• ArchiDATUM Dates: Michael Khately and a Propensity for the Lens

Our Date: Michael Khately
Profession: Professional Photographer
Location: Nairobi, Kenya
Office: Photographer Gina Din Corporate Communications

Michael Khately is a humble 29 year old man behind a Canon 50D lens. He says he has been photographing ever since he learnt how to hold his first Kodak Point and shoot and over the last 3years he has been involved in the photography of various buildings and interiors in Kenya both personally and as a photographer for Gina Din Corporate Communications. He is a self-made architectural photographer…but his main passion lies in Wedding photography and the venues that the experience provides. His main inspiration is his mother whom he confesses is his greatest model. He has been able to travel far and wide with this line of thought and assures us that he is in photography for the long haul. He gives Boniface Mwangi, Ben Kirudhi and Japheth Kagondu as his personal favorites in the Photography industry

1. When and how did you get into Architectural Photography?
Personally I wouldn’t put myself into the sole category of an architectural photographer. I am photographer of all assets within the three dimensional world and as such I photograph anything within the focus of my lens. But photography as a whole, I started professionally in 2009 with my first camera a Kodak point and shoot then slowly with the help of my boss and mentor Japheth Kagondu, I grew to be what I am now. I believe photography and art as a whole is all about the process of growth. It is hard to be a specialist in these sides of sub-Saharan Africa for two reasons: There are so many opportunities in various different fields and this necessitates versatility. Also that kind of versatility gives birth to quite a good portfolio

2. Speaking about Process, WHAT IS YOURS?
Wow, what can I say? My point of departure in any project is to make sure I tell a story. To do this I need to take photos at certain favourite angles and also be able to have sequence. My blog at is called Picture Poetry because I tell stories from my start to finish so that people who are not at the venue or people who have not seen the project can be able to see the project like I see it.

3. Photographer vs. Camera?
I would say to a certain extent the type of camera would help give you a unique image but most of the time it is the camera holder. It is the eye of the man behind the lens.

4.  Lens vs. Naked Eye
Lens anytime and I say that with utmost respect for my eyes. I believe that the eyes see in a general sense. What I love about the project is that the lens is that it can focus to a specific area and forget everything that is around it and irrelevant. Hence the lens anytime.

5. Why would you engage yourself in architectural Photography?
Buildings are the easiest of all to photograph. The main thing being that the just sit there, anchored with no pretence and do not move. You see them as they are and unlike models or wedding photos, buildings show there true face whether day or night, rain or shine, so I would say amid all that that they are easy  to photograph and are true to the self.

6. Favorite Built project?
By all means the KICC building in Nairobi. This has got to be the best building to photograph and with my eyes closed I will still get a good shot. For me I think it’s more of the detail in it and the iconic nature in that a photograph of the kick could sell anywhere and be recognized regionally. Another great building I will say would have to be the Equity Building at Yaya Center that I also find to be quite full in detail. For me, I like taking photos of buildings that offer life to the audience and have that sense of unique quality.

7. Equipment and Software you use?
I use my Canon D camera with Canon EF-S 18-200mm lens. That’s all. I know by software what you are asking. No Photoshop in my images except where am colour correcting. I do not add details to my images as I believe that truthfulness in a built form is very important. I only use Photoshop to add a certain feeling to the image and that is mostly in wedding photos. For architectural images I believe the form and the angles of human view and also the detail and lighting best speaks without Photoshop and other enhancers.

8. Parting Shot
Photography is a passion that involves both danger and skill. It is a career that one can engage in.

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