TRANS ATLANTIC

(Chapter One)

Most people usually want to be rebellious on the sensitive subject of slavery. In this series we explore, visually, this topic and more, both objectively and subjectively in a liberal way. 

TransAtlantic
Trans Atlantic

Trans Atlantic had been a shelf idea for a little over two years and when we brought it out and breathed some life into it a few weeks ago, there could not have been a more valid time. Initially, our original idea was to visually discuss topics such as race, slavery and class both
subjectively and objectively from an academic reference point while drawing inspiration from the Trans Atlantic Triangular trade of 16th -18th Century. And by the time we were almost done putting the project together, Libya had successfully single handedly revived the memories of this turbulent part of history all over again in the most vivid, practical way. So as a result, and as our duty as being conscious global citizens, we decided to add our own independent voice into this global conversation that is currently taking place. Not necessarily as a social commentary like how generally most creative artists would want to, but more simply as a visual illustration of some of the interchangeable themes and mixed feelings that come to mind on the subject.

Trans Atlantic

It is fascinating and particularly dreadful, as is in this case, to see how history has some kind of incurable endemic effect and just when you think we have made some considerable progress as a human race; suddenly we are back to where we started. For the vast majority where most of us find ourselves, it is absolutely frustrating every time! That after all is said and done; we quickly realize how powerless we are. Incapable of affecting any meaningful tangible change and that at the end of the day all we have is a mouth to speak for or against certain issues on social media and a heart to hate or love. Initially, when we were thinking about the best fashion to narrate the Trans Atlantic as a story in the modern time we live in, we were inspired by a hypothetical scenario of an old man who had lived through the days of slave trade and now many years later, he was sitting with his great granddaughter telling her this history of mankind.

A story of horror and triumph, hope and fear, a story of pain and joy living side by side, of how the mighty and strong gang up against the weaklings, with the weaklings, for the weaklings on a carefully crafted fallacy. We were particularly interested in discussing the profound similarities between history and the modern time we live in on a lifestyle level and how technology and other socio-economical factors have changed and continue to change but mentalities seem to possess some kind of durable irresistibility to change.

Trans Atlantic

Our initial concept was ballooned by the current state of affair of some kind of organized turmoil on our planet. When you look at what’s happening around the world at the moment in some places in the Middle East and Africa specifically, it’s completely heart breaking to say the
least. On the other hand, it is impossible and almost dangerous to buy into a single story. Every story has a right to be told and heard in its entirety. You cannot, for example, talk about Libya or the Middle East or Europe or slavery etc in isolation without recognizing a bunch of other socio- economic factors. But fundamentally the political climate and its power to change the composition of these landscapes. (As a case study)Who is Libya? Who inflicted the pain on Libya? What do we know and what do we really not know? These are some of the questions that come to mind, especially when you rely on digital media as the primary source of information like most of us.

It’s daunting to realize how quickly and easily a gift can become a curse. How and why havoc only seems to wreck places that are rich in natural resources and places where leaders have an independent way of thinking for their country. Further than that, the toughest homework of our generation is the internet. That everything happens so quickly so fast and we have to consume all this information at the same time, it gets numbing. You are not done with one hashtag then another one comes up and another and another...an endless cycle of sad news. With time you begin to see these great injustices as regular occurrences and a part of life. That’s really the dilemma of our generation.

Trans Atlantic
Trans Atlantic


Anyhow, however things play out, and from whichever sides of a story you stand on, ultimately
we are one huge family of the human race. And we should, despite of such painful realities,
continue to nurse the hope for a better planet.

We're incredibly thankful to all our team members who helped us pull of this project, we appreciate each and every effort you put towards making this a success.

~Words by Hajji Mutonye

 

Production Credits:

Photography: Pekat Photography

Producer: Peter Pekat

Styling:  Dress Creative Agency

Makeup: Annrose Njoroge

Assistants: Nick Mitalo, Brian Gathu

Talents: - Gabriella Msimbi

             -Kate Rajoro

             -Nick Karani

             -Monica Wangari

             -Sharon Njoroge

             -Ismail Shabaan

             -John Ndugire

             -"Ankal" Muhammad

              -Al Amiin Akuku

              -Hajji Mutonye

              -Ismail Akuku

NCRC (KE): Kidnapping Crisis

Hellooooo! everyone, thanks for stopping by, so we just had a shoot commissioned by the National Crime Research Centre (www.crimeresearch.go.ke) which is a State Corporation under the Office of the Attorney General and Department of Justice and carries out research into the causes of crime and its prevention and to disseminate the research findings and recommendations to the Government Agencies concerned with the administration of criminal justice and other stakeholders..

