We chat with Desirée Iyama, the founder of ‘Lagos Through My Eyes’ about the people and the city that inspires her page
Lagos is a complex city. Complex in the sense that you can’t possibly explain all it is using only words in the same way you would London or New York. You have to experience it to understand what it truly is. With a distinctive exuberance and eccentricity even in the midst of paucity, it is far more complex than most.
It is incredibly vast on one hand and yet very small on the other, housing social circles that run both deep and wide. With over 20 million inhabitants from many walks of life, the disparity between the rich and the poor is almost tangible but the people still find a way to co-exist, weaving amongst the very many complexities within the state. It is this complexity that Lagos Through My Eyes explores, as the page grows not only in popularity but also content and value for its 1,200 followers, one Instagram post at a time.
We spoke to Desirée Iyama, the founder and chief curator of the page, on what inspired the page and what the future holds as they continue to show the world all that is beautiful, unique and glorious about Lagos.
A Nasty Boy: Firstly, I’d like to congratulate you on your page. It is beautiful, informative and aesthetically pleasing.
Desireé Iyama: Thanks a lot, I really appreciate [it].
What did you have in mind when you started?
Firstly, it started as a series on my blog “Lagos Through My Eyes” but I quit blogging about a year ago. I have a lot of cousins abroad, who believe Nigeria [is] a jungle [and] it’s [very hard] to convince them to come here. This is what really [started] Lagos Through My Eyes. Secondly, there are so many beautiful places in Lagos, and I thought to myself ‘why not create a page to showcase them all and discover new places through the people?’
How do you find the people to post about? How do you know where to look and what to post? And how do you know what people are looking to see?
From the very first day I created the page, I [created] a team of five. We brainstormed and found ways to make this project work. Every member of our team is a blogger [in] fashion, beauty, food, or lifestyle. So, finding the coolest places to shop, chill, eat, drink, or hang out was a tad too easy. Also, we discover new places on Instagram save a few pictures.
What has the reception been like?
So far, it’s been good. We get tagged by so many Instagrammers and discover more places. We also get a couple of direct messages inquiring about locations, entry fees, food prices, and so on.
Amazing, so do you see the page scaling up, to include, maybe reviews, food etc?
The team members do, but honestly, I don’t. There are already a few blogs doing that. The plan is not to criticize anyone’s business. We actually visit all these places, for it to be featured on our page, then we highly recommend. However, we have something else planned, much more than reviews.
What could that be? And who are your team members? We’re sure a lot of our readers are curious about the names behind the page!
You know, with the way Nigerians are set up, some things are best left unsaid. But keep an eye out! Some of our team members include: Ifeoma Amadi, Henry Uduku, Modupe Arowolo, Valerie Egbuniwe, and Subomi Salami.
You’re in the business of documenting Lagos’ pastimes, the faces and places that make it what it is, how would you define Lagos and its people?
Lagos is a city that never sleeps. It’s full of life, light and diversity, and so are the people that call Lagos home.
Would you say LagosThroughMyEyes reflects this? Or are you straying from this definition of Lagos and setting a different path for the page?
LagosThroughMyEyes definitely reflects this but as you know, the eyes of every individual see and capture things differently. Since we, as a team, are capturing Lagos through our eyes, I’d like to say we are [taking] a different path. A different path by showcasing every bit of Lagos there is, we are not restricted to showing off a particular set of people or places, we try our best to keep up with Lagos as a whole and show off its beauty to the world.
This interview was edited and condensed for clarity.