Creative: Timothy Erau is a photographer and public relations practitioner. He talks to Joan Salmon about his love for art, travel, and basketball.
Who was your childhood hero?
My mom was and is still my hero. She was a resilient woman, who persevered through all hardships and huddles to make sure my siblings and I turned out well. She sold groceries, samosas, chapatti, and local brew to put food on our table. But even though times were hard, she was always cheerful and jolly.
What was the first book you read?
There were those primary book series called Iculi. They were my first books and I loved that cunning hare.
What drew you to photography?
I love to document and tell stories visually and I think I am good at it. My work has been featured on the BBC show Focus on Africa.
What was your first camera?
Nikon D3100 and it was awesome because it was a gift from my dad. I treasured that camera.
What was your first pay? What did you use it for?
My first pay was Shs50,000, which was more less transport facilitation to and from work.
What inspires you?
My dad inspired my love for creative art. He was and is still a master at his craft, he made amazing sculpture pieces and drawings while at Kyambogo University.
What makes you different from other photographers?
The love to explore, experiment, research, trying and failing and not doing the obvious.
If you were not a photographer, what would you be?
I would have been a professional basketball player because it is a gift from God. I was introduced to it by my elder brother and I have played the game since childhood. I got scholarships because of basketball and played at a semi-professional level with the Charging Rhino Basketball club (the Chargers). Another highlight was winning the championship and getting promoted to division one.
What crazy things have you done for love?
Love is indeed complicated. I once walked from MUBs to my hostel In Makerere because I had to save money in order to be able to buy a Rolex for my then girlfriend. What made the sacrifice even more painful is she later ditched me a day before my birthday.
What is the best advice you ever got from a woman?
My wife advised me to save and invest in real estate, and she tasked me to build a home and structures for rent. This was quite challenging but with her support, we are making progress.
What is that one thing that people do not know about you?
My report card always had naughty boy, which explains the beatings I got both at school and from my mum.
What qualities do you look out for in a woman?
Crazy, provocative, sexy, joyful, lovable, outgoing and above all, God fearing.
When you are not doing official work, what else do you do?
I look after my wife, Minah. I love to spend more time with her; she irritates and amuses me in the same measure. I just cannot keep my eyes off her. She is my other job.
Who is that one person you want to meet before you die?
Robin Sharma because his resilience, determination and self-drive are awe-inspiring. His books give one a sense of direction and how to approach challenges in life.
Are there books you would recommend a friend to read?
The Saint, The Surfer, and The CEO by Robin Sharma. They teach how the universe works, how to best approach life, respect, humility, and love.
If you had to change anything about your industry in Uganda, what would it be?
Impression of how photographers and videographers are perceived. I recently had a scenario where I had to do reprints at an extra cost for a client because they were so impatient. They could not understand when I explained to them that their work had been locked up in my office because of rent arrears accumulated during the lockdown. The client was too bitter, thinking I was playing games.
What kind of legacy do you want to leave?
I wish to be remembered as jovial, happy and loving man.
In your view, what is the glue that holds a relationship together?
Honesty, transparency, and commitment. Without these, the relationship is as good as over and done with.
What is the one meal you would prepare with ease?
Noodles are the ideal meal because apart from dropping it in water and waiting for it to boil, I do not have to do much.
Who is your favourite soccer player and movie?
Thierry Henry is my favourite soccer player, and he made me love Arsenal because he played with utmost passion whenever he was on the pitch. His pace, and skills while dribbling and running with the ball made it hard for opponents to mark him. He was also unpredictable and scored quite a number of memorable goals for Arsenal when they needed him most.
I love Forrest Gump; I got to know that it is important to appreciate life while we still have it. The movie also shows that you never know what is going to happen in the future, such as when your time will be up or if your life is ever going to be compromised.
The youth in Uganda need to do what they love most because passion can keep you going even when the sales are low. They also need to know that nothing comes easy in life. As such, hard work should always be part and parcel of their lives.