Yellow carpet

Yellow. This is the scene we have been working on. Just a by the way. Its the flowers that blossom from the branches facing the skies. Dark and pale as they look. And still the wonder of nature lives with us. Having little to say but just to watch.


Two months have passed now as the expanding carpet of flowers still sits on the floor of earth. They get sucked into the earth one by one. I see the essence of being a part of this downward movement. Right from the sky to the ground.

Its the time to create this. Now and in future. Probably popping fresh occasionally .

Photography & Text |



Hawking Vibe

City of Nairobi

Hawking as a survival strategy for the urban poor in nairobi. Nairobi is facing momentous challenges after years of neglect by poor leadership and governance.

street vendor

A street vendor walks past a pedestrian with his merchandise from river road, Kiambu road.

At four o’clock the temperature has dipped enough to break the camp in the city. I clear the dust and sweat from my face and start walking, studying the area around me for a moment. I have to be precise and get the right angle to start my activity within 200m by 200m space. Its the Globe round about, close to the Nairobi fire station.

fire stationSome of the biggest challenges facing urban centres in Kenya today is how to tackle the issues of unemployment, through the provision of viable areas for self-employment opportunities as well as improving the quality, standard of living and infrastructure. The urban spaces are not designed to empower people or provide vibrant places where opportunities for small entrepreneurs and informal activities can trade and manufacture at viable locations.

taking positionNairobi is faced with the challenge of trying to deal with hawkers within their Central Business District (CBD). In most of the cases hawkers have not been allocated space to operate from. Though ignored by planners and harassed by the Local Authority enforcement officers, the hawkers within urban centres, have tended to acquire and control space informally. The situation in the CBD of Nairobi has reached a critical stage.

Hawkers run away from the city council askaris after they appeared from the vicinity.

Hawkers run away from the city council askaris after they appeared from the vicinity.

This raises critical questions about who has the role to designs cities and what procedures do they have to go through. What are the empowering agencies and laws? What role do these assign to hawking and street vending activities? I believe it should not just be about harassing the hawkers but at least being able get the right policies that drive the society.

runawayThe elements of power, control over space and the conflicts that emerge with regards to urban space utilization. This stem in part from the fact that most planning projects are implemented with missionary zeal (to remove hawkers from the CBD) and bear little reference to hawkers’ needs and priorities.

Matatus hekd up in traffic along Tom Mboya street as the city askaris engage the hawkers in a street battle.

Matatus hekd up in traffic along Tom Mboya street as the city askaris engage the hawkers in a street battle.

The short term recommendations are change of altitude and Nairobi city council recognizing the potential of hawking in generating revenues and also providing employment. Improving the infrastructure that are in place to try and harmonize the operation of both the formal activities and the hawkers.

Order has to be restored in the city to have a proper way of doing business.

Order has to be restored in the city to have a proper way of doing business.

Also the idea of allocating traders sufficient trading spaces and providing mechanism for the hawkers to be represented in decision making and lastly reviewing the rules and regulations that hinder the development of the activity.

Photography and text:: Joel Lukhovi

4th docfilm festival

Submissions are now open for the Kenyan film makers.

If you wish to submit a short film documentary for screening at the 4th Docfilm Festival between Friday 8th – Sunday 10th November 2013 please contact – with your details.

These should include:

Full contact details:
Film Title:
Any credits you wish noted on the program:

Please confirm you hold the rights to the film and are therefore able to screen it. We act in good faith when it comes to the screening of submitted short documentaries.


All submissions will be screened in venues across Leicester city centre.

Please submit on a DVD and provide a SAE if you wish it to be returned in the post to: John Coster, Festival Director, 4th Docfilm Festival, Apex House, 74-76 Charles Street, Leicester LE1 1FB, United Kingdom.

John Coster
Festival Director

Camp Ndegeya

Hey, so my second day at Weaver bird community for arts welcomed me with some of the amazing scenaries that I got to meet. Am hoping to have a wonderful moment and stay in this wonderful town of Masaka in Uganda, as I work on shaping my photography.

my bodaboda is an art installation at camp ndegeya.

