Friday, April 17, 2015

Teacher Gains Fame by Telling Story of Home Through Lens of iPhone


For first-year teacher Temi Coker, photography teacher at Ben Barber Career Tech Academy, taking pictures is therapeutic.

“I was just going through a lot when I was in college, so taking pictures was just a way of me allowing the world to see it the way I saw it,” said Coker.

Temi Coker's family in Nigeria
Courtesy: Instagram (@temi.coker)
But he never imagined the visual story he told through social media about a trip to his childhood home would go viral and bring him some unexpected attention.

Coker traveled to Nigeria in December 2014 to celebrate his grandmother’s 70th birthday. His birthday happens to be the day after; so on his birthday, he decided to walk around Lagos, Nigeria and document the city in a new way.

“I wanted people to see Nigeria in a way that the media didn’t show it,” said the Nigerian native. “I wasn’t expecting anything from this. I just wanted to show the people—at least the people who were following me [on Instagram]—my trip and how beautiful Nigeria really is.”

Using the hashtag #TemixNigeria, Coker shared his story, and his artistic photos were noticed by the Instagram community manager. Soon after, Coker’s photos were featured on the Instagram blog.
Self-portrait of Coker
Courtesy: Instagram (@temi.coker)

Since then, Coker’s artwork has been shown on the local news and noticed by several art enthusiasts around the world.

“I was like, ‘Man, are you serious?’ I was almost crying because I didn’t do this for the fame. I did it because I just wanted to document Nigeria in a special way."

He noted that he’s extremely thankful for all the support and recognition he’s been getting.