UP MAGAZINE Vol 7.07 Photography Issue - Page 25

profile PHOTOGRAPHY What is your all time favourite photograph? That’s a really hard almost impossible to answer question, I don’t have a single favourite photograph. Is luck essential for you in the making of good photographs? Always. Actually most great photographs were mere luck. The aspect of not only being there at the right time but also clicking the shutter. We call it the decisive moment. You just can’t predict it, no one ever goes out there to get the ‘great’ photograph, it just happens and when it does it’s the best feeling in the world. Of course technical aspects count but you might be the best of photographers but miss a great photograph that an amateur managed to capture as you were standing in the same place at that particular moment. I am so sure there are thousands of great photographs sitting in people’s hard disks; it’s only that they don’t know they are great. What bottlenecks do photographers in East Africa face that hinder the development of the medium? I honestly can’t speak for all photographers in East Africa because I believe restrictions differ in different regions. Although there are recurring obstacles I face and have heard many complain about around me. The fact that it’s harder for a local to get commissioned to do projects than it is for foreigners is a serious one. It’s a sad truth that I hope will one day change. What advice do you have for people starting out in the photography business? Starting out in the photography business isn’t any different from starting out in any other business. Do you have the skill for it? If not, learn it. Do you have the right equipment? If not, invest in it. Do your research on whatever genre you plan to embark on. START photographing and be consistent; people who find your work interesting will FIND YOU and that’s your start to a good photography business. Just know that you won’t earn money immediately because for you to stand out from the crowd you’ll really need to be skilled both in business and art, especially business, and that doesn’t take a day to build, so be patient and enjoy the process. Are you able to make a decent living out of your trade or do you have to make do with side hustles? Not at the moment so I have to make do with side hustles. I’m young in the trade so I’m still learning ways to run a successful business. One misconception people have is that money starts flowing in immediately if you are exceptional with your art, sadly it’s not the truth. For you to have a steady cash flow you must learn the business of art which is extremely different from learning the art itself. 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? Of course it’s true; everyone that owns a camera phone is a photographer. I believe it’s all definition, language is a strange thing but that’s a topic for another day. What distinguishes a professional photographer from people that own a smartphone capable of creating a photograph at any time is commitment to the trade. I do it as a profession and so there are some things that just cannot be achieved with a smartphone. I’m also ready to invest my time in it, something that not everyone owning a smartphone can do. Skill comes with time invested building that particular skill, you can own a brush, oil paint and canvas but as far as my understanding and love for art is — stick figures differ greatly from the Mona Lisa. How does photography contribute to the building of a cohesive Kenyan society, or how has it not? Like any social exchange, photography brings people together. We now have a fast growing community of photographers in Kenya and consumers who are slowly accepting and understanding the trade. I believe that’s fundamental in growing a stronger society. From art galleries to social media to photography social gatherings, people in Kenya are making great connections every day. www.upnairobi.com 25 August 2016