UP MAGAZINE Vol 7.07 Photography Issue - Page 19

profile PHOTOGRAPHY animal behaviour, really knowing your equipment, putting in the time out in the field and being very very very patient all come into play. What bottlenecks do photographers in East Africa face that hinder the development of the medium? Being able to source proper equipment at a reasonable price is a big challenge here. With all the taxation and duty you can end up paying twice what you would put somewhere else. Ironically we have some of the most stunning sceneries and wilderness areas but the price of equipment here puts it out of the reach of most people who are interested in delving deeper into photography. What advice do you have for people starting out in the photography business? Firstly you need to find your own personal style, something that will set you apart from all the other photographers and that’s only done by getting out there, taking pictures, experimenting and also having fun with it. Visualising shots always helps in actually taking the shot. Secondly, to make photography work for you as a career you have to really think of it as a business and treat it that way. Are you able to make a decent living out of your trade or do you have to make do with side hustles? My life and profession are constantly changing but photography is definitely part of the income I generate. At the moment I spend a lot of time doing photographic guiding on safaris and also filming, so it’s all within the creative space I enjoy working in and I’m very lucky to make a living being out it in places I love to be! It is said that everybody is photographer these days…is that accurate? What distinguishes you from the 1 million Nairobian’s s that own a smartphone and are on the ready to make that picture that goes viral in a matter of hours? ““ I kind of fell into photography as i didn’t take a conscious choice to take photos. Everyone has the ability to take pictures and now that the quality coming out of smartphones has really improved people do take some incredible pictures with them. Having the ability to do so opens up the art form to people who never thought they would be interested in photography or who couldn’t afford proper cameras. That being said wildlife and underwater photography is a highly specialised form which requires not only a lot of specialised equipment but also a range of other skill sets, be it free-diving, scuba diving, safari skills or knowing animal behaviour and dedicating a lot of time to get that one unique shot. How does photography contribute to the building of a cohesive Kenyan society, or how has it not? Photography in Kenyan society, especially recently with everyone having a phone with a camera, has really helped in highlighting a lot of the issues that people in this country have to deal with. So it is an extremely powerful tool that can bring people together and mobilise them to hold the people in power accountable for the negative things that tend to happen quite a bit and bring a positive change to this country. Whale Shark - Jahawi Bertolli Jahawi Bertolli - Professional Underwater & Wildlife Cameraman/Composer/Director www.upnairobi.com 19 August 2016