By M&M Reporter
Almost all of us have come across that photo of a Moran standing crossed legged and balancing on a spear, a signature pose among the Maasai on the Internet and were tempted to post it on our social media pages. Or perhaps use it in a Power Point presentation to get the point across easily or even for a marketing campaign among small and even large businesses.
All this, we are oblivious of who took the beautiful shot.
If you have not given in to the temptation, you might consider refraining further until you have consent from the owner of the photo.
This is because using that, or other photo, without the owner’s approval might cost you dearly is future as local photographers start claiming what is rightfully theirs.
Through their lobby the Kenya Press Photos Association (KPPA), the photographers say they are engaging lawyers with a view of making both companies and individuals that have been using their photography work without approvals to pay.
The Association noted that the unlicensed use of photos, whose access has been enhanced by the Internet, is not limited to individual Kenyans posting on their social media walls but corporates in their marketing and advertising campaigns. This is despite many companies having legal departments that should be advising on use on use of such works belonging to other entities.
“(Unlicensed) stock photography on the internet has become a big field where people will use photos without approval from different photographers. We are trying to see how we can work with lawyers and have people using such photos pay. In the coming few months, we will be working with copyright lawyers to ensure that people do not take advantage of our photography,” said Thomas Mukoya chairman KPPA.
“Do not be afraid to post your photos online, our work is protected by law just like other creative works and all we need to do is take action. There are many photos used on billboards and other advertising campaigns. We have to acknowledge that this the work of other people and pay just as is the case for others in the creative industry.”
Mukoya who spoke last Thursday during this year’s Kenya Press Photo Awards also said the association will in 2019 hold an exhibition for Kenyan photographers to showcase their work. The Association will work with similar organisations from other countries where such exhibitions have been running successfully in organising the event in Kenya.
“We will have a photo expo… a whole week of events where we will have photographers showcase and talk about what they are doing,” he said.
During the awards ceremony in Nairobi, veteran photographers were recognised. These included Azim Saidi, who has been a press photographer for 56 years, having started his career in 1961.
Saidi has covered all the presidents in the region since independence as well as other major events locally and globally and his advice for up and coming photographers is to always carry their camera with them. He narrated how a seemingly oblivious incident that he captured on camera when he was a young photographer was able to earn him enough funds to buy equipment that launched his career.
“What I want to tell the young photographers, wherever you go, always have your camera on you. This is because you do not know when you will get that (all important) picture in front of you,” he said.
“I had just started out and bought a camera worth Sh150. The first picture I took with that camera was of an accident near Khoja Mosque early in the morning. When I took it to a studio for processing the studio owner advised that I give the photos to the Standard newspaper. The newspaper used five pictures of that accident on the front page and paid Sh200 for the photos… then it was a lot of money.”
“At the same time, an insurance company offered Sh5,000 for the pictures, which could be anything up to Sh500 000 today… with this money, I was able to use the money to buy photography equipment. You should always have your camera on you.”
During the awards ceremony Prof Peter Wanderi Principal Corporate Services at Mt Kenya University (MKU), who was the chief guest, said the institution was evaluating a possibility of partnering with the Association.
“We are ready to sign an MOU with the association. It is always good to have a university walk along with you as a knowledge partner,” he said.
He also challenged the photographers to be on the lookout for opportunities as they try to grow their personal careers and also grow into job creators.
“Opportunities are available but we have not been able to exploit them. As an association, you can be able to exploit these opportunities. In as much as there are opportunities, let us be ready to face the dangers. These include the danger of unemployment. I call upon you reflect on the Government’s Big Four Agenda and such other development agenda at the national, regional and global levels to deal with this danger of unemployment in Kenya,” he told the photographers.
“At MKU, we also have the Graduate Enterprise Academy at MKU, which mentors young business people to move to the next level in enterprise and you can register for free for now.”