Inspiring the next generation of African photographers

Friday April 15 2022
Children practise photography.

Children practise photography. PHOTO | ERIC AVERDUNG


Ben Mwangi wanted to be a photographer from an early age but life took a different turn and he ended up working in finance.

He eventually followed his heart and quit his job to form Youth Filmmakers Africa in 2011, an organisation that assists schools in setting up filmmaking and photography clubs.

Around the same time, he became a certified trainer with Canon, and has been training young people on photography, alongside his filmmaking business.

Recently, Mwangi hosted a masterclass for a group of 15 boys and girls aged eight to 15 living near the Masai Mara National Reserve in Kenya.

The afternoon class held at the Ishara Mara Camp covered the basics of photography.

The camp recently established an onsite photography centre for guests and has kitted it out with cameras, lenses and a full-time resident photographer.


Most of the children had never interacted with a professional camera before.

“I wanted them to identify some of the main buttons that they will interact with often, how to focus, the importance of focusing and how it affects the images you create,” said Mwangi.

The Masai Mara, Kenya’s top tourist destination, where hundreds of films, documentaries and award-winning photographs have been shot, offered the perfect backdrop for the photography subjects. A game drive offered a perfect opportunity for wildlife photography. The children loved snapping the animals, especially a group of hyenas.

“To do a photography workshop in under half a day is a big task but I was incredibly blown away by their photos,” Mwangi said.

Mwangi noted that photography can empower youth with skills through which to "express their creativity and highlight issues in their communities.”