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Storitellah

Interview with Brian Otieno

Interviews

09 June 2017

Posted by Ana Maria Nica

Hi Brian! Tell us about yourself in two sentences - who are you?

I am a freelance photojournalist and documentary photographer living in Kibera, Nairobi, Kenya. My journey into photography started 3 years ago when I finished high school. While walking around my neighbourhood, I would see lots of interesting things happening, both the good and the bad, and I felt the need to document and share with the world these Stories From Kibera – the place where I was born and bred.

What's the weirdest situation you've found yourself in while taking a photograph?

One of the weirdest and strangest situations I have found myself in as a photojournalist is when I was confronted by a group of police officers while covering a rally in Nairobi. That moment I had just taken some photos of them while they were arguing with supporters of a political coalition, I was forced to delete and format everything I had captured (and I had only one compact flash card) despite futile attempts to have a reasonable talk with them.

What do you shoot on? What's your favourite set up?

I shoot with 2 bodies, a Canon 5D mark II and 700D which I have had for almost 2 years now. 700D is light and produces clean images and I really like it a lot. I use a 50mm, 28mm and the standard kit lenses that comes with the camera. I still haven’t discovered my favorite setup yet, but I have been shooting on Aperture Priority (AV) for a long time, sometimes I will go full manual, sometimes, I just use the inbuilt camera modes like “sport mode” because it doesn’t release the pop up flash (which I don’t like) and it captures the images in burst. I use natural light since most of the time I am in the streets, I recently got myself a reflector, just so as to experiment with something new.

What's your number one tip for an aspiring photographer?

Be sure of what you are shooting, when you have good composition you already have a good photo, and it’s not always just about taking the photos, understand the rules and the business sides too. The latter, I am struggling with.

What's the one thing you love most about Picfair?

What you ask for is what you get and you can change this repeatedly. The freedom that comes with it is just amazing.

"Stephen Okoth also known as Ondivour is a film maker and photographer, besides that, he’s also a devoted fashionista. He inspires a generation on the rise through his way of fa... Read more

"Stephen Okoth also known as Ondivour is a film maker and photographer, besides that, he’s also a devoted fashionista. He inspires a generation on the rise through his way of fashion and style. Most ordinary people still don’t understand why he dresses in the most colorful and vintage outfits all the time. I documented him to find the inspiration behind his dressing, to challenge stereotypes and to portray the slum in good light. His style brings so much hope and vibrancy to the slum people and that’s how he’s known all over Kibera." Read less

Camera outline

Brian Otieno

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"There are no swimming pools in the slum, but slum kids would always turn any large water body into a swimming pool. This is a photo I took of kids swimming in the murky pool wa... Read more

"There are no swimming pools in the slum, but slum kids would always turn any large water body into a swimming pool. This is a photo I took of kids swimming in the murky pool waters formed because of heavy rains after a pit was left open by road builders near Kibera. Although the water is not clean, most children still enjoy swimming there, but now the pool has since been filled up with soil and stones." Read less

Camera outline

Brian Otieno

Licences available

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Editorial & personal use

£38.74

"It’s difficult to tell my favorite, but I like this photo I took in Kibera of children going to school while the sun was rising in the background. It’s so strong and tells us s... Read more

"It’s difficult to tell my favorite, but I like this photo I took in Kibera of children going to school while the sun was rising in the background. It’s so strong and tells us something about hope and determination, that education is truly the light. I captured this photo in January 2017 when schools had just opened for the first term of the year, although the railway line in Kibera is always busy, I like the fact that nobody stared into my camera when I was getting this shot, it was as if the photographer wasn’t there to capture this moment of determination and so much hope. The sunrise also made this look so dreamy." Read less

Camera outline

Brian Otieno

Licences available

Editorial bold

Editorial

Editorial & personal use

£38.74

"There are so many photos showing the overview of Kibera on the internet, majority of the images show its corrugated rooftops, depicting poverty and portraying the slum in a bad... Read more

"There are so many photos showing the overview of Kibera on the internet, majority of the images show its corrugated rooftops, depicting poverty and portraying the slum in a bad light. Yes, all that is true, but also this place is full of dreams and so much potential, this photo shows you the overview of Kibera that is not so common in the mainstream media. There are so many photos I have taken from this spot, but this one still stands out." Read less

Camera outline

Brian Otieno

Licences available

Standard bold

Standard

Editorial, personal, marketing

£38.74

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