Personality Thursday [42] – Down memory lane

This week’s personality is Wanjeri Gakuru(visit her site) aka @Mawazo_mengi, one of the people I have met thanks to creativity & twitter. A very charming and happy soul as you shall see from the photos. We had been talking about this shoot for a while but I am glad it happened when it did as “that was the precise moment it was supposed to happen” if I may quote Morpheus in Matrix, “and it could not have happened any other way”

The whole aim was to go back, back in time to her teens, rebellion and all that. Back to when her parents were still here with us. back when her only worry might have been which LP to ask daddy to play or how not to get caught secretly playing the LP’s. Back to when she might have looked longingly at her mothers dress and wondered when it would be her rocking the frock. And so we went back and remembered them, in pictures and words. This shoot is in memory of her parents. I shall just allow her to just explain it herself in her own words…in case I make small of something deep.

“For nearly 11 years I was raised by my Paps and then I lost him 5 years ago on a Friday morning in July. And this June will mark 16 years since Mama passed away. Losing both our parents has shaped my family-I have 2 older sisters and a brother- in so many ways.”

“As the last born, it’s been hard to go come to terms with many aspects of family life that I miss(ed) out on. This has however made me all the more appreciative of life and fascinated by the issue of memory. See, I forget very easily. My Uni pals can tell you how I had a reminder for every little thing. In fact I have one that goes off at 12:34pm daily that reminds me to pray.”

“So, late last year, I got a Japanese Kanji symbol tattooed on my right hand, between my thumb and index finger. I see it every time I set my fingers to type. It means ‘remember’. Then on December 31st, I ‘tattooed’ my bedroom. I got two graffiti artists to help me honor the memory of my parents in a manner that was vibrant, happy and as cool as they were.”

“This year I’ve gone a step further thanks to Mutua, Kitots and Rosey. I got a chance to play dress up with my Mama’s chic Kitenge outfits and mess about with my Paps’ old gramophone and LPs. 

But what I wouldn’t give to have heard them barge into my room and say,” WANJERI! Unafanya nini na hiyo LP? And what is that you are wearing?”… “


Being indoors, this was a relatively dark space which made use of additional lighting very important so I carried my whole arsenal…of my 3 homemade softboxes. No really though, we had many soft boxes all DIY and two profoto strobes. I did not strobe though Steve strobed, I was using continuos lighting for the whole of this shoot except one photo. Why? Well I did not really have a choice so it was a matter of adapting to what I got, something I do a lot.

The lights were hidden all over the room, the parts not in the photo, to make sure every relevant detail is well lit, at least enough for the assignment at hand.

Since the whole shoot was in this one location, Steve & I had to be creative with our angles and POV’s so as to not have similar boring angles. I think it worked, no? I shot using my trusty ol Nikon D40 using the stock 18-55mm lens that comes with it. Some of the closeups I did using a vintage manual 50mm f/1.4 lens.

I hope you enjoyed the post. Thanks for passing by


45 thoughts on “Personality Thursday [42] – Down memory lane

  1. Walalala!this is 1great post! Especially loved how she spoke on what this shoot meant to her and grafitti in her bedroom? Mard props!too creative!

  2. You are draining my compliment bank bro!! ha!
    You have a way of making pictures speak. They say actions speak louder than words, well
    your work is like actions heard through “Beats by Dr, Dre” headphones!
    Hats off bro!
    Wanjeri = inspiring, insightful, creative, embodiment of pulchritude!
    Enough of my ‘wannabe’ poetry! ha!

  3. A soulful hiphop mix: Common, Sivion, and ‘My World’ by The Ambassador’s playing in the background and I’m sold. Perfect tribute.

  4. As I said on Kitots blog… *Off to find cattle for bride price*
    Awesome shots, love the old school feel. Almost like it was developed kitambo and aged in a chest somewhere.
    (Is that drool on my keyboard?)

  5. WOWZER!!!!! This is like the coolest thing ever!!!…coolest thing i’ve seen in a while…..I’m babbling :) Sigh, you guys are awesome. Great photography, great people :) Keep doing what you do Mutua! Great stuff!!!!!

  6. Wow this was one of the more emotional, artistic & inspiring Personality Thursdays yet… I’ve just gotten an awesome idea to apply in my life from this whole post. Thanks for the sharing and inspiration. God bless.

  7. We at Daily Standard Newsroom have established that we no longer need portraits of presidents adorning our walls.
    Instead, we shall have these printed out, and framed, and have those on our walls instead.
    On the rare occasion, rather than display our numerous trophies won over the years on the NewsDesk during live bulletins, we will have these standing in front of our anchors.

  8. I totally love that first photo! Its super awesomest (if there is a word like that!).
    They are all awesome I must say….maybe because the story behind them is the driving factor.
    Lovely lovely post!

  9. obviously nimechelewa but whaaaaar! Something about this post touched a nerve…quite moving indeed…oh yeah, and Muts/Stevo, the photography is great lol! Awesome job guys…keep em comin’

  10. This is simply brilliant! You guys are great at what you do. I love the whole retro theme; the LPs, the clothes, the graffiti bedroom (I think I’ll steal that idea, Wanjeri? May I?) It’s amazing, takes me way back
    Great work.

  11. Pingback: Wanjeri » One day I graced the cover of a magazine

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