The Photographer – Mykelbankz Story

“I started photography as a business because I wanted to support my mum. She is a single mother, responsible for my younger sister and I, and I saw this as a way to relieve her of some of the financial burden for my upkeep while I was in school.

“I had always wanted an outlet to express myself. I tried art, but wasn’t good at it. I also tried music, but nothing came out of that either. It was my mum who suggested I learn photography, but I resisted the idea at first, because I’m extremely shy. In retrospect, even before learning photography, my friends and schoolmates always handed me their phones to take pictures because I always got the best shots. They even called me “Photographer”.

“I wasn’t thinking of starting or building a business when I went to learn. In my third year at university, there was a lecturers’ strike that lasted for 6 months, and during that time I took the opportunity to learn photography. When school resumed, I started taking pictures as a hobby, but at a point I realized I could use it as a source of personal income for my upkeep. I couldn’t afford a camera at first, but I met someone, a videographer, who graciously gave me free access to his camera, in return for which I covered wedding photography contracts for him. But our relationship soon grew past being transactional, to the point where I kept the camera permanently, and even when others needed to rent it from him, he would ask me first if it was available. This was how I managed the first 3 years of my photography. It made me realise that people, and resourcefulness, are far more important than money.

“The thought of my mum and my sister have kept me going over the years, I can’t afford to see them in lack. I think about my future family too, I don’t want to wait until I’m married, and have kids before I start planning for them, so I’m laying a strong foundation now. I also want to leave a legacy, to be known for something.

“I’ve grown through my mistakes. You only really fail when you give up. I’ve learnt too, that the most important key to growth and success is consistency. Just keep showing up in people’s faces, even when they don’t think they need you. Eventually, you will get noticed.

“Last year, I had to deal with depression. I think people should talk more about depression, and not make it seem forbidden. It was a tool for me, a turning point in my life, because I had to recede into myself, and think deeply about what’s really important.

“Through photography, I’ve achieved 80% of everything I wanted to be 5 years ago. I’ve worked with several big clients, been to several states within Nigeria, and I’ve even been called upon to cover a governorship aspirant’s political campaign.

“My piece of advice to others, is to do you. Be yourself, don’t get too caught up in one aspect of life, and don’t take life too seriously.”

What do you think about this story