7 years ago I was frustrated by the monotony of reporting to an office at 8:00 am seat in front of a computer screen till 5:00 pm sometimes 8:00 then go home tired after being profusely yelled at by my boss, sleep and wake up again the next morning to eat from the same "dirty" plate. Not to say that blue collars are not good but it just wasn't for me. I prefer "white" collars. There's more freedom to play around with them, so I quit my job and delved into a world called Photography that I knew nothing about then. I have paraphrased. I will tell the whole story one day.
Its been a gradual journey and progress and in experiencing it one of the most exciting things I have embraced is telling beautiful, rich African stories to the world. As an Artist first then a Photographer second I pride in being able to Artistically use the tools and skills I have to communicate messages of love, hope, peace, endurance, bravity and more hope and love as I hopefully inspire generations.
In the course of learning and growing my skill and gift, and the burning passion to touch lives, I began creating series' with the intention of telling stories of some of Africa's "unsung" heroes. I call them "unsung" because they are not the normal champions that we see on the news. They are not the guys who trend online. But these are people that have devoted their lives in different capacities to make Africa and the world a better place, and we come across them each day or even live with some of them. And I have been doing that for the last 4 years now.
This is why I love Akoma, because it gives me the unlimited opportunity to create and tell these stories.
I had just a week to think of what to come up with in regards to this post, and one of my "weaknesses" is I spend so much time thinking and planning. I remember really cracking my head and my fellow star Marie Ainomugisha telling me, "you'll get it, just don't think so much and stress yourself". True to her words by the evening of that day I got it. I remembered I have this friend who is such a gem and has quite an interesting story that I think would be really inspiring to not just the African continent but the rest of the world. So I called her up and shared the idea, and we started building the concept together. 3 days later we had it all set, she got all the props. And we were ready to shoot.
Her career path began as a business enthusiast but shifted to nursing out of advice she took from a relative and now she's been saving lives for 8 years without regrets. She is a Pediatric nurse.
A good share of some memorable moments have met her, like a time when she had to assist a lady deliver on the streets of Nairobi with minimal resources and both the baby and the mother survived. (Now this kind of stuff is what makes me want to create an African-Kenyan Superhero series. I am working on it.) The 8 years have also given her some pieces of the worst, like during the West-gate mall terrorist attack. She recalls it being traumatizing for her to see all those casualties, little kids with gunshot wounds; mourning their dead parents. Yet she says given another chance in another world she would still be a nurse.
She is fulfilled by the fact that she has a daily chance to help people through some of their most vulnerable moments and that's what wakes her up each day to go wear her uniform.
Ladies and gentlemen I present to you Jedyy - The Life Saver
The idea I had was showing a very confident, skilled professional who also has a very personal touch with humanity. In that regard I thought how best can I bring out her character as someone who is so skilled and confident about what she does and the levitation groove came knocking. I wanted to communicate the fact that she can be able to handle whatever is brought to her when at her best and even when at her worst. Her floating in the air was to create the essence of how comfortable she is in her surroundings at work when saving lives.
These are some behind the scenes images of how we made it happen:
In the midst of it I thought, why not also come up with a "Movie Series" - Themed Poster for it just, because I can :)
Doing this project has taught me one thing:
Creating and telling beautiful stories whether factual or fictional is quite challenging, but one of the things that I’ve been obsessing over recently is to tell stories that have meaning and purpose.
This story telling business, to me, is the perfect example of using my Art and photography to help transform the lives of Africans and at the end the rest of the world into something better. To make someone’s dream come true while simultaneously supporting another’s hope for life.
Finding a balance between doing my martial art classes which I just started, playing in a band, creating and making a living is a delicate dance but I have found, with time… that you cannot afford to skip out on the things that feed your soul. Akoma is one of them.
SHOT USING The Phase One 645DF
CHARACTER - Jeddy Christine
ASSISTANT - Joseph Mwaluma