Calm, cool and collected is how we can describe him. From advertising department head to photographer, Sebastian Wanzalla is both easygoing and deeply profound. Unafraid to try new things, Sebastian jumped into photography almost as a joke and has been doing it now for over 5 years. He previously worked as the head of an advertising department and this is how photography found him.
From that point, Sebastian jumped into photography headfirst. “From there, I had a lot of time to try new things,” he explained. He spent his time shooting, experimenting, learning, reading, watching tutorials on photography, attending workshops, working on new projects and doing as much research as possible.
Sebastian used to take pictures for WAPI (words and pictures), a Kenyan Hip-Hop event that used to take place at the British Council. “That was my job every Saturday and that is when I met Anto Neo Soul and Octopizzo and we have been friends ever since. When all these guys were starting out, that is where it started for me.”
Sebastian is always learning and right now, he is interested in learning to color grade his photos. “In layman’s language,” he explains, “ It is to manually create filters. The way movies have a blue’ish tint to them, I want to find a way to do that to my photos.” He recently invested in lights, which will be of great assistance to him on his travelling assignments. These new lights are potable, light and, as he says, “I don’t have to travel with gear. Nowadays, I am getting jobs in the bundus, hakuna stima uko.”
The people who inspire Sebastian are Jim Chuchu, from the Nest Collective, and Osbourne Macharia. “Osbourne is a master of creating light and Chuchu is creativity so these are the people who inspire me the most,” he says.
Sebastian still feels that he has so much more to try and build his portfolio further. From all his traveling assignments, Sebastian is able to see what is in that place, meet people and get a shot to add to his portfolio on top of what he was sent there to do. To follow his journeys and see his growing portfolio, check Sebastian out on Instagram. Sebastian has also learnt a better way to organize his photos. Importance of this is simple, as a photographer, one’s entire portfolio can be made up of thousands of photos and when so being able to trace an image quickly is necessary for clients and for possible competitions one applies for. “I don’t need to spend hours looking for an image,” he explains happily.
Back then, Sebastian was curious and needed to learn so much so he was in absorption mode, he says. What kind of light do you need? Equipment? What things mean? When he started out, Sebastian used the normal settings and hoped the camera would do the rest. Right now, experience has taught him everything he knows so when he approaches a photo shoot, he knows how to best capture the image.
It’s unfortunate, Sebastian tells us, that people don’t buy coffee table books. “People just search for Google images and use the photos they find.” To him, the only one working well is Capture Kenya by Safaricom. Sebastian was blessed enough to be chosen to participate in for Capture Kenya 2014 Challenge going to Kakamega to capture the unseen side of Kenya and ‘share the magic.’ Capture Kenya by Safaricom is an amazing platform to showcase Kenya’s beauty, culture, landscapes, life and the 2014 challenge was all about #UnexpectedKenya. “I had an awesome team for Capture Kenya.”
All images and video are courtesy of Sebastian Wanzalla for Capture Kenya Safaricom and subject to copyright protection. (c)SebastianWanzalla. See more below.
Daringly blunt and ever growing, Sebastian tells us more about the photography world, his views on fashion designers in Kenya and offers some well needed advice for those in the industry.
Check out Part II.