In colonial Kenya, a story is told about Lord Egerton who built a magnificent 52-room castle for the love of his life. Little is known about the lady who is believed to be of Austrian origin but she is the reason a castle still stands at the heart of Nakuru County, Kenya.
Born to a noble family in 1870, Maurice Tatton was the sole heir of Alan de Tatton and Lady Anna Louisa Taylor. Maurice later succeeded his father as the fourth Baron of Egerton then later moved to Kenya where he bought 21,116 acres of land from Lord Delamere.
Construction of the castle took 16 years to complete but he came through a cold reality that the purpose for which it was built had fizzled out. The love of his life had turned him down sending a clear message that he wasn't worthy of her companionship. She claimed the house was “no better than a dog’s kennel.” She left a devastated Lord Egerton and soon got married to another British lord in Australia.
He developed a passionate hate towards women, vowed to never marry and pinned notes on tree girths and branches warning women that they risked soaking bullets if they made it anywhere close to his property.
He died a lonely, unloved man but still remains a legend to many.
As part of my 19 Century Frontier Style Series and in honor of Lord Egerton, I created these portraits featuring Mr. Johny Walker as Lord Egerton and June DeeDee as Lady X. Each projects starts as a simple thought, mostly triggered by locations, people I get to meet everyday or a favorite film scene or character and I build it up through research, team work and finally a complete concept is born. After countless calls, messages and meetings with my long-term stylist we managed to design all the outfits from scratch, based on thousands of reference files both in film formats, actual victorian images and contemporary costume designers. I shot the two subject separately and at separate time and location.
Though it doesn't always end up exactly how we wished it to be, atleast we tried our best. Our greatest challenge being Lady X's dress bustle. We really tried to enhance the bulge and shape the dress to match victorian style but the fabric used didn't quite match our expectations. The height of our elderly model, Mr. Johny Walker was also a key challenge, he was relatively short so some designs wouldn't actually go well with him.
Finding the props especially the top hat and three-piece candle holder proved to be one of the most difficult tasks, walking up and down in downtown Nairobi trying to find antiques shop. We ended up making them since we couldn't find one.
The reason we shot at the castle was to give our subject an authentic space and environment they can be part of. In my craft i've learnt the art of not compromising any aspect of my image-making process; from planning, costumes/outfits, set designs, makeup, props, models to post-production and all that. When a project is personal, i'm doing it for myself and for the course I believe in, its a reflection of what I like and what I am capable of. I don't explain my images, I let them speak for themselves and if they don't, I keep quiet.
I was looking for a lonely, reflective, quiet and almost still mood to resonate with Lord Egerton's last years of his life when he had fully immersed himself in farming and assumed everyone else. In the face of death lies a vast property behind him with no children or next of kin to inherit him. Time is running out and so does the candle light behind him, he reflects back his own life, and an array of light penetrating through the windows signals an imminent eternal life. His nobility, wealth and respectable social status about to be summarised in one sentence; He Died A Lonely, Unloved Man.
You can watch a short BTS Video below or on Youtube: https://youtu.be/F40uq9s2tpc
Special Thanks to all the production team, especially the Producer, the Lord Egerton management team and curators who gave us exclusive access to the property although we ended up using a very small section of the huge structure. Thanks to Isaac who was our Driver and all other guys who helped me achieve this, for me i'm truly honoured to be part of this project.
Peter Pekat- Producer
Kate Waititu (Kanai Beauties) - Makeup Artist
Beata Otieno (Ojwa Styling)- Stylist
Murayan -BTS Video
Nick Mitalo- Assistant/Set Designer
The Undisputed Man- Outfit
Ian Kola - Styling Assistant
Do you have any question regarding the shoot, the equipments I used, post-processing? Any complimentary message you'd like to pass? or further clarification? Use the form in this page, i'll get back to you in a split second; ASK KAMAU
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''The eternal quest of the individual human being is to shatter his loneliness''- Norman Cousins
Text By; @its_kamau