Here's what we shot :)

National_Crime_Research_Centre
national_crime_research_Centre
ncrc

 

DETAILS:

national_crime_research_Centre
national_crime_research_Centre
national_crime_research_Centre
national_crime_research_Centre
National_Crime_Research_Centre
National_Crime_Research_Centre
NCRC3.jpg
ncrc

 

The brief was to create a series of non-violent images that highlights the kidnapping crisis in Kenya and in accordance to the recently released report which went public a few months ago; Emerging Crimes: The Case of Kidnappings in Kenya Report,2017. You can check it out on their website or download here: http://bit.ly/2ilNSMt Additional information was that it shouldn't depict people smoking tobacco or with firearms.

 We initially intended to use this space for the first image but we were denied permit to shoot here, well, they claimed we didn't have appropriate papers. 🙄 So we ended up using our backup plan.

We initially intended to use this space for the first image but we were denied permit to shoot here, well, they claimed we didn't have appropriate papers. 🙄 So we ended up using our backup plan.

An actual police car was also difficult to get on the production day so we ended up using an alternative which would later be replaced with an actual police car at a later date. 

 Perspectives matters. All we had to do is record the right measurements and use them to photograph the car at a later date. The essence of this car was to give the talents an actual element/prop that they can interact with or help them get a sense of bearing. 

Perspectives matters. All we had to do is record the right measurements and use them to photograph the car at a later date. The essence of this car was to give the talents an actual element/prop that they can interact with or help them get a sense of bearing. 

 We had to shoot the car at a location with relatively similar ground texture. With the limited time (less that 15 mins) allocated to photograph the car, we had to sacrifice a few things especially the exact angle car was supposed to be and a wide white backdrop which would help us mask the car easily.  

We had to shoot the car at a location with relatively similar ground texture. With the limited time (less that 15 mins) allocated to photograph the car, we had to sacrifice a few things especially the exact angle car was supposed to be and a wide white backdrop which would help us mask the car easily.  

First of all let me introduce you to my amazing characters; 

  Character 1:  "The Caller" -This is the guys who call/communicates with the families or friends of the kidnapped to ask for ransom money, in our case, this guy was dumb, he disclosed where they were and so the police showed up! We were looking for a tall person with dreadlocks and no visible beards.

Character 1: "The Caller" -This is the guys who call/communicates with the families or friends of the kidnapped to ask for ransom money, in our case, this guy was dumb, he disclosed where they were and so the police showed up! We were looking for a tall person with dreadlocks and no visible beards.

  Character 2 : Lets call him "The Guard" This is the guy who keeps watch, looks over the victims, alerts his members incase something goes wrong. We were looking for someone with bald head and well kept beards. 

Character 2: Lets call him "The Guard" This is the guy who keeps watch, looks over the victims, alerts his members incase something goes wrong. We were looking for someone with bald head and well kept beards. 

  Character(s) 3 : Our poor souls here :( They are co-workers kidnapped as they were heading home from work.

Character(s) 3: Our poor souls here :( They are co-workers kidnapped as they were heading home from work.

On the production day we arrive at location one by 9am but were turned away at the gate so we proceeded to our new backup location where we arrived at around noon, but only for the weather to change abruptly, heavy downpour.  For two hours we locked ourselves in the cars waiting for the weather to clear up. Its almost 2pm and we've not had a single shot yet. Things got better and we did our first scene, then proceeded to location two which also run smoothly. By 5pm we were yet to shoot the third scene, things started getting messy again, bad weather!. So we either had to wait or shoot with the current weather, but the problem was the police officers, their time was almost up, they needed to leave asap!

 It might seem cool on camera but the weather was so bad the octaboxes were all wet. We couldn't turn on the generator in the open.

It might seem cool on camera but the weather was so bad the octaboxes were all wet. We couldn't turn on the generator in the open.

 We asked the guy in blue to stand there so we could give the officer a sense of direction..thats the direction the "caller" dude was supposed to be running towards.

We asked the guy in blue to stand there so we could give the officer a sense of direction..thats the direction the "caller" dude was supposed to be running towards.

When it comes to directing, getting the right people for the right roles makes my work easier. I mostly prefer using actors who I don't have to tell them what to do, all I need is to share with them my vision for that specific role. 

