From Ngong to Dallas – RAGS KANYI
I met today’s photographer on twitter, I guess social media does connect people. Kanyi Muraguri aka @RagsKanyi on twitter is a people photographer and I absolutely love his work so I got him to come through so we dissect him a bit.
ME: First, thanks for gracing us here with your presence, I appreciate the time. So, who is Rags?
RK: My name is Kanyi Muraguri aka Rags. I was raised in Ngong Town, over there right next to the Zambia bus stop. I later relocated to Dallas, Texas where I now live and have lived for what seems like a billion years.
Currently, I am inspired by photographers like David Hobby, Annie Leibovitz, Joey L, Zack Arias, Karsh, and very old school photographers like Edward Weston and most of all Alfred Stieglitz. I also watch films and read art books to stay inspired.
When I’m not making pictures I’m hanging out with my beautiful wife.
ME: Why photography man?
RK: I take pictures not coz I am good at it but cos I can’t live without taking pictures. Plain and simple. What do I do? I’m a memory capturer. I shoot primarily using my cameras manual setting because it gives me the most control. As far as lighting is concerned I use available light. By that I any kind of light that’s available eg sun, moon, stars, flashes, bulbs, etc.
ME: When did you start out doing what you do?
RK: I took a class at a local community college around 2005 wanting to get better at composing shots. At the time I was interested in Videography. On my first day of class I had no idea how to use a camera. My teacher had to show me how to use a camera. Believe me, at the time I was very embarrassed. By the end of the semester, I was head over heels in love with photography. I now eat, breathe, and live photography.
ME: I think I have heard that before, videographer’s becoming photographer’s. So where do you dig your inspiration from?
RK: I am inspired by nature, life and the people around me. I’m also inspired by other photographers work. A longtime goal of mine is to capture the Kenyan American experience by photographing Kenyans who live in America. Much of my work is of Kenyans who live in the US of A.
ME: For anyone interested, if you don’t mind, could you describe your typical workflow
RK: Ok, here is my workflow prepare to be bored out of your mind:
After a shoot I usually download all my images to my desktop and then make and drop a copy of the images into my external hard drive as a backup. I then import the images on the desktop into Lightroom.
After the images load up I usually rate them. 1 star for the decent ones, 2 for the ones I’ll show the client, and 3 for the ones that will grace my humble blog. After that I usually start working on the rated images, adjusting the white balance, exposure, recovery, and blacks to my liking.
I love it if my images have true blacks as well as true whites. I also like sharpening the images, as well as sometimes adding a vignette to them. That’s pretty much it.
ME: *Waking up after seemingly boring process* no, am kidding, that ain’t boring. What are the pro’s & con’s of what you do, in your opinion?
RK: The good news of taking pictures is that I am certainly making a difference in peoples lives by capturing them using my camera. On top of that, photography makes my heart beat very fast. This is why I am always excited when taking pictures, or talking about pictures.
The hardest part of photography is creating interesting images. I heard someone say, “To take interesting images you have to work on being a more interesting person.” Who we are affects how we see. If I want to create interesting images I’ve got to pretty much be a more interesting person. And that my friend is honestly my biggest challenge.
ME: Now, to the serious questions. If you were an animal, what would it be and why?
RK: If I was an animal I’d be a dog (if i had a shilling for how many times I was called a dog i’d be a zillionare.) No, i’m just joking. On a serious note, I’d rather actually be an insect. A fly on a wall to be exact. Coz I’d be able to witness stuff and hear stuff I wouldn’t normally see or hear (Translation – coz I’m kinda nosy). Now, if I was a fly that could hold a camera and take pictures, that would be awesome!
ME: What about a gadget? Which and why?
RK: If I was a gadget I’d be a universal remote control which as you well know is the remedy for a common case of remote clutter.
ME: Interesting. What are your tools of the trade? What helps you capture these amazing images?
RK: My tools include:
- My Left Eye.
- The 1,300 grams of white matter between my ears a.k.a my pea brain.
- Nikon D40X camera
- Nikon SB 28 Flash
- My Fingers.
- Vivitar 285HV Flash
- AF Nikkor 18-35mm Wide angle lens. (I rarely use it)
- AF Nikkor 18-55mm Lens
- Quantaray AF 70-300mm Tele-Macro Lens
- I also rent lenses from Borrowlenses.com my fave lens so far being the Nikon 50mm f/1.4G AF-S (very sexy!)
- Lightroom 2 (image editing software)
- Photoshop CS4 (image editing software)
- RadioPoppers (a remote flash trigger and receiver for off camera lighting)
- 2 Western Digital external hard drives (backup! backup! backup!)
By the way, the most important asset a photographer has is her brain, her creativity, and her eye. Second to that is how well she knows her camera i.e f-stops, shutter speed, ISO etc. Not what kind of lens, latest camera, flash, computer she has. And that’s the truth. Can I get a witness!
Thanks Rags, it was truly a pleasure. If you want to get at Rags, here are areas he has a media presence
His Photography Blog
His Other Blog