The Worst My Work Can Be Is Average — Man Like Anny Robert

August 1, 2021

What does it mean to be a man? Surely, it’s not one thing. It’s a series of little moments that add up. Man Like is a weekly Zikoko series documenting these moments to see how it adds up. It’s a series for men by men, talking about men’s issues. We try to understand what it means to “be a man” from the perspective of the subject of the week.


Today’s Man Like is Anny Robert, a photographer. He talks about leaving graphic design for photography after seeing a down sum payment and how his career affects his romantic relationships.

Let’s talk about growing up.

My dad was a lecturer, but he wasn’t as strict about my academics as other lecturers were with their kids. He is quite playful and doesn’t take things too seriously. Still, he was a disciplinarian, and there were rules.

Because my brother and I went to secondary school at the Federal University of Technology, Minna where my dad lectured, we were constantly watched. What this meant was that I grew up well-behaved, even when I went to study at Covenant University.

What was uni like for you?

University was my first chance to leave Niger State, and I grabbed at it. However, I knew how hard my parents worked to send me to Covenant University, so I stayed relatively well-behaved. I didn’t want any trouble with the school’s disciplinary panel. I didn’t even date anybody. It wasn’t until I graduated that I started exploring my freedoms.

What did you study at the university?

When I was picking courses, I thought studying computer science meant I was going to learn about graphics, design and animation, which were things I was interested in. It wasn’t until I resumed classes that I discovered how wrong I was. A lot of my course work revolved around math, logic and computer programming, which I hated. I did terribly except in a 3D-animations course where I performed excellently. 

During my IT in 300 level, I learned graphics designing during my internship. I worked at a t-shirt company called Cool Beans in 2013 where I designed t-shirts. The company folded after two years, so I had to find another job. I soon found one as a graphics designer in a company that produced bespoke suits. It was during this time I picked up photography.

How did you get into photography?

At the time, a lot of people around me were photographers. I watched them during shoots and started to learn a couple of things. I still wasn’t hooked on it until I saw a down payment my friend received. It was a huge sum, more than anything I could ever make as a graphic designer. It was at that point I decided that photography was for me. I started learning how to edit pictures before I even picked up a camera, which was easy due to my knowledge of graphic design and photoshop. I’d take RAW pictures from my friend’s shoots, practice photoshopping those pictures, then ask my friends to critique my work. This was in 2015.

So photography was about money, for you?

It’s always the money. Except you’re a trust fund kid or you have one inheritance waiting somewhere for you, you need to work in order to remain independent. It’s a means to an end, and that’s what photography is.

At what point did you realise you had reached the pinnacle of your profession?

Around 2017. I started getting an idea that I was actually good at this stuff. I was getting a lot of work, and it just never stopped. My friends and followers were very generous with feedback and hype, so I started to figure that I was actually doing something good. There were also calls from a couple of celebrities.

That must have been huge.

Not really. It was great to photograph celebrities early in my career, but most of them want free services because of who they are. They’re nice to have in your portfolio because it gives some credibility to your work, but eventually, you realise they just want free service. So I’m not so excited about photographing celebrities if they aren’t paying. 

How do you feel about the impact of your work?

Strangely enough, I never actually realise how big my work is. Unlike art forms like music, I don’t know how much traction it’s gaining because I’m usually behind a camera or a computer screen. I’m also my biggest critic, so I’m always seeing problems in my own work even when others say I’ve done something amazing. Yet, I see the ways I’m improving every day, and I think that’s what counts. 

Do you have imposter’s syndrome?

Definitely, yes. In other fields, there are certifications you can take to prove your proficiency in a field. In most art fields like photography, it’s mostly based on freestyle and vibes, so there’s a lot of imposter syndrome even at the pinnacle of your field. You never can measure how good are. And because internet hype is very fickle, you can’t use that either. People can call you a genius one day and call you unimpressive the next.

How do you deal with it?

By constantly reassuring myself that I actually know my stuff. Asides from this, I’m always trying to do better work so I know I’m not slacking. It might just take some time to believe my own hype. 

I’m also aware that I don’t release mediocre work. The worst it can be is average, so this helps build my self-confidence. I think the most important thing is to continue growing and learning and see where life takes you. If you had told me in 2013, when I was a graphics designer at Covenant University, that I would be one of the top photographers in Nigeria in 2021, I would have laughed your ass to death because I knew nothing about photography.

Who’s been your favourite person to work with?

My favourite artist to photograph was M.I. Working with Don Jazzy was also so much fun because he’s easy-going and playful.

That’s cute. Tell us a bit about your love life.

As I said, I wasn’t very involved with women in my uni days. I guess I was just too shy to ask anyone out. After uni in 2013, I was in a long-term relationship that ended after three years despite my best efforts. We started getting distant in our second year of dating and finally broke up in our third. By the time it ended, I was just starting photography as a career, so I just channelled my heartbreak into learning my craft properly.

I didn’t really think about relationships anymore after that. I’m not great at multitasking, and I tend to have a one-track mind, so focusing on photography left me little time for anything else, especially for love. It was my decision to focus exclusively on photography that gave me the career I have today.

I later had a thing with someone which didn’t quite pan out well due to distance even though we tried to make it work. After that, I closed the shop of my heart. LMAO. I decided not to have relationships anymore till I figured out my photography career.

And now that you’ve figured it out?

I got comfortable with being single, and I think I like it a bit too much. Also, because all my focus goes into my job, I don’t know how I’d deal with someone who would make me the centre of their attention. I simply wouldn’t have the time for it. If I found someone I liked who is just as focused on their career, maybe I might consider a relationship with them. I’m not going out of my way to find a romantic relationship.

