A Photographer a day: Tahir Karmali

Day 3 of the "photographer a day" series: Tahir Karmali

You may have seen Tahir’s futuristic photos on the internet. These were part of his Jua Kali project.  He is a painter turned photographer based in Nairobi.

'Jua Kali' is Swahili for 'fierce sun' and is often used to refer to informal workers of Nairobi working under the hot sun. Tahir started this project as a way to change society's perception on work considered substandard. 

This is him on the project:

"Stemming from the informality of curating one’s life experiences to generate a perceived self-image. Inspired by the informal sector that breathes character into Nairobi’s economy. The Jua Kali sector is built from the opportunistic personality and perseverance of the Jua Kali worker who often use locally available recycled or found objects to develop their creations. I use this element of Nairobi to describe one’s perceived self-image created from the idea of the Jua Kali philosophy.

Each Portrait describes a personality that has created a surreal self-image to fit in Nairobi’s Jua Kali world. The images are created to look as if one adorned themselves with found objects, which somehow work together to make them superhuman."

The series that made the most impression on me is the "I.AM.I" series (see below), the focus of which was "beauty through visual art, poetry, body and adornment". I love that the concept is simple and yet gives an out of this world feeling through the intense focus of the hands as a form of poetry. 

His work is most certainly diverse, whether he is capturing faces, landscapes or doing commercial work, he has a way of perfectly fitting his style into the needs of the project. 

This is him; 

"I began my career as a food photographer, because of my interest in stage set up and I would also get free food. I slowly began to build my client portfolio beyond taking food photos. I have been shaping my commercial photography portfolio as a travel photography”

Remember that widespread saying that no good story ever began with “ I was having a salad and then….”, well seems like the sceptics were wrong. 

Tahir is also an artist in other respects, he does installations…currently working under the Kuona Trust. Find him everywhere on the internet: http://tahirk.com

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