All over the world there are ‘jobbing’ photographers. Men and women who pick up their cameras every day and head out to provide photographic services to individuals and businesses who want – indeed, need – high quality images. That might be the perfect family portrait. Or corporate headshots. Product pictures, events and weddings, even real estate. These are the people who are quietly shaping the way we see the world.
They hustle – mitigating the natural ebb and flow of demand with other jobs, moving in and out of industries as the seasons change. When the weddings tail off, the school term begins, for example. And so it is for hard working photographers everywhere. One such veteran of the industry is Mzee Omoyo. At seventy years old, his photography business, based in Elgeyo-Marakwet County, Kenya, is still going strong, photographing events at the weekend and supplementing this with other work as both a cobbler and a farmer during the week – investing in land using money he made from photography. When he picked up his first Canon camera as a teenager in the 1970s, he never looked back, despite some societal pushback. “The community did not see photography as useful and not a career option,” he says, speaking through an interpreter. “However, I would travel a lot around the Trans-Nzoia County and saw that those who pursued photography were really doing well.” As he had not attended school, this showed him that photography could be a viable alternative and being exposed to others in the field was just the encouragement he needed to leave any doubts behind.