For now, I’m keeping it casual, nothing serious. 

Interesting. What’s your favourite thing about your mini-celebrity status?

I think it’s helped with my confidence a lot. I wasn’t always so self-assured, but being one of the best at my craft affords me a lot of confidence.  On some level, you know you’re the shit.

Check back every Sunday by 12 pm for new stories in the Man Like series. If you’d like to be featured or you know anyone that would be perfect for this, kindly send an email.

Are you a man who would like to be interviewed for a Zikoko article? Fill this form and we’ll be in your inbox quicker than you can say “Man Dem.”

Olufemi Fadahunsi

Join The Conversation

Bring a friend.

You'll like this

depression relationships
June 26, 2021

For men suffering from depression, there’s no end to the things it steals from them. Joy, time and fulfilment are only a few. In addition to this, it also takes away your ability to build and enjoy meaningful relationships. I spoke to six men about how depression affects their relationships. Caleb With my friends, there’s […]

August 23, 2021

Everything in this article is true. Believe me, I’m an Arsenal fan. I’ve been an Arsenal fan for 17 years. If you’ve heard that Arsenal fans are good partners and you didn’t know why, this article will explain to you. 1. They don’t have standards In the world of football, Arsenal is synonymous with failure. […]

September 17, 2020

A vasectomy is a permanent contraceptive method where a male’s vas deferens is cut and tied or sealed to prevent sperm from getting to the urethra, to stop the man from ejaculating and fertilizing the female’s egg. Whew, that’s a lot of grammar. In simpler English, the tube that carries sperm from the testicles is […]

Watch

Now on Zikoko

open grazing
September 16, 2021

In Nigeria, up to 2,000 people die every year due to deadly clashes between farmers and cattle herders over rights to openly and freely graze, and the clashes made about 62,000 people homeless between 2015 and 2017.

In reaction, southern states in Nigeria are passing anti-open grazing laws. But what do they mean?

Recommended Quizzes

April 9, 2020

At some point in life, we all learnt that someone can be very intelligent and still lack common sense. That’s the difference between being book smart and being street smart. If you’re not sure where on the spectrum you fall, well, that’s what this quiz is here to tell you. Take it:

November 1, 2019

Twitter is buzzing right now, bringing a new conversation to the concept of cool vs not-so-cool, especially in relationships. If you’ve been thinking about how much of a red flag you are, why don’t you let this quiz help you decide once and for all?

September 1, 2021

August is over, and here are some of our best quizzes from August. Enjoy: 1. QUIZ: Only Ajebutters Can Get 10/21 On This Quiz Some people like to form ajepako when they’re really ajebutter. Are you one of them? Let’s find out. 2. QUIZ: Sorry, If You’re Under 25 There’s No Way You Can Pass […]

November 19, 2019

Regardless of what society has tried to tell us, enjoying sex is not something to be ashamed of. So, in a bid to celebrate our generation’s sexual agency, we’ve created a quiz that will accurately (again, keep your complaints to yourself) infer how many people you’ve spelt with. Try it out: 11 Quizzes For The […]

November 4, 2019

After successfully predicting when y’all are getting married (please, email any complaints to noneofourbusiness@nayousabi.com), we are back to tell you how much is currently in your account. How, you might ask? By using your taste in Nollywood, of course. Shhh. No questions. Just take it already:

More from Man Dem

September 5, 2021

The subject of today’s Man Like is Enioluwa “Lip Gloss Boy” Adeoluwa, a 21-year-old social media influencer and TV host. He talks about growing up in Akure, accidentally becoming popular from making videos while wearing makeup and how he handles being an unorthodox man in Nigeria. What’s your relationship with your dad like? He’s my […]

August 31, 2021

If you didn’t get the memo, you’re getting it now. The Society of Toxic Masculinity has declared that it is gay for any man to be seen carrying any of these items 1. A handbag Are you modelling for Chanel? Why are you carrying bag? Instead of squeezing all your belongings into two pockets. 2. […]

Watch

Trending Videos

Zikoko Originals

December 14, 2020
What happens when a group of chatty young Nigerians talk about things they're passionate about? You get Nigerians talk. A show that discusses very familiar struggles for the average Nigerian. From relationship deal breakers to sex education with Nigerian parents to leaving Nigeria, be prepared for a ride.
November 2, 2020
'The Couch' is a Zikoko series featuring real life stories from anonymous people.
October 26, 2020
A collection of videos documenting some of the events of the EndSARS protests.
June 22, 2020
'The Couch' is a Zikoko series featuring real life stories from anonymous people.
June 22, 2020
Hacked is an interesting new series by Zikoko made up of fictional but hilarious chat conversations.
June 4, 2020
What happens when a group of chatty young Nigerians talk about things they're passionate about? You get Nigerians talk. A show that discusses very familiar struggles for the average Nigerian. From relationship deal breakers to sex education with Nigerian parents to leaving Nigeria, be prepared for a ride.
June 2, 2020
Quickie is a video series where everyone featured gets only one minute to rant, review or do absolutely anything.
May 14, 2020
Isolation Diary is a Zikoko series that showcases what isolation is like for one young Nigerian working from home due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
March 12, 2020
Life is already hard. Deciding where to eat and get the best lifestyle experiences, isn't something you should stress about. Let VRSUS do that for you.

Z! Stacks

Here's a rabbit hole of stories to lose yourself in:

Zikoko amplifies African youth culture by curating and creating smart and joyful content for young Africans and the world.
X