 POLICE!!! RUN!!!! Shooting the talents separately gives me ability to light them indipendetly and also concentrate on one action at a time, this guy was supposed to be in foreground in this scene, since the other dude was in the foreground in the first scene.

POLICE!!! RUN!!!! Shooting the talents separately gives me ability to light them indipendetly and also concentrate on one action at a time, this guy was supposed to be in foreground in this scene, since the other dude was in the foreground in the first scene.

Brief BTS Clip shot on phone.

Challenges always happen in every production, these challenges are what makes us grow. I took the blame for the morning hour mess and I promised my team that everything was okay and we had a backup plan (of which I absolutely had none at that time).

 The Team :) The Larger the team, the better the production. 

The Team :) The Larger the team, the better the production. 

 Glad to have been given a limited hardcopy version of the report, signed by Stephen Muteti, Head of Research at NCRC.

Glad to have been given a limited hardcopy version of the report, signed by Stephen Muteti, Head of Research at NCRC.

I'd like to take this opportunity to thank Mr. Stephen Muteti, Head of Research at NCRC, each and every member of our team, a tough day it was! Looking forward to new adventures and opportunities to tell more intriguing stories to the world.

PRODUCTION CREDITS;

Peter Pekat- Producer

Beata Otieno (Ojwa Styling)- Stylist

Kate Waititu (Kanai Beauties) - Makeup Artist

Nick Mitalo- Production Assistant

Ian Kola -Styling Assistant

Location: Kinale Forest

TALENTS:

Cynthia Karingu,

Luke Makokha

Stephen Wafula

Anthony Njenga

Peter & Kwach- Officers

I shared all my pre-production process on Instagram from day one to the last day. Interested in being part of the production? I always invite a guest assistant who've been following our updates on Instagram.

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

The candle burns not for us, but for all those whom we failed to rescue from prison, who were shot on the way to prison, who were tortured, who were kidnapped, who "disappeared". That's what the candle is for -Peter Benenson

 

Text By; @its_kamau

GVRC: Domestic Violence

Hey! thanks for stopping by. First, let me just drop the images before anything else; check out what we shot:-

GVRC_PekatPhotography
GVRC_Pekat_Photography
GVRC_PEKAT_PHOTOGRAPHY_KENYA
GVRC_Pekat_Photography
gvrc
ncrc
gvrc
GVRC_PEKAT_PHOTOGRAPHY_KENYA
GVRC_PEKAT_PHOTOGRAPHY_KENYA

Gender/Domestic Violence is a reality in our homes today and most of these cases go unreported hence perpetrators repeatedly abuse the victims until such a time it becomes fatal. Everyones wish is to be raised in a non-abusive, loving home but not all of us get such a chance. Physical, mental and psychological torture has an adverse effect in the growth of a child or a family in general.

This is the issue we wanted to highlight when we teamed up with Kate Waititu of Kanai Beauties to create a series of images for the Gender Violence Recovery Centre (GVRC) which is a non-profit making, non-partisan; charitable trust of the Nairobi Women’s Hospital (NWH).

GVRC’s main purpose is to bring back meaning to survivor’s lives and their families where they do this through the provision of FREE medical treatment and psychosocial support to survivors of Gender Based Violence (GBV) and engaging the public in advocacy issues and primary prevention of abuse.

Domestic violence is defined as “the wilful intimidation, physical assault, battery, sexual assault, and/or other abusive behaviour as part of a systematic pattern of power and control perpetrated by one intimate partner against another. It includes physical violence, sexual violence, psychological violence, and emotional abuse.” When you look at the sobering statistics about the state of domestic violence in Kenya, its clear that very real threat in the Kenyan household.

I, personally having witnessed abuse of a child back in August 2014 where the perpetrator is still walking scot free, I am happy that I can finally be part of a campaign to help create awareness about this issue. 

In Kate's own words; "I was glad to team up with Pekat photography and be part of this campaign which is dear to my heart. I had grown up in an abusive environment and I know how that can affect a child. It’s an environment that is unpredictable, filled with tension and anxiety and dominated by fear, a life I can’t wish for any child to go through.

For the makeup looks we did a black eye look for the ‘Mom’ to show that she had been previously assaulted by the husband, and for the child we did a split lip indicating she had been previously hit by the father."

