Centuries after renaissance, Master Leonardo Da Vinci painted the famous Mona Lisa, oil on paper (1503), the portrait continues to attract attention of art enthusiasts and collectors from across the globe. Today, the painting offers different perspectives and opportunities for many generations of artists and scholars, photographers inclusive, to express their impressions. In fact, many scholars are also fascinated by the mystery of Mona Lisa’s smile and posture among other features.
One of such adventurous photographers is 20-year-old Nigerian Olawale Ololade, who grew up into photography under the tutelage of his father who is a film producer and director.
The first year student of Banking and Finance, Lagos State University, Ojo, is inspired by the famous painting of Da Vinci to explore digital photography in expressing his feelings about his environment and people.
Ololade is not keen about fashion or society photography. His interest is to use photograph to comment on issues in the society.
“I started Fine Art photography by doing more intentional pieces about my images and not just taking pictures. I started writing scripts for weeks to develop just an idea before taking the shots. This is to enable me have perfect interpretation of what I am trying to say. Fine Art photography is my base now, it’s something I just did out of fun and everybody is seeing it now and having good comment about it,” he said.
According to Ololade, a lot of things excite him in photography. He can imagine things and show his interpretations of different views of life visually without having to talk about it. “I love interpreting man and environment. I can do more for my environment and society at large with photography. I can talk on issues with photography,” he added.
His recent photograph Lucynder, a replica of Mona Lisa is fast becoming the toast of collectors from across the world, especially Europe and America. The 16 x 20 photograph, which took him six hours to shoot and three days to edit, now goes for 300 dollars per copy. The finishing of the artwork was achieved through the use of photography to get the base image and the aid of digital painting to adjust and create the needed environment similar to Mona Lisa’s.
On how he got enchanted to Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, he recalled: “I’m a fan of Leonardo da Vinci. I was listening to a song one day and the lyric was Mona Lisa and it got stuck to my head. That made me to check Mona Lisa image up on the internet. I knew Mona Lisa image wasn’t a woman but a cross dresser in 14th century when he painted it. The artist was an engineer aside been a painter. I think he also painted the Mona Lisa out of imagination. He did it with fun.”
Ololade’s vision as a young photographer is to be a renowned artist that will use photography as a means of communication. Although studying Banking and Finance, Ololade eats and breathes photography, which is driven by his passion. To him, it is a life-long love with camera, as he is not ready to part way with photography soon.
“Though I will retire someday, but I am not going to stop photography even at 60, 70 and 80 years, I will still have camera by my side and still taking pictures. I will be a photographer forever because it is no longer a work but a passion. As long as I can affect the society without talking about it, I can change the point of view of people and tell stories with photography. I am happy and fulfilled,” he noted.
With this, Ololade is committing his time and energy to develop his skill in modern photography of the millennia, which is powered by information technology. In no time, this passion will earn him honour, fame and livelihood, though a proud graduate of finance and banking. The Nigerian creative sector, no doubt, holds the ace for such a young entrepreneur to blossom.