Jacky, My Love

I was reading another blogger’s post about that type of girl, now, for all those who don’t know who that type of girl is, she’s the one that acts like the sun shines through her cleave. That spoilt rich girl that goes horse riding just to pass time. We all know these types, those that will never foot the bill on a date although they’ll go home in a taxi, nay, cab- saying taxi is just too mainstream for them. Are you thinking of someone? I know I am, yes Wanjiku, it is you.

And then there is Jacky. She has always been there for me in this path that is photography. If there’s any truth to the saying that black is beauty then Jacky is the perfect example. Sometimes she gets intimidated because among her peers she is small in stature. I look at her and I just want to put her out of her misery, to hide her; she tells me it’s fine all I have to do is to hold her and not feel sorry for her. She tells me to love her for whom she is and with time I truly have.

She waits patiently with me for the perfect moments, and every time I tell her how proud I am to have her when we get that shot right. When we miss those moments, it’s a sad time for both of us but she pushes me to carry on. Let’s not go back home, not just yet, she tells me. Jacky has night blindness too, I’ve been trying to get to the root of this problem but I can’t. Let’s just say I understood that Legend guy when he talked about perfect imperfections. I’m trying to be as sweet as possible here but by now I’m sure you’ve figured I’m talking through a hat.

Before I go on, maybe I should tell you who Jacky really is. Before the wife starts asking who is this Jacky. (Although she never reads any of my posts) Jacky is my Lumix FZ18. Jacky is my camera. So maybe you’re wondering why the name Jacky. Well there is a story here. You might want to sit down for this.

You know that song, is it called Night shift?-I don’t know. It goes something like this, “gonna be some sweet love, sweet lo-ve, on the night shift” you know it right? There’s a Jacky somewhere there. So anyway this camera belonged to my old man. We were going back home from-somewhere- and this song was playing on the radio when he asked me if I wanted to have it. At that time the word photographer didn’t mean that much to me. So I said yes and the rest is history. Ok maybe it’s not worth sitting down for but still, Jacky over Wanjiku any day.

This is Jacky
This is Jacky

I now take this chance to bid farewell to one Eddie Wanyoike, a former classmate of mine; May his soul rest in peace eternally.

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LETTER TO A PHOTOGRAPHER

The journey ahead
The journey ahead

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“Pain is temporary; it may last for a minute, an hour, a day or even a year but eventually it will subside and something else will take its place. If I quit however it will last forever.”

Dear photographer,

Today you will haul yourself out of bed at about 8 a.m. you will pull your camera from its charger and you will pack it in its bag. You will trudge a dusty road on your way to the stage where you will get into a matatu with loud gospel music. It has one of those stickers written, God bless the work of my hands. You are already sweating albeit the deo that you slapped on a few minutes before. (Mike Laria, do you see how we use the word albeit?)

When you get off you will walk around looking up and the beauty of the city will amaze you. How the skyscrapers blend in with the sky, the pattern of the clouds, magic. You take out your camera and you will begin to click away amid stares from all over. This would make you uneasy but your earphones are plugged in and you’re listening to something from J Cole because his music puts you in your element.

If they look at the direction in which you point your lens they will ask why, because they don’t see what you see, they don’t understand and yet you can’t give that question an answer that’s 100% because it is all mysterious art to you and you are deeply in love.

Photographer you will see a great piece of architecture and you can’t resist wanting to know how it would look in your screen. Just as you are pressing the capture button, the guard of the building will stop you and he will want to know why you are taking pictures of ‘his’ building. His name is Titus. Titus asks you if you are Al-Shabaab. “Yes I am, we’re planning to blow up your building.’’ You tell him it’s a school project and he says it is ok but warns you not to capture his face. Oh Titus, I have nothing to do with your face. But there are days you will almost get arrested and you will give up your lunch money.

You will bump into one or two old friends, maybe even-God forbid- an ex who didn’t really share in your enthusiasm about your craft. They are doing some fancy course like aviation or something because they were better than you in Math and they look like they are moving up in the world. At this point you feel like you’ve been kicked in the teeth, you are sweating, your mouth is dry, and you are hungry you could eat a horse. You will lie and say you got a contract with some big company because really you feel ashamed you haven’t done anything substantial with your life as compared to them. Yes, doing accounts is quite the achievement.

Photographer, these things will happen to you for a long time and it will get to a point you will question the worth of it all. You will wait patiently for your big break but for now you have to do your time. The struggle continues. Don’t quit. Just a little bit longer now, you will get there.

Merc

MISSED CHANCES

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Over time I have learnt that, as a photographer the moments you try to capture won’t always be perfect. There are times you don’t quite get it as you imagined it and it gets you to the gut. You curse but that’s all you’ll do. It’s gone. You here that voice of that ex saying, move on. And it’s never fun to move on from a good moment that you would have captured yet you don’t shut that lens, you stare down at it and say, “there’ll be another.’’ But when you do get them you walk around like the sun shines through your lens.

On this day I come across two children skipping their way home after school. I doubt either of them is even ten. A boy and a girl, brother and sister I presume. I’m not going to lie and say that this reminded me of myself, no, at that age I could always find my Dad waiting outside school to take me home. I could tell that they were going to walk a long way because I didn’t see any house nearby. Even then they still laughed and played around like they were in an amusement park. I’m impressed at this display of endurance.

This would make for a good story, I think; so I pull out the camera from its bag (I’ve been thinking of writing a piece about this bag by the way) and everything, the sky, everything just comes together. And then, like greased lightning, (always wanted to use that one) like clockwork, a car comes out on the side of the road to spoil this moment of bliss. At this point I’m as mad as a hatter. If you look very closely above the bumper you will those kids (one in white). I know you wonder why I didn’t just take another shot, the traffic thought it convenient to suddenly start moving.

Oh well, there’ll be others.

For Better For Worse

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You see this picture here? Allow me to digress. I hate weddings. They make the day really long especially when you’re not involved in any way. You’re the one sitting at the back of the congregation because the bride is the cousin of the uncle to your mother. It would be easier for everyone for the two to go sign some papers in a government office and then invite everyone else for nyama choma and beer later. But hey, that’s just my opinion.
Ok, back to the photo. It’s a warm Saturday afternoon sometime in November. I attend this wedding, ok, reception to this wedding (the church part skipped me). The groom is a friend of mine, let’s call him Robert. The bride we’ll call Catherine.
So Robert and Catherine aren’t here when I arrive. I hear they’ve gone for a photo session somewhere else, yet I trudge everywhere around this place with a camera around my arm, sigh.
Almost twenty minutes later I hear distant singing. Finally, they’re here. I struggle to get close enough to where they are yet I don’t take any shot. I look closely, waiting for the perfect moment. All this time my camera has its colour effect turned to red only. In the shot, only the red of the tie-or is it orange?-of the groom stands out. I had fun in this one though, the food was amazing.
To Robert and Catherine we wish a happy marriage.

SUNSETS

I always find shooting at sunset very fascinating. It’s that magic hour. I wait every day for this hour. I’d share what I think of sunrise but that’s about 6.30, now that’s a very ungodly hour don’t you think?

Anyway I like to get out once in a while in the evening to watch the sunset, cup of tea in hand-chai ya saa kumi-am I the only one who has those?

It’s the end of the day and sometimes I don’t get a single shot of anything the whole day, maybe attributed to my love for the indoors but still, even on the rare occasions that I get out, it happens. I can always count on the sun to give me great silhouettes.

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