Kenyan born visual artist, Osborne Macharia tells powerful stories through a style of photography he calls ‘Afrofictionism’. We catch up with him to discuss his storytelling journey, the concept of Afrofictionism and more.
Tell us your story
I am a self-taught commercial and advertising photographer born and based in Nairobi, Kenya. I studied Architecture in campus but halfway through my studies I discovered photography and it has been my passion and career ever since.
How did your photography journey begin?
Back when I was in campus I came across the work of photographer, Joey Lawrence. I came across his series from Ethiopia and that sparked a feeling in me that resonated with me till today. At first, I was shooting anything and everything but the urge to create my own style kicked in and I set out to do so. I’ve always been fascinated by lighting from the very start and this is evident from the work that I produce.
Explain the concept of Afrofictionism and how it inspires your work?
This is an independent narrative style of photography which highlights three key principles being Culture, Fiction and Identity through storytelling that borders between reality and fantasy. Through social inclusion, it creates a powerful platform to convey important messages on topics such as Gender Abuse, Ivory Poaching, FGM, Albinism, Dwarfism, Minority groups and care for the Elderly. I find that fiction best tells these stories as you have no restrictions in terms of your imagination. You can create characters and make them as mighty as you want them to be as opposed to how society has perceived them.
Are there specific topics that you think African creators should use their work to shed light on?
I do not believe that there are any topics that we should focus on in particular. Some want to create work purely for entertainment while others it’s to convey certain social issues. Whichever the direction taken it’s all based on the artist and what they feel they want to do.
Do you think African creators have it tougher than other creators in other continents (especially regarding recognition)?
To some extent I believe it is tougher for African creatives, right from purchasing equipment and shipping into the country, recognition and dealing with the all the common stereotype that ‘nothing good comes out of Africa’. For most of us we are constantly working hard to change what’s already been said about us by western media. It’s a tough road but worth it every single day.
If you could say one thing to other African creators what would it be?
Style. Creating your unique style is equivalent to having your unique voice. It’s easier said than done but once you find it everything else makes sense.
What are you currently working on?
We have 3 projects we hope to publish before the end of the year. I never go into detail lest I jinx them.
Word to the readers…
Africa is rising and more and more creatives are putting their best foot forward to create content that’s different, empowering and of international standards.
Click here to check out more projects from Osborne’s studio