Photography in Kenya

A basic overview of photography in Kenya.

Photography is the art of creating images and photographs by recording light. Photos are visual records produced by the action of light on light-sensitive surfaces. A picture means "drawing with light."

Photography has become very popular in the world after great photographers took over and illustrated the photographic medium to be very simple, flexible and meaningful. Unlike when it had just invented wheresome critics viewed it as solipsistic, schematic and satanic.

Photography is a sub-sector that has advanced rapidly from the traditional film camera to the digital cameras, lights and editing tools that capture life’s moments or scenery that can tell about an event to the modern, experienced and technology-fueled photography. Photography as needs a lot of creativity, commitment and composition skills with technical knowledge.

The creative and industrious photographers have improved the Kenyan photography industry by use art, history, storytelling, our own culture, and digital awareness to produce high-quality photographs that are recognized locally and globally.

Consistent growth has been witnessed in the industry because of technology, easy accessibility and affordability of equipment in the market and thus many young people have chosen it as a career. In recent years,photographers have become part of professionals that are earning a lot of income from their businesses. Some photographers travel to different locations for shoots while others own working studios for artistic works, portraits and commercial shoots both locally and abroad.

Photographers in Kenya face some challenges like; obtaining a permit from the Department of Filming Services and go through a filming agent is a long process, it is where the Department of Urban Planning seat. There's a need to present a written letter to the Central Police Station stating what you'll be shooting, when and where you'll be taking by naming streets and roads. If you intend to block offsome streets or interfere with the flow of human or vehicular traffic, thenextra permissions will be needed.  

No one can take photos in ‘No photography in prohibited areas" anyone who goes against the warningrisks being arrested and charged. Official Secrets Act prohibits the taking of pictures is some areas like government buildings, military barracks, government armory or any place gazetted by the Ministry of Defense.

The following are permissions and restrictions that limit photographers.

Trespassing-Photographers should not trespass private lands, and property and public land to take photos without permission.

Security-Restrictions by security personnel are rampant and unwarranted. Some situations require a guard to restrict photography for safety purposes. A security guard will askfor your national ID, and you should respect this and abide by the law.

Peopleand property- taking photographs of people and some features is restricted in public places. Photographers are not allowed to take pictures of people without their knowledge and permissions. Printing, displaying and selling a photograph of a stranger is allowed as art. The owner must sign their photos to use in ads.

Piracy is another major issue in the creative industry. Pirates tend to copy other people arts and creativity on the internet without considering the effort the photographer used to get the final product.  Photography and visual arts have been affected in a significant way. Many creativity works have failed to be recognized due to piracy in the industry.

Kenyans have also failed to support the local photographers because the introduction of mobile phones has made work more accessible and anyone can take photos without getting aprofessional photographer.

The government should support the photography creative industry by providing training facilities andfunding workshops. Although it has implemented laws and protected  their copyrights and photography propertyrights.  The photography industry is  protected and regulated under Section 3 ofthe Copyright (Act Cap 130 of the Laws of Kenya), Article 31(b),(c),33 andarticle 34 Act of 2010 Kenyan constitution. This has made the industry behighly valued and attracted good market for the creative photographers.  

Photography in KenyaTwaweza Comunications

Twaweza Communications Limited is a strategic communication institution established in 2000 and based in Nairobi. We work in the areas of public policy, media and culture for sustainable development. We are committed to increasing public knowledge and action through research, training, advocacy and documentation for accessibility, agricultural policy, sustainable environment, equity in gender relations, accountable leadership and people centered governance.

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