Permits are expensive making us to opt for another way out, we would rather risk taking pictures across scenic Nairobi landscapes, get apprehended by authorities who demand hefty bribes and payouts, if you aren’t able to meet their demands they confiscate your camera.
My name is John Nduati Wanjiku am a 23 year old journalism student at Tangaza University college, a constituent college of Catholic University of Eastern Africa at the same time am a Nairobi based freelance photographer.This is my story…….
I ventured into photography in 2015 as a right hand person for my honcho Jeff BurleyNyamai, CEO Supreme Media as his understudy. As time went by, I decided to buy my own equipment becoming my own boss. My parents offered a helping hand enabling me to purchase my first camera making it easy to kick start my solo photography career as much as I encountered challenges in the initial stages my eyes were set on the prize. It’s now three years of balancing photography alongside personal studies. That was my first bold step of my photography journey; I believe I have all that it takes to make my dreams a reality.
Currently, my camera is my office. I don’t have a physical studio but am working on getting one, a year from now. I do portraits, landscapes, cityscapes and events photography. I have developed a liking for portrait though since it is the kind of photography I do mostly as it takes place outdoors in the uncontrolled environment. I love outdoor photography because of my inclination towards blending people with nature, this explains why I don’t have an ‘office’ yet but soon as I said earlier I will have a roof that shelters my studio. According to legendary Elliot Erwitt, an American documentary photographer, photography is an art of observation, it’s about finding something interesting in an ordinary place and it has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with the way you see them.
My biggest inspiration to venture into photography business was due to positive appraisals as I used photos to evoking feelings, emotions and responses from the different people. That moment when a person sees my work and he or she is like ‘wow’ boosted my confidence and made me believe I can do even better on my own. That aside, I am also inspired to produce authentic images portraying nature bringing together the best out of individual clients since “a picture is worth a thousand words.”
Photography has opened many doors giving me a window of opportunities enabling me visit many places in Kenya, places I never even imagined I would go to, it has opened my world, changed my perspective and allowed me to meet new people from diverse backgrounds. I recently got some photography job that will enable me to expand my horizons as I will be forced to cross the border to Rwanda, making me an international photographer. Did you know that before photography came, nobody knew how they look like with their eyes closed? Therefore, it is all about burning candles at both ends to create lasting impressions at the very best.
Just like any other career, I do have some challenges but how one handles them makes the difference. Financially, some clients degrade photographers with meager payouts to them photography isn’t a job thus the reward is not appealing, you end up with peanuts after spending hours on intensive and exhausting work in some instances you work overnight. I have been in constant Cat-Catch-Mouse games with some of my clients who don’t pay as per the agreement. They pay less after submitting their photos promising to make it up but they end up vanishing in thin air. Another challenge we face as Nairobi based photographers is that one must get a permit in order to do photo-shoots around the city and its landscapes. The permits expensive making us to opt for another way out, we would rather risk taking pictures across scenic Nairobi landscapes, get apprehended by authorities who demand hefty bribes and payouts, if you aren’t able to meet their demands they confiscate your camera.
All in all we just have to be optimistic with our work. Every time I have my final product I get relieved. There was a time when I uploaded a portrait type of a photo on my social media accounts and tagged different people and organizations including my camera’s company, Nikon. The following day I woke up to find out that Nikon featured my photo on one of their social media accounts. It was an honour that I got recognition from the company.
I can now market my business as an emerging brand on matters professional photography to the public easily thanks to the vibrant digital space. I have social media accounts like Facebook, Instagram and Whatsapp. Find me on Facebook as John Nduati and my page, Nduati photography same to Instagram.
Lastly I am driven by the best at what I do and what I want to work on. I hope to have digital media company that deals with everything media.