Shooting for Akvo
In May 213, I got an email from the Akvo team in Nairobi asking me if I was available to shoot some portraits for their Partner Heroes. These are individuals who use Akvo tools to work more efficiently everyday. You can find out more about these tools here. The brief was very creative, requiring the Heroes to be shot with a white screen behind them. The shots were not to be tight, but wide enough to capture the Heroes’ environments. After discussing the brief further on phone, we picked a day when we were to shoot at the UN office in Gigiri, Nairobi.
The plan was to shoot the Partner Heroes with the background of the country flags that are synonymous with the UN offices. After going through the security clearance, I did not immediately recognise where I was; the long walk of flags that usually welcomes you to the UN offices wasn’t there! Of all days in the year, this is the one the admin guys at UN picked to bring down all the flags and take them to the cleaners!
We rolled on the ground laughing so hard at ourselves we must have interrupted an ongoing seminar or two. After wiping the grass off our shirts, we picked a different location and shot the images below.
You can read more about the Partner Heroes project and see more photos from across the world here.
This year, the brief didn’t change. We picked Sarakasi Dome in Ngara as our location – at least we were sure there would be no flag washing business here. We decided to shoot on the rooftop from where we could have a view of Nairobi. Up there, the wind turned the backdrop into a flag!
In the partners’ hands were items they use in their day to day business.
And this is what Nairobi looks like from up there.
From the rooftop, we went down into the dome and found the Sarakasi Dancers rehearsing for an upcoming tour. We asked them to photo bomb our setup and they obliged.
I loved shooting for Akvo because it shows one doesn’t need complicated ideas to tell a great story through photography. For Akvo, having the white backdrop in photos has really worked in attracting the viewer’s attention to what they need to focus on and making anyone easily identify an image from Akvo.
They have developed an identity for their images and I’m excited to have been part of the team helping Akvo do this.