As a photographer we are seamlessly seeking for gigs and opportunities in every corner just to make it possible to get our daily livelihood. We tend to pick up any call that comes our way hoping it to be better than the last ; The one where we worked over 8 hours only not to be paid for our services. Been there,done that!
We also tend to work really hard not only to feed our empty stomachs in this third world economy,but because we love the art of photography. Even in the midst of all the challenges , we tend to have one thing that has always been our bloodline in the photography business. I mean, if you don’t have a camera then you are not a photographer,right? Well, the same can be said about owning a camera. You can own a camera but that doesn’t make you a photographer.
It doesn’t matter if you own a camera for professional services or even for personal use. we all want safety. Safety for our equipment and our health.
Well, there seems to be a new challenge to achieve all this my friend. A couple of weeks ago, over 3 photographers have been robbed their equipment by a notorious group pretending to seek services from photographers. Esther Wanjiru was the latest victim to this gang who pretend to work for an EU organisation. He has managed to do all this through his sleek moves masquerading as a client seeking to hire photography equipments but later he and his partner in crime flashe a gun on your face and get away with all your hard earned equipment. The matter has been reported to the police and they are looking for the gang. Let’s just hope the police don’t let us down.
This man robbed photographer Eshter Wanjiru her equipment. This week alone, his gang has robbed 3 photographers,his accomplice has a gun. He poses as as an employee of a fake EU NGO or a camera buyer. Police are looking for him. pic.twitter.com/lAjhHd8Glz
Tools which are part of your life. The ones you’ve worked hard and acquired.
I ask my fellow Photographers to watch out for this and be careful and vigilant whenever something like this ever happens to one of us. We should be careful whenever dealing with people we don’t know well and even bring a friend if possible when meeting someone you really don’t know. This way we can save our livelihoods and keep on doing what we love and that is photography.
You are probably a photographer either abroad or just locally based and you want to know about Kenya laws on photography on the streets of Nairobi. Well, I am not sure what you really want to hear but all I know is that I have both good and bad news for you ‘Ma frend‘ I am going to start with the good news maybe to ease you up abit.
By now you have probably seen this tweet from Nairobi Governor; Mike ‘Sonko’ Mbuvi
So let me give you a little back story on the tweet, this was a reply to one of the many Nairobians whom have either been directly or indirectly affected by the harassment coming from the ‘Government’ on the streets. The Governor replied saying that Larry Asego’s wish of freely taking photos of Nairobi has been granted.
This got different opinions from different people on Twitter:
Just be careful with a blanket approval that could be exploited by terrorists. Let those who seek permission get it in person from ur office
If you cringed while reading HON KIBUCHI MWAI tweet don’t worry we are together on this one. It’s people like Mwai who only care about themselves and not about the livelihood and careers of other people. He was probably tweeting from his fully furnished office or pale archives but I am not here to talk about him.
Mike Sonko the Governor
So the good news is that the Governor said he is going to protect photographers. That’s it??!! Yes, that was my reaction too.
Let’s look at the bad side of the story now. As much as the message was shared on a verified twitter handle of the Governor, that does not mean anything when it comes to legal matters as Christopher said:
Tweeter is not legally binding, put that in law and we’ll be fine.
I fully support Christopher’s sentiments on this because trust me I have seen a couple of people still being harassed by the police or people masquerading as the police. This is a really an issue that most leaders do not want to talk about maybe due to the fact that it doesn’t affect them. That is where they get it wrong.
Photography and terrorism
Andy to those who think that Photography leads or promotes terror should focus. (Pun intended) There are so many photos of Nairobi or any other city in that case that are being published both in Kenya and abroad; even in Mogadishu News papers. If photos are the problem then we could all be dead by now.
I just hope the government of Kenya looks into this issue and urgently protect both professional and amature photographers. They are our only hope. Photography has nothing to do with terror and we should be allowed to freely document our country without any harassments. This are our jobs and livelihood. We don’t want to brag about promoting tourism yet. That’s a story for another day.