How’s Your Luck

Politicians get a bad rap, African politicians get an even worse one (usually with good reason). Last week I was commissioned to photograph former Nigerian President, Goodluck Jonathan for Bloomberg.

Goodluck Johnathan, Nigerian President

As politicians go, he’s a bit of a celebrity. Firstly he’s got the coolest name on the block and secondly his trademark fedora hat makes him instantly recognisable. Goodluck became famed for being the first ever Nigerian President to concede defeat in a general election; yes, he’s famous for accepting failure in a democratic vote!!

I was due to photograph him after a scheduled television interview at 8am…sharp. He eventually arrived at 11am with his sizeable entourage and wasn’t fazed a bit, holding a heated conversation on the set at Bloomberg’s London offices.  I knew I wouldn’t have long to shoot, as I was repeatedly reminded by his people. None the less, I was determined to get something special out of my allowed 10 seconds.

I got busy and set up a load of lights in what has now become one of my go-to portrait techniques. When you are worried about them walking straight off it never hurts to have the look of an expensive shoot. Generally I find politicians like to be made a fuss of so having lots of shiny toys out helps make them feel a bit more important. I’d love to tell you whitty remarks where exchanged between Mr Jonathan and myself but the whole 10 seconds was conducted under the silent scrutiny of his looming entourage.

Our star’s sense of timekeeping quickly kicked back in and the shoot was over, his hat disappeared into his throng of advisors – leaving me to check the back of my camera, hoping for the best.

Image © Bloomberg News