This CNN Hero upcycles old computers to open new worlds for young Kenyans
Cameras and computers don’t go together well. In fact, the digital world was still an unknown back in 2013 when a University of South Africa graduate student decided to create an unusual video about African photography using a small Pentium computer (built for $120 in Kenya). It was an experiment to teach a more realistic approach to photography, and the result was a stunning video of a woman sitting in an empty market. The images and the music in the video were captured with a cheap compact camera and an iPhone 4.
A few months later, another Kenyan student, Tumusiime Ngugi, came up with the idea of doing an exercise using a cheap computer to photograph and then edit the images on his computer. The result, however, was not as simple as he imagined as the resulting video was slow and low quality.
The student behind both these projects, Kenneth Obura, had worked in IT for over 10 years before starting up a photography business called ‘The Photogenic’ in 2010. He has since then developed a passion for creative photography and the idea of using cheap computers to do his masterpieces.
What does he do?
The main task for Obura is to create these videos and to build on the skills he was learning. He says he tries to learn the art of photography from the very beginning so he can take control of the lighting. He is focused on the subject and his idea of capturing a subject is to capture the light and the subject, rather than be restricted to only his idea of it.
Obura is a computer programmer and he has been able to combine this technical skill with his artistic creativity. “When I was in school, we only used pens, pens and paper, which are no longer available,” Obura says. “There is a lot of innovation and creativity in computer,” he