By Rose Kwamboka
Ogopa signed singer Moustapha recently got himself in trouble after Pulse exposed photos of him posing with a nude girl.
The controversial photos sparked heat from the girl’s family that demanded a withdrawal of the photos from the Internet besides an explanation by the Kupe singer. They said the girl, a model, was being portrayed as immoral and of sexual indecency.
Leading socialites Hudda Monroe and Vera, had posted their nude photos on the official social pages in previous months provoking emotions of many followers.
Another socialite Ephy, followed the trend and before we knew it, nude art was becoming the in-thing in Nairobi.
Just who is behind this nude photography? Many now wonder, posing questions as to how one strips naked in front of a cameraman to take a shot.
Well, even as nude photography comes of age, the art of taking photos is becoming a lucrative business as celebrities and other players in the glamour world strive for image change.
From weddings, landscapes and indoor photography, top photographers are now in for the big kill. Just who are the top guys in the business?
KEVIN BUO, 21
Company name: Buo Art.
Specialty: Nude photography.
Celebs he has worked with: Huddah, Moustapha and Vera.
Currently a Graphics Design student at the University of Nairobi, the self proclaimed young achiever got himself a niche in nude photography last year. Most of his work is showcased on sites frequented by the elite and upmarket class. However, he surprisingly charges quite affordable fees. Though his photography is limited to indoor shoots only, he describes his venture as fun. “Nude doesn’t mean explicit. It is a form of expression,” he says. His works are, however, posted on his page on the clients consent, which has to be in writing.
BEN KIRUTHI, 29
Company name: Weddings by Ben Kiruthi/ Faithful Frames.
Celebs he has worked with: Brenda Wairimu, Willy Paul, Chris Eh Baba and Avril.
Awards: Wedding photographer of the year 2012 and second runners up, Photographer of the Year 2012.
The born again Christian took a permanent break from fashion photography late last year to pursue wedding photography on a full-time basis, as this is what he describes as his ‘first love.’ The fact that he does nothing short of high fashion bridal photos, has put him in the most sort after wedding photographer in Nairobi’s list. For Sh125,000, he can make you a wedding you a memorable wedding and as he sets to tie the knot next year, the question arises; ‘Who will take photos at his wedding that will match his works?’
FRANCIS GITHINJI, 26
Company name: Senji Photoz.
Specialty: Weddings and real estate photography.
Celebs he has worked with: Juliani, Ruth Matete and Wyre.
Amid constant practice, he nurtured his raw talent by attending The Kenya Institute of Mass Communication to perfect this art. As such, he learnt to play by the rules before he could play from the heart, as is evident from the words he stands by; ‘shoot what it feels, not what it looks like.’ Natural light works for him, preferring to take photos early in the morning or late in the evening for that wow effect. So far, most of his clientelle are sourced by word of mouth, with his work being mainly expressed on print.
LEON MUNYONYI MULI, 27
Company name: Leon Photography.
Specialty: Model portfolios and weddings.
Celebs he has worked with: P-Unit, Sauti Sol and Jaguar.
Taking after his father who was a photographer, he experiments a lot with light. His love for use of colour gels that, always giving photos exceptional effects a thing that sets him apart. He draws his inspiration mostly from movies that he finds so much creativity in. As a result, he watches a lot of big screen movies. He sources his clientele mainly through referrals and his sites www.leonmuli.com and www.leonmuli.com/blog.http://www.leonmuli.com/blog
JOE MAKENI, 27
Company name: Frontline Media.
Specialty: Environmental and on location portraiture.
Celeb he has worked with: Amani.
Recognition: Best photography blog of the year nominee, 2012.
Even with natural light, he prefers using artificial lighting on his subjects to make the images more interesting. While he draws most of his inspiration from online platforms like 500px, Deviant Art, Big Picture and Behance, local photography drives him to perfect his art.
“I want to show the world that Kenyans can make great art too,” he says adding: “The great photography in the local scene also works as positive peer pressure and drives me to perfect my art.”
THANDIWE MURIU, 22
Company name: Thandiwe Muriu photography.
Specialty: Fashion and beauty.
Recognition: Finalist at the fashion photographers exposé.
She first got into contact with a camera at 13, from where her love affair with it began. Her love for working with themes differentiates her from the rest, and takes her creativity to a whole new level. Dramatic lighting and playing around with colours inspire her to produce work that her clients fall in love with. This art she has learnt though extensive reading and perfected through practice. She attributes her being successful — in this male dominated world — to her God-given talent, and does not feel intimidated working with men.
OSBOURNE MACHARIA, 27
Company name: K63.
Specialty: Portraits and adverts.
Celebs he has worked with: Ajuma, Humphrey Khayange and Jason Dunford.
Recognition: Top Ten photographer of the year, 2012.
He says that though composition and editing takes time and requires thinking out of the box, the end result is worth every effort. He draws most of his creativity and inspiration from movies and the fact that he is a dreamer, and fantasises way too much have helped a great deal. His online presence and referrals have worked best as his clientelle source.
MUTUA MATHEKA, 29
Company name: Photography by Mutua Matheka.
Specialty: Architectural photography
Awards: Photographer of the year, 2012
Bearing an architectural background in studies from the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT), it is not hard to see how he comes up with amazing interior, adventure and city scape photos. The celebrated photographer brings out Africa’s beauty in a different light. He has been able to convert most of his work into android downloadable wallpapers. His long term plan is to go around the rural areas teaching photography and art to children. He sources most of his clients through architectural referrals and his website.
Half of this photographers are Moi Forces Academy graduates among them Mutua Matheka, Francis Githinji, Osbourne Macharia and Ben Kiruthi.
Joe Makeni, Ben Kiruthi, Osbourne Macharia and Mutua Matheka are JKUAT architecture graduates.
Apart from Kevin Buo and Thandiwe Muriu, the rest were ranked in photographers of the year awards 2012.