Tintseh, is a photographer based out of Nairobi. He believes that Nairobi’s streets are virgin ground in terms of being incorporated in visual art and wants to, among other things, showcase the streets of the capital in the hope that other players can be persuaded to consider incorporating them in their creative endeavours. He recently started a photography campaign, titled The Streets are Ours, to showcase some of the city’s best features.
All images are from TheStreetsAreOursKE series, provided by Tintseh. You can keep up with the series whose latest edition is underway.
I wanted to show a different side of the city. I have always been in love with Nairobi city. But now, since everyone is shooting buildings and cityscapes, I figured, how about we bring the aspect of human culture, amongst mainly the youth. I consider them my main audience. So I collected a couple of friends, Brian Msafiri being the main model, and stylist. We just figured let’s shoot Nairobi in a different way. The first one, which was a trial, turned out a success. I had to get permits from the City Council which cost me money. I had to get to get security too. Which shouldn’t be the case. It should be, if you feel like you want to go and shoot in Nairobi, you should just go and shoot.
Criteria for Choosing Models
I have had a lot of requests. Guys are asking what the criteria of being featured is , and honestly I have none. It is more of your style. Having something unique, maybe your fashion style, maybe your personality, or facial structure. Just covering the diverse people in the city . Mostly, I shoot guys from the age of 19, up until around 27. That is the bracket that I feel is comfortable posing on the streets. But anyone who is older than that and want to be featured can reach out to me.
A Collaborative Effort.
I don’t pay the models, I don’t pay myself as well. I just cater for the security and the permits, and where possible, I can pay for the models’ lunch and fare . But it is more of a mutual understanding of why we are doing it . Because at the end of the day I believe if you do good, people will see it, and they will appreciate it. I really thank every model who has come through, because it is not easy. It is not easy convincing people to just pose in the streets of Nairobi, and matatu are passing and everyone is wondering what is wrong with you. There is a shot I had to take with someone seated on the streets, and matatus are passing and there are some people who are stopping and hooting.
We try to avoid is blocking traffic or halting. There should be a smooth flow. We need to understand that we are all using the same streets, we make them more friendly for each other.
How We Do It
We shoot over the weekends because it is less populated and safer. I start shooting very early in the morning, around 5 AM. We shoot till around 10.AM. Then come back in the evening.
We cannot do the whole day. I find shooting the whole day monotonous. I need to go review what I did in the morning to see what I can change for the evening.
We have been shooting uptown but there is one that we want to do downtown. I am a very visual person, and how I choose the locations is more of , if I am walking, I see something interesting, I will stop there. Nairobi has a lot to offer. You can shoot at every spot in Nairobi. It has something different and unique. Thus The Streets are Ours, because I feel like the city hasn’t been exploited yet. Nothing much has been done. Even brands need to use the city more for their reach. If they are willing, I can do something with them. The streets, as the title says, are ours , we own them, we pride in them, and we show the world out there that the streets are safe.
A Monthly Thing
It will be done monthly. Once my website is back up, I will release a fresh set , a mega release for the shoots I have done. From July, I will now be releasing monthly sets.