By: DAPHINE BILLIMA
About 40 Kenyan photographers will have their photos of the standard gauge railway (SGR) exhibited at the China Roads and Bridge Construction (CRBC) headquarters in Beijing, China and Nairobi.
Speaking during the closing dinner with the photographers at a hotel in Nairobi, CRBC Business Manager Leon Li Yao said the photos will be used to tell the SGR story through the exhibitions.
“I will request the Kenya Railways authority to display the SGR photos at their headquarters for Kenyans to keep abreast with the progress of the project.
“CRBC will also feature the photos at the headquarters in Beijing and in Nairobi,” said Mr Li Yao.
Telling the story through pictures, he said, will help appreciate the workers, both local and foreign.
“When we started the construction we were living in the bush since part of the railway was passing through the bushes.
“However, all the workers had to brave the conditions for us to deliver quality construction as expected by Kenyans who trusted us with the job,” he explained.
Mr Li Yao noted that most of the Chinese nationals involved in the construction only visited their families back in China once or twice a year.
The photography competition dubbed ‘Photo254 in search of the biggest photographer in Kenya’ involved 40 photographers selected from about 2,000 applicants.
The photographers were grouped in categories of 20 each – professional and non-professional ones.
The competition organised by Spielworks Media involved a five-day challenge whereby the contestants were taken to various construction sites from Mazeras through to Voi, Emali, Athi River and finally at Syokimau.
Each day had a specific theme and contestants were expected to take and submit a photo each depicting the given theme.
The themes included innovation, prosperity and progress, trade and business, corporate social responsibility and environmental conservation.
Established photographers from studio owners to renowned photojournalists, freelancers and amateurs all braced themselves for the ‘killer’ shots that would win them the top award.
Winners, in both categories, will be awarded cash prizes with the first bagging Sh200,000, the second Sh100,000 and the third Sh75,000.
A special category, ‘The People’s Choice’, will win Sh50,000.
For this award, judges will pick the best photo from each individual and display them at Machakos People’s Park on November 28 and 29 and at the Kenya National Archives in Nairobi for three days beginning November 30, 2015 for members of the public to select the best.
The other awards will involve judgment by a panel which will pick the winners in both categories.
“I have participated in various photography competitions but this was one of a kind,” said Nation Photojournalist Tom Otieno.
“People are slowly embracing photography as an art and it pays. This is different from some time ago when it was not quite recognised as a ‘real’ job,” he added.
Among other photojournalists in the competition included Nation’s Billy Mutai, Cheboite Kigen, Jared Nyataya, media’s Joshuah Araka and Standard’s Dennish Ochieng’.
The award ceremony is set for December 2, 2015 in Nairobi.