Growing up, 23 year old Kelvin Makori always thought he was different. From a tender age he realized that it took him more time to draw the little dogs, trees and shapes compared to his age mates. He would pay more attention to the little details such as the leaves that were close to one’s sight. Today, keen attention to detail is setting Kelvin apart in the world of photography.
Kelvin, fun and chatty, is fascinated by capturing images that relay the essence of beauty, innovation, and lifestyle and memories. He strives to bring out the best side of people giving a clear cut reflection of their personality and character.
His hobby has earned him a living since 2009 when he began nurturing and developing photo art. Fusing his love of fashion and photography, Kelvin has focused on fashion photography. Describing his work as urban and chic, he works with fashion houses to showcase their artistic designs. Among them being Shop 69 at 20th century, Vazzi Kenya, Fashion 2die4 and Switch Designs Fashion House.
Kelvin says that the mere fact that the industry is still young and full of potential gives him the motivation to keep on shooting. With opportunities presenting themselves everyday he focuses on what he can do differently and in a unique way.
“The industry at large has great potential and with proper systems in place it can solve the unemployment problem in the country for talented youth. Investing in institutions offering pure arts such as photography, performing arts and music will enable the large number of young people missing out on admission to universities earn a living through developing their talents,” says Kelvin.
Working for four years now, Kelvin admits that photography requires a lot of commitment and dedication into what one does. He points out that clarity of thought is important in creating a concept for a photo-shoot.
“In my case I call for precision and preparedness to get the perfect memories, have the concept in mind but see it through the client’s eyes.”
He says that getting a clear understanding of what your client wants enables you to produce picture-perfect photos, so to speak.
“Friends have told me that I am virtually obsessed with details, but I take it as a compliment because in this industry, you don’t know when the next gig will be. You might be doing your last job, so you got to deliver,” says Kelvin.
He adds that he accepts briefs depending on the concept the client has.
What is incredible about Makori’s photography is that Social Media has been an essential tool in marketing his work. “I can’t begin to imagine what it would be like if social media did not exist, as I get to showcase my work on social media through my Facebook page, my blog and Instagram creating a gallery of sorts,” Makori says.
It has not been easy for Kelvin as photography is an expensive venture and a lot investment capital is necessary to keep the business running. Starting out on his own, he made ends meet by hiring equipment for his shoots but later managed to save up for his own set that cost him about Sh 200,000.
“Clients judge your capabilities depending on the kind of equipment you have. There are times a client can cancel shoots simply because he thinks your equipment is not up to par.”
Kelvin started out as a trainee at De-capture limited, a photography company based in Nairobi for a year, during which he managed to master photography skills from one of the best photographers – Ben Kiruthi.
At the time, he says, his priority was to gain the skills, get the exposure and experience which would form a solid basis for him to start out in his own.
Kelvin says his parents were very apprehensive about his choice as it distracted him from his studies, things got worse when he quit Journalism at United States International University (USIU) to pursue photography on a full time basis.
“They have slowly come to appreciate what I do with time, though they still have reservations about my decision.”
Kelvin nevertheless, found steady ground in Film and Television Production at Jamhuri Film Academy, an area which he says, has brought satisfaction. This year he hopes to start an Online Photography School where he can share the skills and knowledge given to him generously to aspiring photographers.
Apart from photography, Kelvin enjoys listening to music, blogging and the company of his friends who describe him as an ordinary guy who pays too much attention to detail.
With regards to fashion in Kenya, Kelvin says that Kenyans should be cautious about what they wear paying close attention to their body type, size and the weather. His impressive work has won him best photographer award in the annual (USIU) Cultural Awards (2011-2012)
Kelvin looks up to Ben Kiruthi who has inspired him immensely over the years as a mentor. He hopes to work with David Macharia of Versatile Photographers, Mutua Matheka and Fashion TV internationally.
He hopes to join the Mohammed Amin foundation that motivated him into photography, where he can develop his skills in Film and Television Production.
Kelvin says that his ability to pay attention to the smallest details is his strength as he quotes an anonymous writer saying, ‘Little things are only little things, but to be faithful in little things is a big thing and that is how some people become extraordinary.’