For most Lagosians, the expression Thank God Its Friday – aka TGIF – brings to mind one and only one thing: a work-free period to indulge to your heart’s content. So, for the more than 48 hours beginning from Friday evening to Sunday, it is more or less a mini vacation for workers: no overbearing boss looking over your shoulder, no fear of queries and no office politics.
But what really gets most people excited is the opportunity to drink to your fill, party hard and unwind generally. No wonder people look forward to that day of the week as they do their birthdays.
Very soon, Lagosians will start looking forward to spending their Sundays the same way they do their Fridays, thankfully without the imperial hangover. You may never have heard of Studio Q before but it is going to be a household name in no time if you were to judge by the number of guests that crowded their swanky building on Admiralty Way in Lekki last Sunday.
What pooled all them together was because of Studio Q’s novel concept, Thank God Its Sunday – TGIS – wherein Lagosians were hosted to a variety of events ranging from photography sessions to parties.
“This is the beginning of something totally different as far as entertainment is concerned in Lagos,” Simon Akudinobi, CEO of Drycanvas Media and collaborator with Studio Q in the project, told The UNION at the event. The aim is get individuals, families and corporate bodies together and generally have fun. Essentially, it is a photography-themed programme.
In the words of Mrs. Queen Tari-Ekpebu, CEO of Studio Q, TGIS is a photo-ops session with family members or even friends. On how she started TGIS, Tari-Ekpebu says she loves pictures. “I love pictures and my love for them started when I began having children. Taking photographs of my children allowed me to see their different stages of development.”
The Q in the company name is her first name, Queen. Studio Q started on May 21 this year. The choice of Lekki is quite auspicious. Lekki, Tari-Ekpebu insists, “is growing, expanding every day and so we aim to grow with the place as a company.”
Though she admits that business is not quite as smooth as it should be, Tari-Ekpebu believes Studio Q will be at a different level in the next six months.
On his part, Akudinobi, a Lontodon-trained web designer and professional photographer is sanguine about the success of the weekly session. He calls the session the “second best experience after church on Sundays.”
From kids to adolescents and adults, there is something for everyone. For example, kids can have their faces painted in a mélange of hues, skit around in bouncing castles and adults can, as the company boasts, “have a makeover of their lifetime.”
A well-spoken and courteous exec, Tari-Ekpebu is a graduate of English and Linguistics from the University of Benin and mother of four, three boys and a girl. As if in confirmation of the saying that charity begins at home, her four lovely kids were in the house leading other kids at the fun-filled event and generally lending a carnival feel to the event.
Tari-Ekpebu worked with Zenith Bank but resigned in 2005 and became a homemaker “devoting my entire life to my family.” She started Quetar Technologies not long after, parent company of Studio Q. Though she started with a staff strength of eight, now there is double that number at Studio Q alone.
Besides the Sunday event, Studio Q deals mainly with high-profile fashion shoots that require highly technical photography skills.
Studio Q also offers a master class on “Creative Portrait, Lighting and Retouching Workshop. The facilitator, Akudinobi calls the session “intensive hands-on lighting workshop” wherein light is made use of in a professional manner because “mastery of light,” he says, “is the most essential tool in your photography kit box.” Also, he is coaching several students who work at Studio Q.
The very first of its kind in Nigeria (Akudinobi actually said in West Africa) Studio Q’s novel idea about spending Sundays started as a success last week. “I am glad I came for this opening,” Kizito Osuji, an architect and photographer, said. “As far as I know, this is the first something like this is happening in Lagos. And as a professional photographer, the weekly event is sure to be a success.”
More important, where a chap who has had one too many drinks may suffer the subsequent hangover after a weekend binge, nothing compares with the captured moment in a family portrait that Studio Q promises patrons. For as Karl Lagerfeld himself has declared: “What I like about photographs is that they capture a moment that’s gone forever, impossible to reproduce.”
– Michael Jimoh