IDEAS, DESIGNS, CREATIONS, CONCEPTS, VIEWPOINTS
...AND A BIT OF NEWS ABOUT
WHAT WE'RE UP TO
“What makes a good photo?”
Have you ever looked at a photo and thought “How did they see that? I was right there and I missed it!” Since I started wielding the camera for Kayole Mtaa Safi, I have been asking other photographers what the missing element is.
The answers varied a little, but the fundamentals are always the same. I asked our friend, Kayole's own Toothpick Inno and he summed it up neatly:
The most important element of a good photo is the ability of the photo to communicate with the viewer. It should be able to tell a story through its composition, lighting, and most importantly its subject matter.
You can check out Inno's pics on his Instagram page, but for now let's take a look at the details of what separates good pictures from great ones.
Interesting lighting is essential, composition gives impact and visual appeal, and drawing attention to the subject through good use of focus are all very important. But if the subject isn’t worth looking at, you still have an uninteresting photo.
You need to care about what you shoot and how you shoot it. If you don’t care about your shot, it’s likely nobody else will either. It’s tempting to shoot everything willy-nilly and pick out the good shots later – if there are any, but it’s better to be always looking rather than always shooting. Look for the things other people don’t notice. Avoid the obvious shot.
This was the most common response. In the digital age we face a barrage of images every day. If a photo doesn’t knock us out of the box, our brains will automatically dismiss it as useless information.
A good photo makes you feel something: happiness, sadness, curiosity, surprise, awe or rage. Evoking any emotion is better than none. If you can make an image do that, it will be remembered long after all your technically perfect shots are forgotten.
A great photograph is often intriguing - it tells a story - a different story for each person. A captivating image evokes a memory or invites you to put yourself in the scene. It teleports you to the time and place captured within it. Then it lets you write your own narrative.
So these are my findings so far. I know I haven't talked about the "golden ratio" or technical stuff like that, but I have added a few more shots by Daniel Britt to illustrate and inspire.
Did I miss something important? If you would like to add it, just drop it in the comments.
It’s been five months since Public Space Network launched their first city-wide “Changing Faces” competition. We have had a great time spending the last nine Thursdays transforming Thawabu court into a ... a ... nice place to hang out. All around Nairobi, teams of youth competed to make their chosen public space the cleanest, greenest and safest - and some of the work is truly impressive. It’s been great walking around the neighborhood and seeing the zeal and effort local groups have invested.
The competition kicked off in Dandora, where the Changing Faces Competition was born. The Dandora Transformation League showcased the transformations that resulted from previous competitions hoping to inspire teams from other parts of Nairobi. The award ceremony will celebrate all cityshapers taking part in the 2018 Changing Faces Competition and will award the best transformations.
Each team identified a public open space to improve: a bus stop, footbridge, street, playground, wall, courtyard, sidewalk, dumpsite, market place, park, or a police station, and spent the last nine weeks fixing it up.
We picked a street in Kayole which was perfect for turning into an attractive and productive public space and we met with stakeholders to ensure the long-term maintenance and ongoing impact. The transformation has had a positive effect on the users of the space and the surrounding community and we are receiving requests from residents of surrounding areas for similar work.
Fifteen photos of our work have been submitted to the judges: five before shots, five during, and five after shots. They will compare the impact and scope of the transformation. Some of these photos, and others can be seen here.
Now, we are selecting another area to begin another transformation. No prize money up for grabs this time, just the satisfaction of a job well done and the appreciation of the locals. Our Thursday Public Space Transformation is a vehicle for an even greater transformation – one of the heart and mind. Though the good fellowship that comes from working together and the feeling of fulfilment that comes with achievement, we are creating a positive atmosphere in which young people can realize their potential.
We are always looking for opportunities for these energetic youth to do better: scholarships, training, job opportunities, or enterprises. If you would like to know more, contact us here.
Is Miraa Legal in Kenya?
In a word, yes.
However it is illegal in 15 European Union Member States and Norway. Tanzania has also recently banned miraa (also known as khat) consumption, while The United Kingdom and Netherlands banned miraa in 2012 and 2013 respectively. Miraa is also targeted by anti-drug organizations such as the DEA in USA.
Reasons for this change in policy varied among the countries. The Netherlands barred miraa imports saying consumption had adverse health and social effects. The UK, on the other hand, feared becoming the new smuggling route for miraa into Europe. Despite these facts, sale, and consumption of miraa are legal in Kenya, as well as Djibouti, Uganda, Ethiopia, Somalia and Yemen.
What are the Benefits of Miraa
According to www.drugs.com there are no well-controlled clinical trials, therefore assertions that it is a viable means of weight loss or other such claims are without substance. Conversely, the World Health Organization (WHO) classified khat (locally known as miraa) as a drug of abuse that can produce psychological dependence. In other words, although it isn't associated with physical addiction, it can create a continuing desire for its consumption.
Military and Civilian use of miraa in Somalia has been blamed for draining the nation's economy, fueling civil war, and undermining international relief efforts. This may sound extreme, but it raises the question: What is it about this drug that would cause anyone to believe such a charge? What exactly happens when you chew miraa?
Effects of Miraa on the Mind
Initially, during miraa sessions, there is an atmosphere of cheerfulness, optimism and a general sense of well-being. Effects such as mood changes, increased alertness, excessive talkativeness, hyperactivity, excitement can be expected, so can aggressiveness, anxiety, manic behavior, paranoia, and mental disorders. After about 2 hours, tension, emotional instability and irritability begin to appear, later leading to feelings of low mood and sluggishness. Chewers tend to leave a session feeling depleted. Trouble sleeping (insomnia), loss of energy (malaise), and lack of concentration usually follow.
Effects on the Body
Physiologically, effects include elevated blood pressure, rapid heart rate, heart palpitations, faster breathing rates, increased body temperature, sweating, eye changes, mouth ulcers, inflammation of the esophagus and stomach, gum disease, jaw problems (TMJ), and constipation. Severe side effects include migraine, bleeding in the brain, heart attack, lung problems, liver damage, changes in sex drive, and last but not least, inability to get an erection (impotence).
Not only can chewing miraa lead to a decrease in food consumption, which in turn leads to a loss of overall health and condition, studies have shown miraa may also impede food absorption, multiplying the effect of lost appetite. Rats fed miraa have shown a retardation of growth, not from loss of appetite, but from decreased absorption of food. They were not properly digesting what little food they were eating.
Miraa is Often Associated with Other Substance Abuses
We at Kayole Mtaa Safi believe in healthy body, mind and spirit. Our aim is to promote and encourage a healthy, productive, creative lifestyle in and around the Kayole area.
Feel free to contact us for more information.
Post in this blog are contributed by the various members of Kayole Mtaa Safi Initiative.