Emmanuel Jambo is a well sought after South Sudanese Photographer in East and Central Africa based in Nairobi, Kenya and is popularly known for taking the official Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Official portrait.
Things You Didn’t Know About Emmanuel Jambo || Biography
Emmanuel Jambo went to college on a basketball scholarship with a dream of going professional where he was studying Computer Information systems at Harold Washington University in Chicago. By graduation he had sustained an injury which shot my chances of going pro as a basketball player. Instead ended up taking an IT job in Atlanta and it wasn’t until the age of about 28 years that he picked up photography again and enrolled at the Savannah Institute of Art, which was a one year course, but he only did a couple of months and then dropped out.
Emmanuel Jambo’s first interaction with photography came at the age of about 9 years when his sister was taking a photography class, where he was drawn to the black and white photos. Later when he was in his senior year of college he would find myself at art galleries more and more. In 2005 set up a website and he kept shooting different people. His first paid gig came when he shot a CD cover for a gospel artist from Haiti, and he charged him $80.00. Soon after his friend was having a wedding and asked him to shoot it making him scared to death of the task at hand. He wasn’t even sure what to charge, he shot the wedding in film no edits and printed off about 400 photos. Jambo’s expectation was to make back at least the printing money. He ended up paying me $800.00 because he was so impressed. After that he just kept shooting. He started shooting models, family portraits, and even some celebrities like Bone Crusher. He I started doing a lot of weddings and work in different communities, Eritrean for example and word just spread from person to person, so he kept busy. On his website, he describes himself as a creative cosmopolitan undefined by boundaries, mostly known for fashion commercial photography and also weddings come to visit Kenya in 2007 where he did a number of shoots and people didn’t believe it was his work. Word about his work got around and he had different people calling him. He had people ask what camera I was using etc. as if that was making the shots then went back to the states but came back after 4 months. His first official gig was as a freelancer at Adam magazine. And that is how I would work for some time, after that though he didn’t want to be tied down, he wanted to have the freedom to work on projects that interested me so I stepped out on his own where he set up a studio in an apartment, upstairs from where I lived, so he didn’t have to commute to work. And started researching about photography on line and was pretty much shooting everyone and also buying gadgets and began to accumulate equipment.
In 2012, Emmanuel Jambo was recognized by Forbes Magazine as one of the Most Influential Photographers in Africa, and later on named the Official Photographer for Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta. He has worked with several celebrities and politicians including Najib Balala, STL, Churchill, Habida, Musalia Mudavadi, Wyre, Amani and the list is endless. He was also Awarded First Position in the Top 50 Photographers in Kenya. Moreover, he has done work all over the world and with different calibre of clientele, having worked with Presidents, celebrities, and even flown to India to shoot the wedding of a tycoon.
Its always good to look for something different, that is how you make a mark for yourself. Work for the art. Be real or artistic about things, money will come. Also it’s not all about equipment, investing in expensive equipment doesn’t necessarily make you a better photographer