Well this is the first time I’ve featured a good friend of mine on the site, even weirder interviewing him since I already know the answers for most of these questions. It’s taken me around a month to conjure a half decent set that are worthy of an answer. I met FJ through Yin&Yang and Twitter a few years back, though it took us over a year to meet and even then, I wasn’t sure what he looked like since his display picture featured his face covered up by a SLR. So I decided to flip reverse the camera on him over a coffee and a wander around Soho.
Like myself, FJ hates me being on the other side of the camera. I think it might be a photographer thing, we’re all pretty picky when it comes to photographs of ourselves showing up on social networks. They need to be shot well. It’s not about the blurry Instagram photographs that you end up getting tagged in on Facebook. So I hope I’ve done a good enough job.
Coffee shop shots taken at Tap coffee on Rathbone Place. You can never go wrong there.
1. First of all, for those who don’t know you. Who is Folaju? and what does he do?
Good question, Who is Folaju? Folaju is the owner of a biblical beard…. I kid, I am a photographer & a Web developer.
2. Photography and web developer, interesting arsenal of skills. Which came first and which do you enjoy more?
Web development came first, that’s what I studied at University but photography has always been there. I enjoy web development but photography is something I love. I can spend the whole day taking pics, or researching photographers, new kit or just talking about it. It is constantly on my mind, l am always composing shots when I go out.
3. How did you discover photography?
We might be here a while, I got a point and click camera from my sister when I turned 21. Most of my shots at that time were of friends and the random day outs we had. I started to go to hip hop gigs and my camera was always with me, I started capturing my favourite artists. That’s when I first noticed my interest.
Fast forward a few years, I got the opportunity to go to Paris for a work function. I decided to get my first DSLR for the trip, I bought it then immediately chickened out and I returned it (don’t ask why, I cannot explain it myself). On the way to Paris I found out two of my colleagues were keen photographers, I spent the rest of my trip learning from them and using their DSLR’s and I completely fell in love with photography. I applied all they taught me to my normal point and shoot and my pics came out much better. When I came back to London I took the plunge and got the same DSLR I returned and the rest is history as they say.
4. How would you describe your style of photography?
It’s difficult to say, I guess you can say I capture life at it happens. I wonder how many photographers have given this response? As a photographer, you have to be able to adapt to whatever subject you are shooting. Questions like this will cause me to ramble, how would you describe my style?
5. Do you prefer using natural light or studio light?
Definitely Natural light, creates a better picture for me anyway plus I haven’t mastered making studio light look like natural light. Don’t worry I will master it this year *inserts inspirational Naruto monologue about becoming the best.*
6. Ichigo has Zangetsu. Ash had Charmander. Goku had err..Dragon balls. What’s in your arsenal?
I love the anime reference, My current arsenal consists of a recently bought Canon 6D with my 50mm and 85mm prime lens and 24 – 105 mm prior to that a Canon 450D (RIP), a Lumix GX1 with a 20mm prime lens (My everyday camera and what I use for majority of my street photography work), a Polaroid 600 (Mostly for the ‘Coffee with…’ project) and my iPhone (for all that #instagoodness)…. oh yeh and the M9 that Leica are going to send me.
7. Tell us more about ‘Coffee with’ project that you’ve been doing for the past few months.
‘Coffee with…’ is a project I started earlier this year as an excuse to drink lots of coffee without feeling guilt. The project is based on human interactions where I visit coffee shops with friends and I document our time in the shop, what we talked about and my friends various reactions as we spoke.
8. I’m guessing you have major love for coffee to do a whole project revolving around it. Favourite coffee shop in London?
Oh yeh, me and coffee are in a life long relationships. I tried to Green tea and other drinks but I had to come back to her. My favourite coffee shop would have to be Kaffeine on Great Titchfield st, if you follow me on instagram, you will know I am there pretty much everyday. They have some of the best coffee I have tasted and all the staff are great.
9. Out of the Coffee With sets that you’ve photographed so far, which one has been your favourite and why?
You really can’t ask a question like this, I will get in trouble. I guess I can’t say they are all my favourites but if I had to pick my favourite, it would have to be the very first one with Femi (shout out to him). When I came up with the idea, I knew what I wanted it to look like and after the first shoot it was a great feeling seeing the idea/vision I had come out as I imagined.
10. In a city as vibrant as the capital, where do you go to find inspiration? In other words, your most-liked parts of the city.
Southbank is probably my favourite place, when I got into photography I spent a lot of time there taking pictures and improving my skills so it is a special place for me.
11. You recently, well last year completed an Instagram 365. Do you think you’ll do something similar again with your SLR? How difficult was it to complete?
The instagram 365…. I really need to do something with it, It would be cool to do another one maybe with my compact not SLR. My compact goes everywhere with me but if I do it would have to have a theme kinda like how you did LDN 365. It was difficult completing it especially when you are stuck in at a desk for most of the day, you don’t get much time to explore new parts of the city. Going out and trying to find something new and exciting on a daily basis was challenging but that is what made it a lot of fun.
12. How do you feel about everyone suddenly adding that ‘photographer’ tag to their bio since Instagram allows anyone to add a filter and make a photograph look half-decent.
I knew a question like this would come up… erm, there is no way to answer this without being rude. I love that instagram has allowed a lot of people to be creative and produce some nice stuff but to call themselves ‘photographers’ is a bit too far, I feel that it takes away from actual photographers and belittles our craft. I own a cooker but I wouldn’t call myself a chef, it would be an insult to actual chefs but what do I know I am sure some people would say I am not a photographer.
13. The recent Instagram trend has been collaborations between mega-users. How do you feel about photographer collaborations?
I love the collaborations, I think it is a healthy competitions that pushes the photographers to produce their best work. When I did a collaboration project with a few friends, the competition forced us to produce dope work. I think we might do another one soon, they are a bit salty after I crushed them last time (Come at me bro…), they were not about this life… I kid. We had a lot of fun doing them so I will definitely want to do more. We should definitely collab, we can’t let the American photographers have all the fun.
14. What kind of photo projects would you love to work on in the future?
Oh man, this is a difficult question, everything would be the answer. Shooting a campaign for a brand would be dope, I am a huge fan of what Nike do and would love to do something with them. Ultimately documenting a cultures way of life or maybe following a gang around and documenting that kinda like Anton Kusters did with the Yakuza. Those are a few projects that I would love to work on. Oh yeah, work with 2 Chainz…. that guy is a champion.
15. So the big question, do you see yourself becoming a full-time photographer in the near future?
The million dollar question, the answer to this is a puzzle wrapped in an enigma. Okay not really, yes I do it is what I am most passionate about and it never feels like work.
And that’s all folks. Be sure to check out FJ’s work in the links above. If you want hit up directly, here’s his twitter – @GeekySneaks. Be sure to stop him on the streets of London if you do see him walking around like Bill Cunningham. Stroke his beard. I’m going to leave you with a few of his photographs from his Coffee With project. I’m actually in one! as you can see from above. It’s made my profile pictures on Facebook and a few other networks so you know it’s dope.