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Case: Kibera Stories interview

Case: Kibera Stories Interview
So the first time I remember picking up a camera  was this camera which was in my aunt’s place   so I will check it most of the time  then walk around and take photos with it   but in 2013 after I finished my high school   I had this cell phone which I was given by my mom  and and he had a camera so I had this passion for   photography and I will always walk around  my neighbourhood and taking photographs   with that cell phone and sharing them on social  media on Facebook and then there was this time   I had so many photos in that in that phone then  I was looking at them then that’s the that’s the   time the idea of Kibera stories came you know.  I went on social media on Facebook opened a   Facebook page called Kibera stories I went on  Twitter opened a twitter account and called Kibera   stories I went on tumblr open a tumblr account and  WordPress I opened like all the accounts I called   them Kibera stories and I started posting images  there just like posting images and descriptions oh   this is Kibera this is the red line and there’s a  man passing there that’s when it started.
And then   slowly by slowly I managed to save some money  for about three months and then I got my first   digital camera it was an Nikon and I used that  camera to also like improve my skills that was my   first digital camera and I went and bought it with  with the money that I saved so that camera also   like with that camera I started producing  some high quality images you know I opened   an Instagram account and I liked Instagram  because it was visually attractive you know   you could see the photo and you could see  the story down there and people will always   react through the liking and the comment  and it was it was instagram actually that   that helped push my work out there you  know with the hashtags people will click   on hashtag Kibera and they’ll see images of  Kibera and all the images were of my images   and then through those images they will  see a different Kibera you know they’re not   Kibera the slum settlement but the images are showing  them something different but to still get Kibera.   Then i’ll get messages of people oh are you  a photographer are you are you do you live in   Kibera i’ll say I live in Kibera because most  people they always thought that Kibera stories   was some big NGO being run by some white person  somewhere in Europe until they see me let me see   this small boy oh your Kibera stories no.
And then  I started making connections with people you know   and they also helped like they would also  promote my work on social media you know   I just had this connection with people  and I built a lot of friendship you know   and I had my first I had i’m sorry so and I had my  first exhibition in Europe out of the connection   I made from Kibera stories so there was this  there’s this lady who saw my work Kibera stories   and she was really fascinated like she has never  seen anything like this you know the Kibera she   knows is a slum settlement with poverty, with crime  but my images were showing a different part it’s   the reality but it shows a different reality you  know that that not so many people expected so we   talked for some times and she was like ah we can  have an exhibition of this work you know in Europe   you know it’s a different it’s a different it’s a  different side of the slum which we we rarely see.  So in 2018 I had my first exhibition in  Paris it was my first time getting out of Africa   and it was a good experience also you know through  the photography I’ve also managed to travel   for work you know and the Kibera stories that  Instagram page that I opened and my work from   Kibera it helps it acts like my portfolio my  online portfolio people will always go there or   people are looking for photographers in Nairobi  they will always bump into my photos and they’re   like oh you’re the person that we are looking  for so we have this project somewhere in Meru   and we want you to go and photograph it oh we  have this project in Malawi we want you to go   and photograph it your style and i’m proud of that  because when I was growing up I when I started as   a photographer I was always imagining like where  will I get to this I always wanted to be this   war photographer you know I only wanted to go  to those hard knock places you know because I   believe that like photojournalism more documentary  photography was always the bad stuff you know the   hard stuff but then through my project I realized  that oh you can do stories from your neighbourhood   and that’s it gonna get you out there you know  if you are if you have a vision.
Yeah and that   that was that was also that happened because of  social media which is which i’m proud of.

Watch this second video about Kibera Stories to hear more from Brian Otieno about how this project began and what is different about his approach to photojournalism.

  • How do you think the photos taken by Brian Otieno might be different from those taken by people who have not been brought up in Kibera? Why might those differences matter?

  • To what extent do you think Kibera Stories aligns with the concept of ‘self-determination’ introduced earlier?

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