From Architect to Drone Pilot: Tolupe Sanusi is Taking Architectural Photography to New Heights

202 0

Imagine escaping rush hour gridlock not by weaving through traffic, but by soaring above it. That’s the daily reality for Tolulope Sanusi, a Lagos-based architect-turned-photographer who captures the city’s impressive architecture from a unique perspective.

Perched 13 floors above the snaking traffic of Victoria Island, Sanusi isn’t battling horns and brake lights. Instead, she’s meticulously calibrating her drone, preparing to capture the imposing silhouette of Stanbic Bank’s headquarters against the Lagos skyline.

This bustling metropolis, Africa’s second-largest with an estimated population of over 20 million, becomes the focus of Sanusi’s lens. From the iconic John Randle Centre for Yoruba Culture and History, a project she documented during its rehabilitation, to the up-and-coming MAD House creative incubator at the University of Lagos, Sanusi’s work goes beyond capturing structures – it tells stories. 

Sanusi’s journey, however, wasn’t a straight shot. Her career path reflects an intrinsic connection to design and construction. Having earned both Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in architecture, she initially pursued a traditional career path in an architectural firm. However, a yearning for a broader experience, a desire to ‘witness emerging architectural trends firsthand,’ as she puts it, led her towards the world of photography. “I wanted to experience other architectural practices and the spaces they create, rather than just sitting in an office and designing for other people.”

This transition wasn’t without its challenges. The architectural photography field is historically dominated by men, and Sanusi had to break established barriers and establish her place within the industry. “Being Nigerian, with so many ethnicities, so many backgrounds, you have to challenge some beliefs – that there is no need for a woman to be in this space. But you have to stand your ground. It is an ongoing challenge. You never really stop pushing boundaries,” she acknowledges.

Despite these obstacles, Sanusi’s talent and dedication have garnered her widespread recognition. Her exceptional portfolio, showcasing her creative vision and technical proficiency, has been featured on prominent international platforms like Dezeen. More importantly, her work is contributing to a paradigm shift in the global perception of African architecture.

This shift isn’t just about aesthetics. The rise of the “orange economy,” the creative sector in Nigeria, has fueled a demand for high-end architectural photography. Developers are recognizing the power of design in attracting tenants and buyers, and Sanusi’s ability to showcase these projects in their best light has made her highly sought-after.

Sanusi’s aspirations extend beyond capturing visually stunning images. She is passionate about using her platform to share her love for local design and inspire a new generation, particularly young women, to enter this traditionally male-dominated field. 

Tolulope Sanusi is paving the way for a more inclusive and dynamic architectural landscape in Africa. As her drone navigates the bustling Lagos skyline, she’s capturing not just buildings, but the very essence of a city and its evolving story.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Discover more from District234

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading