Kenyan photographer - A talk with Sam Mutembei

Photographers don’t like wasting their power of speech in expressing themselves since visual story telling is as powerful as using language. You will see them in daring places like on mountain tops or in the wild trying to capture a moment. Now, this guy Sam Mutembei, the Founder and CEO of Creative Lab Africa calls his work a ‘chill pill’, he doesn’t look like a photographer because of his height, bushy face (joke) and a slow kind of trait, but his prolific taste in photo styles and touch make him one of the best photographers in Africa – no jokes though.

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Retouched portrait

The Actuarial  Science student believes in the art of storytelling which is limited when it comes to mathematics. He’s currently building his photography company; Creative Lab Africa which has a number of artistic projects like photography meets fitness (Ripped) and other visual storytelling initiatives.

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Ripped project

Kenyan Story crew had an opportunity to interact with Sam Mutembei  in his studio. The interview session was very long – but less talk – more clicks.

How did you develop an interest in photography?

I have always loved taking photos. Though, towards end of last year while working as a social media manager for a hotel in Meru, I bought my first camera because I needed better photos for the social media pages.

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Sam Mutembei

Tell me something about photography equipment. I prefer using controlled Nikon equipment and being in total control of my lighting. In photography, lighting is everything, if you have a good light then your photos will be great.

Do you collaborate well with second shooters or assistants? Yes. I prefer calling them colleagues. This is because I understand I have my shortcomings. Those I work with, we always complement one another.

Do you have any formal training? Yes. I underwent a two-month training at Versatile School of Photography.

Which is your favorite lens? Why? 70-200mm. I love it because of its zooming capability and it’s good for portraits.

What kind of tools do you use for post processing? Explain your work flow. I use Adobe Photoshop for all my post-processing work. I usually start by lighting and color correction. After that I proceed to detailed retouching. I usually try to get my composition right while shooting so as to reduce the aspect of much cropping.

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Retouched portrait

How do you educate yourself to take better pictures? Online tutorials, and daily practice.

Whose work has influenced you most? Karl Taylor

Exactly what it is you want to say with your photographs, and how do you actually get your photographs to do that? In all my photos, I usually want to express uniqueness, creativity and candidness. How I achieve that is by being a master of light and making sure that my subjects are so comfortable around while shooting

Some of his work 

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