My bodaboda is an art installation at camp ndegeya.

Hey. Could we do that again? I know we haven’t met, but I don’t want to be an ant, you know? I mean, it’s like we go through life with our antennas bouncing off one another, continuously on ant auto-pilot with nothing really human required of us. Stop. Go. Walk here. Drive there.
ndege ya akili
All action basically for survival. All communication simply to keep this ant colony buzzing along in an efficient polite manner. “Here’s your change.” “Paper or plastic?” “Credit or debit?” “ant or art” “You want ketchup with that?” I don’t want a straw, I want real human moments. I want to see you. I want you to see me.
My seating postion at the community arts village.

My seating postion at the community arts village.

I don’t want to give that up. I don’t want to be an ant, you know?
Photography:: Joe Lukhovi
Location:: Ndegeya village, Masaka- Uganda

It is me – Mya

I desire to have an opinion that is across the board in terms of the situation. Sometimes art imitates life, sometimes life imitates art. But something special happens when art imitates art imitating life. In the 1920’s, with some spillover before and after, the Times made a convention of photographing with both their works of art and the people (or pets) depicted in those works.


Content cannot be manufactured, in my opinion. That which I can find is better than that which you can make. That which we find, the work and the use of the people out there, it’s natural, that’s what ordinary people do, that interests me.

The model subject in the make-shift studio next to me, Quoteck was at the time revising her work by reading it aloud, recording it, and playing it back to herself. The murmur of it was reassuring somehow. Moments later, when I remembered it to her, she laughed and said ‘I don’t work that way anymore”.


I recently asked her about thoughts on colonies, and she said: ‘You have all the solitude you want, with none of the usual distraction of daily life at home, and then when you want to be in a social situation with interesting people, you have that as well. I find that I experiment in colonies more often than I do at home because I have such an expanse of time, and that I not only write more and think about writing more, but think about life more as well.


Colonies also teach lessons. Typically, there are older, more experienced artists who offer tips on, for example, finding and maintaining silence all the time. Day  in day out. I also learned there is almost nothing better for your work than having someone cook and clean for you who is neither a relative nor someone else.


Photography : Joe Lukhovi

Model subject: Mya Jeanine Quoteck

Set Location: Lake Elementaita

From Pokot

The way a new language might emerge to help shape and form a new reality is incredibly sensational. So I free my subject from the chain of business as usual. With my from Nairobi to pokot shoot I arranged to have one with Mya and her environment to achieve a new sense of reality elevated. A Pokot groomed to Love.

On the whole street casting works best for my pictures because what I love and want, is the element of truth in my work, capturing life, something that actually really happened, finding people by chance. The right person at the right time at the right place. So regardless of the challenges and the slightly stressful logistics of shooting this way on the road I have to street cast, it doesn’t make sense to do it any other way.

Of all the stories that happen.  I try to stay true to what makes most sense to me and I am lucky enough to have opportunities to collaborate with people who appreciate what I am doing and give me free reign to go off and explore. I see beauty in all different characters, not just professional models, and I want to capture that beauty.

It may get tricky on occassions. I try to keep everything pretty normal and simple but just find the right angle and light that shows someone off to their best.

In this shoot, my desire was to achieve a sense of reality as well as a groomed dream fantasy moment.While shoiting, I want my pictures to be more than just a straight fashion picture. This is how all should be.

Photography | Joe Lukhovi

Casting | Jeanine Mya

location | Away in the wild.

All that light

I can only talk this way during this festive season. That keep the lights on no matter what the situation. Dont get loose and mess up. I spent this weekend doing a lot of reading about the nature of light, as well as photographing the light bulbs. On one hand we have the end result of some three decades of toil, all to grapple with the effect of one life.

On the other we have an ostensible attempt to untangle a near millenia of culture, science, evolution, and technology  delivered via killer apps or, less charitably, bullet points.

The contrast is still bracing, and looking great from afar.

This is not a “fun” or “thrilling” read. I’m nowhere near as attached to its characters as I am to their maker. Somehow it really does command the light.

Photography by Joe Lukhovi