant for a movie, yet seeing that I have not returned back to Mother Africa for more than a decade will not be easy. Nor figuring out how I am going to pay for my travel there, whether take out a loan or wait to see if I can get sponsors to assist me.

One of the hardest parts is dealing with the fact that I have not found a full-time job, despite the skills, uniqueness, and energy I have. I always do want to help out in so many ways (videography/photography), but without a full-time job or a strong payback from gigs (I will get to a point where I refuse to do free gigs, unless for important charities) I find myself worried of what jobs I go from there.The fact that as a Nigerian-American, I am limited to career choices my people wanted me to venture in. The old saying of: “If you don’t go to school to become a doctor, lawyer, nurse, you are screwed for life”  often perturb me, but I know eventually I will figure it out. I will be one of the best Nigerian-American photographers out there. In fact, one of the most unique. If I think of it as a competition, I will lose. Its all about doing the very best each day, learning, meeting people, and the works. If you read from my previous post, I have many things planned for myself for this month. For you my readers and for my self growth as a photographer/videographer, this blog will always have some insight of where I am in the world. One thing for certain, I won’t stop doing videos and photography. I won’t give up when the economy gets me down. When my family often discourages me to go back to school to be a stereotypical Nigerian doctor, I stand my ground. It’s finally time I do things for myself and hopefully this can encourage others to do the same. Let’s here it for life, we only live once so do all that it worth the fight.  This post is dedicated to a song I actually wanted to do some kind of short film or photo shoot, but I have to find the time to make better plans the shoot.

Here are sample lyrics to What You Want by Evanescence:

Do what you, what you want
If you have a dream for better
Do what you, what you want
’til you don’t want it anymore (remember who you really are)

Do what you, what you want
Your world’s closing in on you now (it isn’t over)
Stand and face the unknown (got to remember who you really are)

Every heart in my hands
Like a pale reflection

Hello, hello, remember me?
I’m everything you can’t control
Somewhere beyond the pain
There must be a way to believe
We can break through

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PS: I am not pale, LOL.

Link to Evanescence’s What You Want: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wVWazHTunSI

 

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The moment I graduated from college my mind is geared to finally doing what I want to do, video/photo work. Eventually, I get to web design and animation in the future, but one must start somewhere. I had the wonderful pleasure traveling to Los Angeles two days after I graduated from school. I went to work on Yefon the Movie in person with Sahndra Fon Dufe (the main lovely actress in film) and her lovely crew members (Can’t forget about Jon and Kevin). I originally planned to stay for two weeks, but because I never been in the West Coast, I ended up staying for a month. I was fortunate to work a PR company that got me access to nearly any Hollywood event I want. I was fortunate of getting a press pass to the Los Angeles Fashion Show and E3 Gaming Expo. These was huge networking events for me, especially as a college graduate. When I came back from Los Angeles, I also was invited to a few events, including an event at the Empire State Hotel and the National Black Theater for the launch of the UBC-TV. I was the Production Assistant for the network’s event. Although I did NOT like the fact that I did more bitch work that I bargained for, I was very glad to actually spend more of my time networking and meeting people that made the event a sucess versus dodging them and getting the best pictures for the night. I have talked to amazing people from all sorts of positions in the industry and hopefully I will hear from them in the near future.

Word of advice: You never know who you meet today, make each day counts.

Link to Yefon the Movie: yefonthemovie.com

Link to Empire State Hotel Event:

http://chiomaozuzu.smugmug.com/Events/EmpireHotel/24542676_5cfW5K