My first photo was during my sisters birthday back in 2015. I was using a Nikon D3200, an amateur fidgeting, or rather on set showing off as the event’s photographer. In my amateur photography, I managed to capture a shot that was featured on the Business Daily. I was the guy who would follow my sister’s instructions; ‘Siloma, just slide to Auto and take photos, usiniharibie camera wewe.‘ I remember visiting digital-photography-school blog that morning to check on the basic parameters on how to shoot on manual. I slid to M and started shooting the horrible amateur photos but I kept on practicing until Biko ushered me to take a photo of Sakaja.
I was trembling that am not that good but I never confessed to him that am not good nor what he is asking is too big for me to achieve. I set my camera, took some shots and showed them. They loved it and they both urged me to continue shooting because am a good photographer.
Shortly after, I was credited in the article and I did not fail to thank God for it on my Instagram.
So I joined Kkrew Media team and shortly after we had a selfie challenge shoot that I highlighted in an article in this blog. I shot my first silhouette I was interested in photography and got into more tutorials and practice. I attended events like the Concours D’elegance, We did meet ups like the #OwnTheNightNairobi, graduations and charity events like the Loitokitok #TwendeniTeule.
I had deep passion in all what I did, I made many other shots which form part of my portfolio. It was not until one day that I decided to expand my photography skills by giving my friends a free photoshoot around Muthaiga when all started going rough. I was near Mada hotels when 2 GSU officers came breathing fire and fury as to why I have a camera on my neck. After some silly questions they let us go after his counterpart persuaded them that we were not terrorists. Another time I hung my camera on my neck in town when city council askaris mishandled me.
My explanation nor my BAKE card did not spare me the crazy questions or the mishandling. I had to become bold, I told them that I know my rights and they should arrest me and not bother me for hanging a camera on my neck. They left me alone probably sad because they never got their cut. Another time, at around 8.30pm a friend was showing me a photo on his camera when guards flocked around us questioning us on why we are taking photos of buildings. All these made me just quit this art. One that makes one feel like a slave. I really wonder why it is so easy for a mzungu, to shoot anything he/she wants while you are mishandled by hanging your camera on the neck or previewing photos, should we all bleach and wear aviators to evade the mishandling?
I am a fan of Stephen Ouma‘s blog, I have read almost every single post and I really love the work he does at Uhuru Park but recently, a story on another blog Canduh explained how they were mishandled and mistreated by either county council askaris or the police. I felt sad, I wondered why the youth should be mishandled because they are practicing their art. We set off with a friend to the same exact point where they took the beautiful photo of Nairobi, and we tried to make a shot identical to theirs.
What is the worst thing in someone getting a photo of Nairobi from Uhuru park? One that many will download and not credit? One that will create memories in case they decide to phase off Nairobi or Uhuru park? Why should we be prosecuted for taking a nice photo of Thika Road?
Or of University Way?
I know I can be a very good photographer but what is around me, the forces restraining my masterly in art are so powerful that I forever remain yoked to downward growth and incompetence. It is high time the government does something to protect the rights of photographers. I call unto ICT authority, BAKE, Article 19 or whatever NGO is out there, we need to grow, we need to be free, we need to express the love of our country. A borrowed confiscated camera is a pain, not in the ass but in the heart. Cameras are damn expensive. While others are servicing luxury loans, we are servicing camera loans, gadgets that compliments the passion burning deep within us. Let us be. A camera is not a gun.
Again, Bikozulu, Sakaja, thank you for the inspiration, you are the people making me do this in the first place. I have received many photo credits just because I followed your advice.