Category Archives: Self-Awareness

She’s The Way Summit at Columbia

Hi guys,

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So sorry I haven’t posted in a while. Having been affected by Hurricane Sandy with a run down laptop has completely slowed down my blogging. And thus, I waited awhile to think about more things to write about. Thanks to Sony, I am able to obtain a Vaio laptop and other multimedia gear. So I am going to start with the latest photography experience I have. I attended the She’s The Way Summit at Columbia University this past weekend. She’s the Way Summit is a global movement promoting, mentoring, and educating young women of Africa, especially from marginalized and oppressed locations. I was really excited that it was a multitude of seminars and discussions about inspirational women of color tell their stories to other women of color in hopes that inspiration will follow. Not to mention that the event was sponsored by Dark and Lovely which provided amazing gift bags and hair makeovers to the women that participated. Among the events I attended this year, it was definitely something I am not used too (considering that I do more fashion and music events) but definitely gained a lot of contacts and self-awareness. I just have to fight harder to continue telling the stories of others through the power of film and photography.

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Fashion shoot in Times Square

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I have another fashion shoot update for this post which involves night photography. Again, this is the first time I got involved in a niche within photography for a clientele without prior experience. Not to mention, my time in teaching myself night photography is limited due to commuting to work. Thanks to YouTube videos, online photography posts such as Improve Photography (One of my favorite places to learn photography) and photographers I know, I discovered a nifty trick named Rear Sync, which delays your flash in order to get the background and foreground at the right settings. In the future, I will write more about camera tips and tricks which you, my readers will benefit from! My clientele for the fashion show was Sai Suman from India. She is a major Bollywood fashion designer who has done shows for Dubai Fashion Week and Couture Fashion week. I find that her work for someone in her youthful age is truly impressive. Initially, I thought I am doing photoshoot for Sai only, but little that I know that this is ACTUALLY A PHOTO SHOOT WITH MODELS!

Let’s recap this equation. Night Photography+Indian Fashion Designer+Real Models+Mid Level Camera equipment……..often have lukewarm to poor results, but for me, equals awesomeness. It was the first time I saw models getting ready for a actual shoot.They had an amazing makeup artist, hair stylist, and an assistant to work with Sai in a hotel room. Luckily for me, I have my partner from Bitter NYC to help me with my shoot maintenance and other things. With a few practice shots, the fashion shoot was ready to start. The tourists’ reaction of the models in Times Square was crazy. A lot of people want to pose with the models, asked if this will be featured in a magazine soon, who was the designer, and more. What was even more insane was the wardrobe changes in the changing room of a few clothing stores such as Hollister and inside a food shack. It felt like a Top Model moment. Best of all, the New York Police is known to stop shoots like this, but they actually joined in the fun and I took great pictures of them posing with the models. Overall, great people, great shoot, and most importantly, GREAT EXPERIENCE!

Some Updates and Goals

Hi everyone,

It’s been a little over a month since I last posted here. I have some amazing updates for you guys! First of all, although its not the biggest thing in the world for me, I am proud to say that I found a part-time job at Sony in New York City. I am very excited to learn about Sony since it gives me a chance to play with all the latest gadgets and gizmos. Second, I am selected to direct a documentary next year. I am confident that you guys will here alot more about it in the near future, since I love keeping things a mystery. For the next two posts, I am going to talk about my experience with NYCC/NYAF (New York Comic Con and Anime Festival)  and my first photoshoot in Times Square with an Indian Fashion Designer. Oh, and I finally got a credit card for the first time in my life! I have a clue of the many things I want to purchase and yes, paying those god-awful bills. More to come, finally.

First Fashion Shoot Client: Bitter NYC

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I have not updated this blog for a few days and I do apologize to my readers! I had such an overwhelming experience this whole week, namely due to New York Fashion Week and the fact that I am a new blogger showed…alot.Gah! I actually had my first ever photo shot with a company called Bitter NYC. My friends in NJ thought I was perfect because I am a killer event photographer and the original photographer bailed out last minute. Why do people assume photography is an all around thing? When I mean this was my first photoshoot, I really meant that I have no experience in fashion photography, lighting photo studios, and models….hot models. Oh, and the shoot was less than a week. I did not want to miss quite an opportunity, so I took the job and self-taught myself fashion photography. I spent the next few days learning about the external flash, strobes, reflectors, and how to position models through YouTube and PDF files I found online. Oh, yes and the convenience of owning a Google Nexus 7. The shoot was in Queens, New York.

