Everyday People PNG :Christopher Kageni

I found out I had the love for photography back in Grade 10 when a friend of mine let me play around with his Nikon 500D camera.

So after getting a chance to travel down to Australia, I bought my first ever Canon camera (2000D) with my travel allowance.

I started the passion for it by taking my camera with me every chance I got and taught myself the techniques and rules of photography, like rule #101 photography: Never shoot against the light.

Gradually I increased my skills and when I was awarded the Principal’s Award prize, which was a laptop, I took the risk of investing and sold it for K1,500 and bought my first telescopic lens (55-250mm Canon lens).

While being a youth advocate volunteering with the #Sanap Wantaim Campaign (youth campaign) back in high school, advocating and making awareness in my school, I met a young advocate by the name of Bronwyn Kili. She was with UN Women leading the #Sanap Wantaim campaign as well. She inspired me to use my passion of photography to advocate and do photojournalism, where evidently, most of my pictures from all the awareness school programs were published and used by UN Women.

Eventually, I ended up being the #SW campaign’s photographer.

Moving onto university to take up a business course, I still continued as a youth advocate, volunteering during my free time, going into schools, settlement communities and organisations, advocating and awareness raising about the importance of creating safe public spaces and empowerment of young boys and girls.

I was still using my passion of photography to capture human interest stories. It was during that time when I got my first job with Oil Search Foundation as an admin assistant; it was more about the experience and not money.

During that time, I was doubling school, volunteering, work and my passion of photography.

Just three months with Oil Search Foundation and I was offered a consultation contract with UN Women to provide photography and graphics services. That was where it all started from being a consultant to media & graphics assistant for three years and one of the only three national United Nations volunteers in the country.

It was also during the same time that I knew I had to decide to continue my studies or put it on hold and take a different path by acquiring work experience and later going back to school to finish studies.

Apart from having a job with UN Women, I also do freelancing as a side hustle, plus also to keep on developing my skill in photography, as it is a lifelong skill.

The challenges I face, as many of my counterparts do as well, would be the impression that our asking rates are costly. Clients do not take into consideration the costing of the equipment such as camera, tripod and lighting.

That would be the biggest challenge that freelance photographers face.

Carmella Gware