10 Kenyan Photographers You Need To Be Following On Instagram (A list by @jaydabliu)
Hey guys. Just realized it's been more than a year since my last post (WOWZER... Where did time go?). As always, while I'm away, I seek inspiration from my favorite social platform.... Instagram. On the flipside, I get 90% of the work commissions I do from instagram. A lot of the world now looks towards the visual representation of yourself on social media when looking for people to work with. Instagram plays a HUGE role in that.
Kenya is one of those places that has not been left behind in this regard... In fact, to an extent, is setting trends and showing a lot of talent and promise. The world map has shrunk quite a bit in this digital age and these guys are a big part in giving Kenya that "WE ARE HERE" face. You know that face, right?
These are 10 Kenyan photographers that are always up to something interesting, do amazing work, make waves in Kenya and beyond, are an inspiration (to me and many that I know) for different reasons and that you need to be following on instagram (If you aren't already). To be clear, this is not a ranking...And is specific to photographers (As in those who practice photography for a living). More lists of other inspiring artforms will be coming soon as well.
10. sebastian wanzalla (@wanzalla)
Sebastian is a photographer and designer whose work ranges from portraiture to landscapes. His use of light is amazing and the storytelling in his images, superb. He's done amazing work for commercial and humanitarian organizations and was part of the 5 photographers who shot for Safaricom Capture Kenya in 2015
9. Joseph...simply known as @thanabster
An amazing photographer, a visualist (It's not a word but yes). Nabo, as his friends like to call him, is a visual orator who sees the beauty in the mundane. His minimalist style of creating images and bringing the beauty of fine art to life is uncanny. Nabo also owns a talent agency and relishes the opportunity to make art out of every day scenes. In his own little way.
8. Thandiwe Muriu (@thandiwe_muriu)
Thandiwe is one of my absolute favourites... A lover of dark skin and proud of it. She holds editing workshops every now and then which are literally sold out in minutes. I almost made the cut one time (One day, mum *sob*). One of the most sought after portrait and fashion photographers in Nairobi, her work speaks volumes.
7. Mwangi kirubi (@mwarv)
One of the three peeps who actually got me started in photography, "Mwarv" is a documentary and travel photographer who is always up for exploring our beautiful continent. His work spans from humanitarian work to little known places in Kenya to portraits of the Kenyan president. Being an avid traveler, he's one of the founding members of OneTouch (which is a collective of photographers, filmmakers and graphic artists that regularly travel Kenya and beyond)
6. Jacquie mwai (@j.mwai)
EVERYONE loves food... As far as I know at least.. and there's nothing like seeing food through Jacquie's eyes. I absolutely love how she can make a cookie look so elegant and tasty through moody tones and exquisite angles. She has made art out of everything edible. My taste buds are tingling right now just seeing this *SLURP*
5. khadija farah (farahkhad)
Nothing is as powerful in an image as the story it tells about the people, things or places in it. Now add amazing photography aesthetics and VOILA... Farah understands this and every single photo I have seen from her has either provoked a thought, elicited an emotion or made me want to go there.
4. Trevor Jerry (TJ a.k.a @the_mentalyst)
Trevor rhymes with travel (No it doesn't... Yes it does...Let's move on, this isn't going anywhere...but Trevor is). The question we should be asking is, "Where is Trevor right now?". His amazing take on the places he visits and the people he meets is what sets him apart. He doesn't put Kenya on the map...He posts the map of the world in Kenya.
3. sarah waiswa (@lafrohemien)
It just hit me what a phoet is (OMG!! S.L.O.W).. A photo poet (So proud of myself right now). That's exactly what Sarah is. An African Nomad..A Poet with her photos. She's a documentary and travel photographer whose work encompasses the portrayal of being African as a proud thing. She wears Africa on her sleeve and she wears it well.
2. Mutua matheka (@truthslinger)
This may go without saying but, Mutua is an inspiration to many photographers and artists in general. Little known fact, he was also one of the first few Kenyan photographers that joined instagram when it was launched and made it (and photographing Nairobi) popular in these parts (Wassup OG, triple OG). With a background in architecture, Mutua has taken his love for straight lines and eye for detail and translated it into his photography... making his storytelling very intentional and pleasing to the eye. Mutua has made content for some of the top tech organizations in the world including Samsung and Huawei .
He's also embarking on the first part of #UnscramblingAfrica, an African road trip project to photograph African cities (Which I'm also a part of....*wink*)
last but not least... oh wait... a few honorable mentions
Before we cap off this list, in true WatchMojo fashion, here are a few honorable mentions (Because this list is not complete without these guys)
Lyra Aoko (@lyraoko)
One of the hardest workers I've seen in the photography industry, Lyra is an incredible portrait, fashion and commercial photographer. Her use of light and colours to make her subjects stand out is beautiful to see. Always up to interesting projects, she has a natural light studio in construction at the time of this post to be unveiled in January 2018 (Which I can't wait to use).
Peter Ndung'u (@petersize10)
An award winner and amazing content creator for a famous Nairobi restaurant, Peter is always challenging himself, going places and doing the unthinkable...Like shooting in the rain. His unique take on Nairobi city life during rainy season got featured on Okay Africa.
1. osborne macharia (@osborne_macharia)
After recently attending an exhibition of his most recent project called NO TOUCH AM (at the time of this post...Because he is always up to something), if I wasn't already in awe before... that pretty much sealed it. Dude had grass and trees GROWING in the exhibition... (pause for emphasis..)
His work transcends borders and is probably one of the most recognized Kenyan photographers around the world. Mentioned alongside Sarah Waiswa as Africa's next generation influencers on CSA Global, the accolades don't stop.
And that's it for our list. Who else do you think should be on this list? Do let me know below.
Remember to follow me on instagram, @jaydabliu, and check out some of my work. More lists coming soon.