I came in late as one of my friends escorted me to the door, informing me that the models were experienced and attractive. He was right! This covered the posing part significantly. I knew what camera settings to put when I arrived, but I find lighting the models the hardest due to the harsh shadows drowning out the white background for some of the pictures I took. I find it annoying, even though it not as bad as others I seen. I can’t burn myself out over my first photo-shoot. I actually gave some instructions to some of the models as well as played with amazing strobes that hopefully I will acquire someday. It made my Canon 60D camera more special. To have colorful beenie hats with edginess, color, and appeal to compliment the models, I can not go wrong. The shoot was the entire weekend and I left with amazing shots I hope to get again for future shoots.

Check out Bitter NYC at:

https://www.facebook.com/BITTERNYC

 

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.

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!

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

Plans for August 2012

 

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I glad that I have made it to Day 3 on writing this blog, since that was the number I stopped on my Blogger blog. Not to mention, I never enjoyed writing the blog in the first place because I rely on memory to write down past experiences. Having a brand new blog was on top on my bucket list for this month. Now that I am on my fifth post, I plan to write at least 3 times a week, at most everyday. Today was another goal accomplished (writing 3 times a week), as August is far from over for me. I still have quite a few things to do before I am ready for September to breeze by. So I am going to list my goals for this month and the steps I am doing t get there. Hopefully, this can encourage you to do the same. Having a to-do list as a blog can be both beneficial and encouraging. I share mines, for you guys go ahead and get your goals accomplished. Let’s get started!

Goal:

  1. Attend Afro-Punk Festival 2012 as Press Photographer in Brooklyn, NY on August 25-August 26- (I actually got approved as Press, but I have to work hard to get the pictures I wanted since I do not have the Photo Pass. Let’s see. )
  2. Meet some of the performers at Afro Punk- (My goal is to meet Straight Line Stitch, Janelle Monae, Eryakah Badu, and Purple Ferdinand.)
  3. Attend the Ooh La La Fashion in Long Beach this Saturday (Hopefully this will be a great show)
  4. Take another driving lesson from Alex this Saturday (I still do not have a driver’s license)
  5. Get some friends together and start shooting corporate, model, actor headshots, and create a sample music video. (Boy, do I have plans for this one!)
  6. Work with MUIPR and attend their New York Fashion Week event on September 6th. (They invited me)
  7. Work with Long Tran as their videographer/photographer for NYFW.  (I got accepted)
  8. Apply to at least 50 potential sponsors for Yefon the Movie (Money is not easy to get)
  9. Figure out how to go to Cameroon and at the same time make sure my potential employer is fine with me leaving for a month. (TBA)
  10. Have chiomaozuzu.com as my overall portfolio site. (Still working on it) 

More to come guys!

Check out chiomaozuzu.smugmug.com for more pictures!!!!

P.S. Just added….Your girl got Press for the 2012 Couture Fashion Show in New York City!

Where do I start?

Sometimes when we want to restart something, we try to make whatever we established into something better. When I first thought about re-doing a whole new blog, I wanted to salvage the 9 long posts from my blogger account. However, I find that the best thing for me to do is to start from where I am today and continue growing as a videographer and photographer. Where in photography should I focus more? I am great in composting my shots, but I am attracted to light exposure. I have been to Trinidad and Tobago, China, and Hollywood and now I seek to work and live in New York City, since I dreamed about working in the city for the longest. Before I can do that, I plan to go to Cameroon next month as a Lead Production Assistant and Still Photographer for Yefon the Movie. I have finally reconnected to amazing friends I have not seen since I left for college when I was 18. Surprisingly for me, I was welcomed with bright smiles and killer hugs. I may not be in Los Angeles at the moment, but I feel that for some reason, Cameroon is going to be quite an experience! Los Angeles can wait, I have special plans of how I am going to live in Cali. I know what are my future goals as time goes on, but college graduates like me have to start from somewhere, right? In my case, I just started what would appear, an interesting and challenging path to becoming someone note-worthy.

Please visit my website at: chiomaozuzu.smugmug.com