This post is mostly about last week. I didn’t have the motivation, will or energy to write it until now, so excuse me. Turns out, my inner writer only comes out when she wants to and so we have to work around her schedule.
Before I get started though, I want to share some amazing news I received this week! I got accepted into the Yale Young African Scholars Program!
About this post though, I spent most of the week (18-22nd April) interning at Blush Media at which is undoubtedly one of the best studios in Kampala. It was a bit of a rollercoaster week, and I have come to appreciate that maybe one of the reasons my emotional spectrum resembles a landscape of hills and valleys is because well….life is flippin hills and valleys. And because of who I am as a person, I will react to every single trigger that comes my way, be it big or small. That can be freaking wearisome and painful, and I experienced that in full blast last week.
I am still struggling and figuring out just how much I want to share about myself and my life on this blog. On one hand I want to appear to be a mysterious private person, and let others project their own ideas to fill in the gaps. From my perspective, that appears to be the norm. But the key word there was appear, because the truth is I wear my heart out on my sleeve. One of my classmates once asked me, “How do you do it? How are you so comfortable with sharing everything that disturbs you?” She was in slight wonder, but some of my other friends see that as a bad thing. But while I may be comfortable with spilling out my life story, I have to respect that I have no right to do the same with the information of others. So I cannot share a lot of the events that made my week crazy, although I might have already failed at that (life tip: telling someone something you shouldn’t and asking them not to tell anyone else does. not. work.).
Back to Blush Media, I decided to try my luck and apply a few weeks ago, and considering my inexperience in writing a CV and putting together a portfolio, I wasn’t really expecting a response from them. Let alone such a quick one. But a response I got! And so I got to spend the last week of my holiday with many amazing people and learning new things.
Tuesday: GEMS has really gotten into my head more than I realize. Today I wore my old school uniform trousers in an attempt to appear professional. It didn’t really work because my top was showing all kinds of things, a feature I didn’t notice in the morning when I had my hoodie on. I tried to look up the place on Google Maps but I didn’t understand what I was seeing (does anyone ever), so I hopped on a boda when I was about two minutes away and still had to pay the full fare. When I walked in, the receptionist had me take a seat and I was actually shaking. I was pretty nervous and scared because walking into the office seemed like such a formal ‘adult’ thing to do and I honestly felt out of place. I met my supervisor, Max, and head of administration, Rachael. They were both very nice and friendly and told me what I needed to know.
I got to take my very first studio portraits with Max as my model. It was a little overwhelming and confusing trying to work with studio lights as well as a new camera and to be honest, I was rubbish at it. For the rest of the day, I got to play around with editing in Photoshop and Light room. It got boring after a while and I wasn’t too pleased with my work but here is one of the decent pieces I came up with.
Wednesday: Today, I learnt a lot more about studio lighting from Peter, who is very nice, handsome and a great teacher. I learnt different techniques on creating desired moody lighting, use of equipment like a reflector and got to experiment. But more importantly, I wore something comfortable! Anyway, after shooting with Peter the whole morning, I got to assist him and Daudi, another photographer with two studio shoots they were doing that day. First was a couple that was getting married that Saturday and taking pictures for their wedding sleeve. Second was a very cute couple, who’d been together for five years, wore matching polos, and seemed very much in love. After observing the professionals at work, I look forward to the day my photographic instinct is so intuitive and smooth.
For the rest of the day, I got to edit my pictures from that morning. Here is one of the pictures I came up with (too lazy to edit backgrounds. Aint about that Photoshop life).
Thursday: Today was pretty boring. I was hoping to learn more Photoshop but everyone who could teach me was busy so I spent the day editing yesterday photos. Nothing special. I left feeling pretty down and pessimistic, and I think the early mornings are starting to catch up to me. I have to sleep the dark cloud away and hopefully feel better tomorrow.
Friday: Today was fun and eventful. There are two Humans of Blush that were celebrating their birthday today, the lovely Faustar and Daudi. So I got to spend some of the morning with them and Peter doing a birthday shoot which was so much fun.
[April King and Queen]
We used filters on the lights which created soft gorgeous backgrounds. For the rest of the day, we had about five graduation shoots which I got to sit in on and watch. I think directing a shoot (learning and instructing different poses) is probably one of my largest difficulties, mostly when it comes to being original. Afterwards, I did some more editing, listened to the next day’s brief (I am sooo excited for the wedding tomorrow) and came home early. I was really hoping to go to the Diplo concert but that didn’t work out.
Saturday: I shot my first Blush wedding today and it was nearly a 24hr day. It started at 5:30am all the way up to 3:30am. So I had to get myself to the office by 7am which was a struggle, especially when it started pouring down as I was out in the open. I arrived at 7am, completely soaked, only to find out we were operating on Ugandan time. So I had a pretty moody start to the day, because of my wake up time, wet shoes and I wasn’t able to shoot in the morning because I didn’t have a card. It took me a second to get my head into photographer mode, and start exuding the fake confidence of one who knows what they’re doing. My favorite part of the morning shoot was definitely one of the little flower girls, who took such a quick liking to me that she started crying when I left without her.
Otherwise, I had a hard time figuring out my camera setting indoors, and I forgot to change them when we went outside, so I’m pretty sure I messed up all my morning shots.
After the morning shoot on our way to church, we got some breakfast and then I started to enjoy the day and I felt grateful to be there. Turns out all I needed was some juice for those feelings to kick in.
I wasn’t able to shoot at the church because my attire didn’t meet their decency requirements (for the record, I was wearing jeans, a t-shirt and a sweater but yeah, didn’t make the cut). So I waited that one out until we got back to the hotel for more shoots. By this time, it was about 2pm and I felt ready for a nap. Instead, I downed an energy drink and kept going. Max and Faustar were laughing at my excitement from yesterday, which seemed to have completely vanished. I got to shoot the groomsmen’s portraits and although I still struggled a bit with my camera settings, I was actually quite proud of the shots I managed to get and I even received some positive feedback from one of the bridesmaids, saying she liked my attitude. (aha what!)
After all the photos, we headed over to the reception hall and I was pretty shattered at this point. I downed another energy drink but that took two hours to kick in so I spent most of the wedding party in a daze. Sleeping with my eyes open to be exact. At the end though, I got a sudden boost of energy (probably the energy drink) and powered through for the rest of the day. It was a really nice party but it did feel a little weird being at a celebration and hearing speeches that had nothing to do with me. My head is still tuning into wedding photographer mode. I got home at 1:30am but didn’t sleep until 3:30. Ironically, I don’t have any photos from that day but hopefully I’ll put some up a little later.
I don’t think I fully recovered from the week’s activities for the next couple days but I really appreciated being able to do it and it was a little hard adjusting back into school mode, for many reasons. Otherwise, I really hope I can get to work at Blush again, because so far it’s something close to a dream job for me and the people are probably the nicest most awesome Ugandans I’ve met. I’m looking forward to shooting another wedding tomorrow, and curious to see if it’ll be any easier/ different.
Song of the week– Godspeed by Frank Ocean. ( I actually just heard Frank Ocean for the first time this week. I didn’t know who he was when I heard this song but it touched my soul and since then I have listened to it about 50 times. )
Quote of the week- “You’re not going to master the rest of your life in one day. Just relax. Master the day. Then just keep doing that every day.”