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It’s a Goal

A photo of his father's garden and a pair of soccer boots led Joseph on his photographic journey — and brought him to the Mara

I was born in the bustling city of Nairobi and first fell in love with photography when I saw my dad’s photos of when he was younger, tending to the flowers in his front garden right outside his door. These images showed how times have changed — as Nairobi is now full of buildings and flowers are planted in little boxes on balconies rather than large, luscious gardens. I was instantly drawn to this art of capturing moments that will last a lifetime.

Joseph (third from the right, top row) and his team mates before a match

I started by teaching myself using my cousin's camera and with time, I got better. My first subject was family during gatherings, which honed my skills in photographing people — this has since come in very handy. Photographing people is something close to my heart as it creates a bond between the subject and photographer and you come to see life from different perspectives. At times, it even results in friendships through the experiences that we have shared.

Photographing guests is a big part of the job in the Studio

Growing up in Nairobi, I started playing soccer when I was just four years old. My teammates and I were young and talented but we flew under the radar. Despite being excellent at the sport, we weren’t being seen by many people and therefore weren’t being absorbed into pro teams. So, I decided to hang up my boots and use my photography skills — which is where my journey into sports photography began.

The early days, photographing football matches

I started by capturing my talented teammates in action and I posted them on my social media. As they started becoming more visible, things started changing for them. I have witnessed some of my teammates landing sponsorships in the USA to continue their education and play soccer. Some of the images they submit with their profiles are shot by me.

Angama is the reigning champion of the Mara Cup
The road to defending the title starts this week

My photography has not only helped some of my former teammates but also hugely benefitted me. It was my sports photography that first brought me to the Mara, invited by a friend to document the Mara Cup where the Angama Football Club were crowned champions, led by their able coach Collins Randiga (now GM of Angama Amboseli). I expressed my interest to him in wildlife photography and I was somehow convincing enough to get an opportunity to intern at the Angama Photographic Studio.

A memorable early shot — a martial eagle with a banded mongoose kill

My time in the Photographic Studio has been a total transformation, not only career-wise but as a person. I have learnt a lot from my senior photographers, from photography skills to understanding animal behaviour. Wildlife photography is very different from sports photography as it's not about the fast shutter speeds and calculated angles but rather patience, predicting animal movements, and respecting their environment. I have since spent countless hours waiting in the blinds, tracking elusive animals and braving the elements to capture the perfect shot.

The author armed with his camera and ever-present smile

As I delved deeper into wildlife photography, I became acutely aware of the fragile ecosystems that these animals call home. Just like how I wanted my teammates to be seen far and wide, I also want to showcase Kenya’s beautiful and precious wild spaces for the world to see. Although I've traded the bright lights of the city for the serene Mara, I wouldn't have it any other way. Through my lens, my goal is to inspire others to appreciate the wonders of nature. I hope that my children will look at my photographs, just as I did with my father’s, and see that the only changes made to the Mara have been for the better.

Filed under: Inside Angama

Tagged with:

Angama Team , Photography , The Angama Photographic Studio

About: Joseph Njenga

Joseph is the newest member of the Photographic Studio, leaving behind his career in sport photography, he is now happily showing off the Mara in all its glory. When he's not behind a camera, he's looking after his beautiful daughter, Ariella, or volunteering at his former school in Nairobi

Browse all articles by Joseph Njenga Meet the angama team

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Join the Conversation (5 comments)

Comments (5):

Fredrick Otieno

22 November 2023

Wonderful journey indeed , you are heading to bigger things , your passion for camera and football is well known , we wish all the best in your new place of work.

Azei Lago

20 November 2023

Your growth as a photographer is easily discernable by the breadth your lens now captures!

Sam Bailyn

14 November 2023

Amazing work Joseph, congratulations!

Dominic muteria

12 November 2023

I've known Joseph since his playing days me being one of the coaching staff... Joseph was and is still a very humble person we are proud to have mentored..Proud of you son go show it in the world...

Florence Ndichu

11 November 2023

Such a beautiful article and amazing work. Congratulations Joseph and the Angama team for sharing these beautiful moments and wildlife with us.

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