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Photography

Portrait Session: Like an Ivy

There are friends who grow on us like an ivy – slowly but surely. We look back after a couple of years and we find that their name covers more than just a few memories. They were there for you on lazy afternoons in uni, and during the interesting and difficult times and they were there when you fell for someone so hard and they saw you go the full length of a range of emotions – from being intrigued, to fantasy, to being whipped aka swept off your feet, to losing the blinders and seeing that maybe that interest was not all you made them out to be, to healing and moving on and doing the whole thing over and over until you outgrow the outraging passions of being a young adult and settle into a mold that you like. 

That is the type of friendship that we have shared with Ivy – she and I are less of peas in a pod, and more like different blooms – true to our names, she is an ivy, and I a daisy. She is the calm composed rational one, and I am the daisy – the vibrant, dramatic, intense and impulsive one. Her existential beliefs, her background, her interests are quite largely different from mine, and she reads my poems as a placebo editor as should friends of poets though I know she would rather not on a  normal day. Once I invited her for Mass, and after I asked her how was it, and she told me – honestly, it was very ritualistic. And that was that. though she did like the disposition of the priest and the community of faith I belong to at large.

   

 She studied mechanical engineering, and I civil engineering in the same uni, and that is how we met. I do not recall the instant we met, but she was the roommate of a former high-school mate of mine, and we shared mutual acquaintances, and some classes and somewhere between class and the hostels, a friendship blossomed and still continues to blossom more than 6 years later.

Now that life is becoming divergent after uni, and it becomes harder and harder to keep up with our friends like we would when we had the advantage of proximity in thought and distance, making time to see those who matter to me has become top priority. I like to squeeze as much as I can from the time I get to spend with those I love. So when I was in Nairobi for the holidays, the same evening after going to the Murumbi Art Gallery, running some errands, and spending some time at Garden City Mall with my family, I went for a sleepover at hers, and the next day, we went for a nature walk close to where she lives, where there is an old railway line and a planted forest of considerable size. The most interesting thing is that she was not even aware of the rail track though it is less than 20 meters away from where she lives, and I really enjoyed exploring the planted forest-of -sorts and we had to pass through a hole in a barbed fence (aka trespass but there was no “do not trespass” sign) and we went and went until we came upon old dilapidated  houses, and a clearing that had remnants of demolished houses and that is where we took these shots. 
We then went further,
and Ivy decided that we should not tempt fate when we felt the hairs at the back of our necks stand the further we went and we came upon houses that seemed like they had occupants. I agreed with her when a couple of young men passed us in silence, and we felt like we should definitely turn back. 
What seemed to come out of a horror movie is when an old lady stood at the opening we used to get into the fenced forest – she stood still, and we did too in turn, while asking ourselves if she was looking at us or going on about her business. The standstill came to a halt, when we saw two young boys join her and they came into the clearing, and we took that as cue from the universe to leave. And leave we did, with these amazing shots, the memory of a morning well spent bonding and enjoying the morning sun, and discovering the less known parts of a town that had brought us together. 

To book a portrait session, email me at simplymoraa@gmail.com

Portrait Session: Fatou from The Gambia

Fatou and I met at the Murumbi Heritage Collection, and as there only one guide at the time, we ended up getting to acquaint ourselves. She is a lawyer by profession, and has been in Kenya the past few months to advance her education  at the African Leadership Centre (she showed me shots of her wearing the lawyer’s gown and cap). What I liked about her was her openness, and warm vibrance. She was also very camera friendly, and I enjoyed taking these shots of her. 
While I liked the currency and paintings side of the Art Gallery, she liked the fabrics and their colour more notably because she is from West Africa. And we all know that West Africans like bold colourful prints on their African fabric. Heck, it is no wonder that the Ankara hails from those sides. 
It was a bummer for her that she had worn plain neutral colours which I like, and would include in my wardrobe with glee. And when I told her this, she joked they are the British colours, and that she has noticed most Kenyans wear these “dull colours” and could be quite invariably because we inherited that colour bias from our colonizers the British. She is a cheeky one!
  

For those who are not well aware about The Gambia, it is a West African country, the smallest country in the mainland of Africa, and it is entirely surrounded by Senegal except along its western Atlantic Ocean coastline. Other than the Bahamas, The Gambia is the other country that uses the article “The” officially as a short standing name without the accessory ” Republic of”. Despite being the smallest country, with a population of about 2 million people, a third of them lived under the international poverty line of US $1.25 a day a decade ago. Their economy is mostly dominated by tourism, and supplemented by farming and fishing.

For these next portraits, we used my laptop as a prop for these nerdy/blogger shots, and they came out very well. I like the contrast between her and the background, and how well the decor of the Point Zero coffee shop accentuate the shots.

To book a portrait shoot, contact me at simplymoraa@gmail.com.

Intention in a Fast-Paced World

Sunday Bites: Pace in a fast world

My creative work production process is very deliberate.

I work backwards and forwards.

For instance, I jot down poem lines that come to me, that appeal to me, and I keep jotting down different feelings and observations about something that strikes me or is of concern to my welfare – and this can go on for months, years, – and then one day, it all clicks, and the poem that seemed as separate poems becomes one. I realized that this is my method of creation sometime mid 2015. So now I am more patient and attuned to myself & how I create.

Or with photography, that I decided to take more seriously in December 2015. I take photos of things that appeal to me – mostly buildings, and things – exactly that, things, like barbed wire silhouettes and reflections and the blue sky –yes, just the blue sky. And after the first selections, I shelve them in my digital compartments and wait for weeks or months before I can revisit them again. During the revisit, I go through them slowly and in such instances I find that I can say – yes, this is the image I want or no, this did not quite come out well, what was I thinking? And I laugh at and with myself.

Or with my personal essays – I have a notebook filled, and I am halfway through another – which when I write I find is a chance for further introspection, as though the intense life introspections I do while journaling or as I go on about life are not enough. I write the essays and let them simmer. For a while. Sometimes I forget about them, and then one day, I start to write them again, and some fuse into each other, and others separate and others just crumble into mere words.

I like working like this. I like that I have learnt to be patient with the work and with myself. I like that I have the liberty to enjoy working like this. Especially now that there is social media and it feels as though production is for mass consumption. I have this impression that artists are under the pressure to constantly produce, constantly entertain, and constantly be on the social media feeds loop.

Me, I choose to let that social media train leave me at the station. My aim is to produce the best I can and since I do not want mediocre plastered all over me, I will take my sweet time.