John Amos & Tolu Jarrett, The First Grandson of Chief M.A. Ivon-Jarrett, a photo by Jujufilms on Flickr.
My dad took this family portrait using a timer and developed it in his darkroom at home. My dad was an avid photographer and hobbyist documentary filmmaker shooting the people, landscape and events in Nigeria and Cameroon in the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s on 3mm film.
As a kid I could not wait for my dad to come home from his road trips so I could watch footage of his adventures on white screen, this was my way of seeing other parts and peoples of Nigeria. I believe my dad shot everything he came across from road construction, children playing, remote villages, tea parties with friends, soccer games, his kids, plants, flowers etc. He would usually operate the movie projector and narrate the scenes as they were usually silent movies.
I remember one particular footage he shot, he had come across a truck that jumped off a bridge on the Benin to Ijebu Ode road so he set his camera on a tripod and kept it rolling while he went down to help. As a kid I was puzzled as to how he got in the shot. When I asked him how he did that, he did not tell me right away he had me figure it out.
My dad was also an avid motorcyclist, tennis and soccer player. He headed the Nigerian palm oil, kernel and rubber plantations in several outposts in Nigeria and Cameroon until he retired in the mid 70’s. He would set up and manager soccer teams wherever he was stationed. When he is with my son he would take him in the backyard to teach him soccer technics. He would take my daughter out in the yard to smell and teach her the different names of flowers.
As part of the British colony siestas and tea breaks are part of the workday in government establishments but my dad substituted an afternoon nap for a game of tennis or riding around the plantation and villages on his motorcycle meeting the locals. He got to know practically everyone personally and they the same.
My dad retired to his farm in Araromi Obu where he was made a Chief. He added a poultry tothe farm with a hatchery and started supplying the major department stores like Kingsway and Leventis chicken and eggs. My dad was a thrill seeker, he had come down to Ibadan to buy a bull for his farm but could not find a truck to transport the bull back to his farm so he proceeds to have a full grown bull tied and strategically stuffed in the back of his Renault 4 van. Soon enough it became his usually way of transporting his bulls it was not a strange scene in my household to see a bull in my dad’s car.
Thanks for reading I could fill the pages with stories of my father. – @OgbeniAyotunde