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Street photography in Nairobi

Heading back to Nairobi for a second time to cover missions projects. Most will be in rural areas where taking photos is not a big deal, but does anyone have experience in the city itself? I have taken photos from the car, but what about walking around on the streets? I am 6’4" tall and white, so I stick it like a sore thumb. I know not to shoot military or security types, but what about general safety and the responsiveness of folks having their pictures taken? I will be accompanied by a fixer, but I am interested in any info you all can provide. Am I simply asking for trouble?

by Christopher Scrivens at 2012-01-04 02:16:19 UTC | Bookmark | | Report spam→

Hey Christopher,

If you’re going to be in rural areas with a fixer, should be no problem- as long as he knows the community or can accurately explain why you are taking photos. People mostly want to know why… street photography is hard here for that reason, especially in Nairobi. People tend to not like their photos taken in the cities… because they have no idea why you want to take their photo, they think you’re making money off them, etc..

I would say just rely on your good fixer to help assess the situation and get you out of trouble if anyone wants to cause it. Really though, not a huge problem. No one is going to get aggressive.

Good luck,

by Jonathan Kalan | 04 Jan 2012 13:01 | Nairobi, Kenya | | Report spam→
Thanks Jonathan, seems like common sense and slight caution rule the day once again. (plus a good fixer). I think that because of my ability to stand out in a crowd of Kenyans, I am more apt to begin conversations and be humbly forward with people, because they are noticing me anyway, “mazunga!” That helps to alleviate a bit of tension and I have mostly found kenyans to be responsive to a friendly gesture.

by Christopher Scrivens | 04 Jan 2012 14:01 | New Jersey, United States | | Report spam→
hahahah not Mazunga but Muzungu,,,,,,am a fixer based in kenya ,been around over 12 yrs as a fixer in Doc’s, Tvcs and feature and speak seven local tribes…am available if you need a fixer,
trimwah@yahoo.co.uk 0r +254722718425

by Tony Rimwah | 11 Feb 2012 21:02 | kenya, Kenya | | Report spam→
Christopher, perhaps you could lose some height. Maybe drop down to 5’6" or so.

by Barry Milyovsky | 11 Feb 2012 23:02 | Manhattan, United States | | Report spam→
Thanks for the tip, Barry, but this begs that unfortunate, yet perennial question, “From which end do your remove the excess?”

by Christopher Scrivens | 12 Feb 2012 00:02 | New Jersey, United States | | Report spam→
A good point, Christopher. Just another example of my theories having no basis in reality.

by Barry Milyovsky | 12 Feb 2012 15:02 | Manhattan, United States | | Report spam→
Was out there late last year…my experience was very good…if you’re out on the streets very very early in the morning then I found the locals were mostly very friendly and welcoming (I should say that I had to have an armed guard…but he stayed in the background!!!). Just go for it AND if you do have a fixer then don’t doubt their advice!

by Jim Grover | 15 Feb 2012 21:02 | London, United Kingdom | | Report spam→

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Christopher Scrivens, Pastor, Missionary Christopher Scrivens
Pastor, Missionary
(Rank Amateur)
Chester, Nj , United States
Jonathan Kalan, Photojournalist Jonathan Kalan
(Always on. )
Cairo , Egypt
Tony Rimwah, kenyan Fixer Tony Rimwah
kenyan Fixer
Kenya , Kenya
Barry Milyovsky, totally unprofessional Barry Milyovsky
totally unprofessional
(emperor of ice cream )
New York , United States
Jim Grover, Jim Grover
[location unknown]


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