Many of his black-and-white photos are of people. Color is distracting, and rarely reveals a person’s true character. He says people tend to focus on how green a person’s shirt is or how blue the individual’s eyes are, which is not what photographers want to reveal.
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Explore This IssueJanuary 2014
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“If you take a color photo of a person, you’re taking a picture of their clothes,” he says. “But if you take a black and white picture, you’re showing their soul.”
Ironically, one of his favorite pictures hangs in his living room, one that he shot six months ago. It shows car headlights shining down one of the main streets in Roanoke. Not a person is in sight.
Spreading the Word
While photography may be a great hobby for those who are creative, it is definitely not for those who are frugal. So far, Dr. Bankole has invested nearly $7,000 in cameras and lenses. For example, his first camera was a Canon Rebel T3, valued at less than $500. Last June, he purchased a Canon 6D, which costs approximately $2,000. Likewise, some of his camera lenses sell for $1,000 a piece. Because of the high expense, he uses the profits from his shoots to purchase better equipment.
Ever since he turned pro, he has limited his shoots to once a month so he can balance his weekday job, weekend job, and family. Most of his photography jobs have come via word of mouth.
His biggest fan—excluding his wife and children—appears to be his neighbor.
“She’s been telling loads of people about me—people at work and her friends,” he says, adding that he shot the picture of her family that appeared on her Christmas cards. “I tend to be more reserved, and just tell people at church.”
Still, he recognizes the need to market his services in order to achieve his dream. While he advertises his skills on his Facebook page, he is also building a website to attract attention and display some of his work.
Meanwhile, he assigns weekly challenges for himself. During one weekend, for example, he experimented with shadows and light, how they appear across people’s faces. Another time, he focused on macro photography by shooting water droplets the moment they hit a pool of water. There’s always something new to learn, he says, which prevents boredom or even worse—his skills from becoming stale or outdated.
He believes photography is a great hobby for people in any occupation because it enables them to find beauty everywhere they look. It all boils down to interpretation, he says.