What it took Star photographer Enos Teche to win Pawa254 award

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The Star photographer Enos Teche is known for shots including that of KBC anchor Victor Muyakane saving a disabled person from a swarm of bees.

Muyakane was later offered a cash award by Kenya Film Classification Board CEO Ezekiel Mutua and awarded the Elder of the Order of the Golden Heart by President Uhuru Kenyatta.

Teche, who won a Pawa254 award for the best photographer in the news category on Sunday, also holds dear a photo he took of a woman protesting outside Harambee House in Nariobi County, over allegations of r**e against ‘fake doctor’ Mugo Wairimu.

The picture of a woman with her legs apart sparked debate after making it to the front page of the newspaper and became a topic of conversation on the popular Classic 105 breakfast show.

A disabled boy screams for help after an attack by bees near the Supreme Court in Nairobi, September 20, 2017. /ENOS TECHE

KBC journalist Vincent Muyakane saves a disabled boy from an attack by a swarm of bees near the Supreme Court in Nairobi, September 20, 2017. /ENOS TECHE

A woman affiliated with the Okoa Dada movement lies on a street in Nairobi during a protest for justice for r**e victims, September 14, 2015. /ENOS TECHE

HOW IT ALL BEGAN

Teche’s passion for photography struck while he was in campus. He did not have the primary tool – a camera – so his roommate Ali Abdi, who is also a photographer, was his saving grace.

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The two attended events, took photographs and submitted to media houses. Their confidence grew with every publication.

Teche was later recognised by Nation editor William Oweri after taking a photo of Eugene Wamalwa during his time as Justice minister.

“Oweri was a mentor and a source of great support when I got started,” he says, adding he sent him to Thika for his first official assignment – the event in the year 2013 was a political rally.

Teche remembers buying the Star newspaper to check for events that he could cover as a freelancer.

He joined the team in 2014 as an intern, “struggled” to buy a Canon EOS 500D camera and was later asked to cover protests near 

“I still look at that photo,” he says of one that also ended up on the front page of the Star.

Another media house approached Teche and asked to use his photos but he declined.

Teche grew at the Star to the point that 15 of his photos were once used on one day, something that pushed him to work harder despite financial struggles as he was on an unpaid internship programme.

After the internship, then Head of Content Charles Kerich asked the photographer to cover an event at the US Embassy.

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Teche got employed a short while later, cleared rent arrears that had seen his house in Ngara closed several times and provided more for his family.

The Star photographer Enos Teche during the Kenya Photography Awards ceremony at Pawa254 in Nairobi, July 9, 2018. /EZEKIEL AMING’A

MAIN CHALLENGES

Asked what the main stumbling blocks for upcoming photographers are, Teche notes two – lack of accreditation and lack of recognition.

He, however, tells young photographers: “The use of your photo without recognition should not discourage you. It should motivate you.”

He also notes the need for individuals to find their unique drivers.

“People’s lives inspire me. I want to connect and unify people through images,” he says. ” I strive to tell the stories behind my subjects through the photos I take.”

Teche further advises photographers to take their professions seriously, be careful while trying to break stories and challenge themselves based on standards set by internationally acclaimed people in their fields.

His best Kenyan photographers are Thomas Mukoya and Noor Khamis who both work with Reuters.

“You will never serve in the military, for example, if you are not passionate,” he notes. “Use your photos to have lasting impact.”

An undated photo of a man lying on the ground after being confronted by police, at Uhuru Park in Nairobi, during protests against the IEBC ahead of the 2017 general election. /ENOS TECHE

A police officer reacts to the impact of teargas during riots in Kawangware 56, Nairobi, after the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold President Uhuru Kenyatta’s re-election, November 20, 2017. /ENOS TECHE

Teche also emphasises the need to take unique pictures and to look past the “big and expensive cameras that can be intimidating”.

“It’s not all about the quality of your camera. It’s also about how well you compose your images before clicking the shutter. Everybody can own a camera but not everyone can tell a story through a photo. Photography is an art.”

Teche has entered his photos into several competitions and has been nominated twice for awards.

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He has won twice, the first time being in the Kenya Press Photo Awards early this year. He says winning an award is a tall order as hard work and sacrifice are requirements.

Teche never leaves his camera behind and is still looking for his niche. He is thankful to those who challenge him to do his best and wants more women in the industry.

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