On Saturday 28th May this year, I graduated from photography school. Yeah, that’s right (insert celebratory fist pump)! The day didn’t begin all bright and cheery though. The air at home approached Alaskan temperatures at some point as the weather conspired against us. I absolutely hate cold so you can imagine this really put a damper on my mood. I remember thinking, ‘I’m not particularly excited about this, wish I could honestly say I’m happy but that isn’t true.’
Add to that the not-so-short walking distance from UoN main campus to Pawa 254 (graduation venue). My enthusiasm was below sea level! The sun had decided to come out in Nairobi- but walking in that sun meant sweating! Let’s just say I felt like a mess by the time I arrived.
Nevertheless, the ceremony went quite well. It was refreshing to hear the experiences from photographers who’ve gone before us. Relatable stories. Not the polished kind that social media likes to propagate. Real and unedited. You get? I was also ambushed to give an overview of my experience as a clicker in general, and as a former student. The struggles of being on stage!
A marvelous surprise was being named top student in my class…that was really cool. To me, this is one more confirmation that this is where I’m meant to be. You see, I began pursuing my interest in photography ‘late’ in life. It’s not one of those things I grew up wanting to do. Yes I loved pictures but, being a photographer? That was never on the cards. 3 years ago though the bug to dive into this art bit- and bit hard. They say passion finds you and fighting it is just delaying the inevitable. I agree.
The interest kept growing exponentially until I was engulfed in flames (yes, flames!) last year and ended up buying my first DSLR. To use the words of one photographer I really admire: I was broke, but I was happy. For the first time in weeks I had a proper night’s sleep that day. No kidding. Now it was time to put into practice what I’d been reading about on photography blogs. First task was to make friends with my manual. Yes, I actually read manuals. I wanted to learn as much as possible within the shortest time.
After about a month I laid down the manual and became more comfortable shooting without referring to it. Needless to say my brothers were my first models (haha!). From there I went on shooting anything and everything. All this time my family couldn’t understand why I was so much into photography (and to some extent, neither could I). It was something far-fetched for me to do considering what I studied in campus. But as stated earlier, fighting passion is futile. Trust me.
Determined is one word that describes me. When I decide to do something, only a drastic outcome could change my mind. So here I was, learning from every avenue I could find. Blogs, practice and the highly acclaimed Youtube University. Asking friends and even strangers to invite me to shoot with them. By God’s grace I was invited to be part of Mavuno Church photography team- a subject for another day. I was hungry. Soaking up information like a sponge. I wanted to ‘hit the ground running’.
But all good things take time. There are days life seemed to come to a standstill. Questions about whether I made the right choice flooded my mind. About what I’d do next. About what I’d specialize in shooting. About how (and if) I could make a career from this. The stories of those who have made it in this field kept me going. It took them several years to get where they are, but the wait was well worth it.
So now I just focus on doing what I love, and trust God that the answers will unravel with time. Nature is my favourite subject. Birds in particular. They seem to take life easy and no one tells them what to do (haha!). No stress about what to wear, how to make a living, etc. just taking one day at a time. They sound so happy to me! Have you ever seen a stressed bird?
I struggle a lot with not having all the answers. This girl likes having everything figured out from the beginning. But that’s not how life goes, ei? Watching and shooting my feathered friends reminds me to take each day as it comes, and to trust that everything will be fine. (God’s got me!)
Thanks for reading!