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From being a Barber to a Self-Taught Amazing Photographer: The Story Of Sunmi Smart-Cole



Sunmi Smart-Cole is a Nigerian photographer who started out as a barber working mostly for elite clients – The celebrated photographer had a very rough upbringing trying to make ends meet without funds for his secondary education – Smart-Cole studied photography in the states and has worked for various Nigerian influential families The story of Sunmi Smart-Cole is a very inspiring one. The Nigerian celebrated photographer self-taught himself the art of photography. Before then, he was in the creative art of cutting the hair of Lagos crème-de-la-crème. In his interview with the BBC, Smart-Cole, who is now 78, migrated to Port Harcourt. Growing up was not easy for him as he had no backing for secondary school education. However, he was able to gather some money from teaching children in rural area to get himself a radio. The gadget he bought brought him close to the BBC World Service and its broadcast as a formal means of education. Meet African woman who left robust job on Wall Street to focus on fashion designing (photos) Before he fell in love with the radio station, he spent his pennies on magazine were he learnt new words to enhance his vocabulary. With the education he was able to garner from the media, not many would later believe that he had not proceeded beyond primary education. During the time he was a popular barber in Lagos, he met a US right activist Jesse Jackson who invited him to a music festival in the states in 1971. Sunmi Smart-Cole garnered his informal education from listening to BBC World Service. Photo source: Elite Magazine Source: UGC In 1976, he enrolled for a photography course proper to brush up an interest that had always been a side passion for him. He was given the name Nigeria’s first celebrity photographer because he was a private photographer of Ibrahim Babangida, the then head of state. Smart-Cole also worked with various elite families in the country. On selfie, the celebrated photographer said that they do not qualify as good photography, and that while it may be good in some way, it does not produce something that will last.

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