You can read more about Gender Based Violence on GVRC's Website http://gvrc.or.ke/ and Zero Violence 254-http://www.zeroviolence254.org/

Our primary theme of this shoot was to showcase a typical chaotic household with an 8 years old child who is directly or indirectly being affected by all these. To achieve that, we had to use a talent who would help us enact such a situation, with the support of other characters i.e 'Mum', relatively authoritative 'husband' who is of old age. We can't burry our heads in the sand and say that very young women aren't getting married to old men and thats why we used male and female talents with a wide age gap. However, the age of mom and two children had to be consistent and believable thats why we settled with middle aged mum, 8 year old child and another one year old.

  Bonus portrait from the shoot.

Bonus portrait from the shoot.

pekat_photography

The first mention of this project happened two months ago and since then we've been up and down, research, meeting with my creative team, casting, location scouts, wardrobe, designing of props and a million other things that we had to do to make this project a success. Handling a team of 13 people was by no means a joke. As I always say, good preparation and team work are the perfect ingredients of a good production. 

To me, a photo assignment doesn't start and end with taking the photos but its an unending process which starts from an idea, to conceptualisation, pre-production, production, post-production, marketing and other things. With every last shot I take, thats where my work starts. 

 Checking progress of this rocking chair a week before the shoot.

Checking progress of this rocking chair a week before the shoot.

 

Fast forward to the shoot date and the main challenge was getting the intended sombre mood, y'all know dealing with children is hectic. So we had to shoot them first then shoot the other two talents separately in the same set, perspectives. With that I could concentrate on one thing at a time. As expected, our 8 year old talent kept laughing in most of the shots.

  Why you still laughing :(

Why you still laughing :(

  What's going on back there? unh? 

What's going on back there? unh? 

  Right frame. This frame also served as our backplate. 

Right frame. This frame also served as our backplate. 

  Intended Empty backplate.  With the same perspectives and light direction, it becomes easy to merge the frames together. A backplate is the immovable plate where all other frames fall into. However the inclination of the rock chair was different from the frame the old man is seated, this gets quite difficult to merge such frames.

Intended Empty backplate.  With the same perspectives and light direction, it becomes easy to merge the frames together. A backplate is the immovable plate where all other frames fall into. However the inclination of the rock chair was different from the frame the old man is seated, this gets quite difficult to merge such frames.

The home-made curved table lamp, straight smoking pipe were designed by ProTisa. The rock chair was also made specifically for the shoot and design was based on two contemporary reference sources.

GVRC_Pekat_Photography
 Shooting all talents at same time was practically impossible.

Shooting all talents at same time was practically impossible.

  The idea of leaving the telephone handset hanging was suggested by one of our team. 

The idea of leaving the telephone handset hanging was suggested by one of our team. 

  Original setting before we removed the carpet and replaced the seats.

Original setting before we removed the carpet and replaced the seats.

  LED lights were used to add ambience. Powerful flood lights would have changed the direction of light and overpower the tungsten bulb we had placed on the table. 

LED lights were used to add ambience. Powerful flood lights would have changed the direction of light and overpower the tungsten bulb we had placed on the table. 

  The good thing with team work is brainstorming, when I am shooting, I am always open to suggestions from my team.

The good thing with team work is brainstorming, when I am shooting, I am always open to suggestions from my team.

  Two Legends, One Photo. Lol :)

Two Legends, One Photo. Lol :)

BTS Clip shot on Samsung s7...

Thank you Sharifa and Charles from GVRC for trusting us with the whole production and being so supportive. Special Thanks to Kate and to all my other team- Beata, Nick, Gonza, Peter, Abel, John and Betty-Thank you. 

  The good thing with my team is that they always make sure I worry less about everything else hence giving me time to concentrate on taking the perfect frame. 

The good thing with my team is that they always make sure I worry less about everything else hence giving me time to concentrate on taking the perfect frame. 

Thank you Irene of Farm Houz for the perfect location and giving us the space to execute our ideas.

PRODUCTION CREDITS;

Peter Pekat- Producer

Beata Otieno (Ojwa Styling)- Stylist

Kate Waititu (Kanai Beauties) - Makeup Artist

Betty Mukiri - Makeup Assistant

Gonzanga Gonza- Guest Assistant

Pro Tisa - Props

Location: Farm Houz, Muguga

TALENTS:

Loise Mathini,

David Nganga

Cresenciah Wanjiku

Sandra Muthoni

I shared all my pre-production process on Instagram from day one to the last day. Interested in being part of the production? I always invite a guest assistant who've been following our updates on Instagram.

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

“It is seldom that domestic violence is an isolated episode; rather it is comprised of a number of episodes over an extended period of time.” 
― Asa Don Brown

Yours Truly; @its_kamau