Name: Neha Manoj Shah
Location/Based in: Nairobi
Online Footprint/Social Media
Ever since I was young, my father always had strict rules about cameras – how to handle and maintain them. With that inbuilt, I always treated cameras as a delicate, yet powerful tool.
I started as a hobbyist – taking photos of wildlife and flora. To capture the flower’s ripe beauty and is colours, excited me. It wasn’t till much later I started taking photography seriously. I started off as an amateur – learning in the field and having a really good mentor.
I have been a professional photographer for over 5 years now specialising in wedding, events and fashion photography. Though I still do wildlife as a hobby – a love that never dies.
Was always drawing. Loved Art classes. In year 5/6 we learnt about Artists. I wrote the notes and kept them safe to refer.
In the year 9/10. In art we had a topic we needed to explore. The theme was reflections. I processed the theme and painted an eye with thunder lightning bolts (which represented the anger of a person). The teacher failed me as it was not reflection – my argument was that the eyes are a reflection of a soul – to show the inner conflicts of a person that a face wouldn’t express.
In ‘A’ levels I wanted to learn more – to expand my subject in Art. But the same teacher refused. He said ‘still life of landscape only’. My frustration grew; the rebel in me was fully born.
During the University Expo from UK came to Sarit Centre – only 2 units offered Art – Loughborough and Nottingham Trent. My mother helped me carry all my Art books and folders (there were many). I showed the lady my school work – she was bored. Then showed her things I did at home and she was impressed.
She knew that schools in Kenya were really bad in Art. She loved the concepts of my private work though my skills needed sharpening. She said it is better to teach someone skills than creativity, which is what you have. She gave me an unconditional offer to Loughborough University to do fine Art!!!
4 years at university – doing Fine Art fell in love with photography and film. I carried on doing it – producing 5 short films (one was runner up in a short film competition and was showcased in London). Another, runner up at KIFF – shown in Nairobi – Alliance Francaise.
After university – looking for work – became a Graphic Designer. In 2010 moved to Kenya – freelance wedding /event
2013 – Won a nature award.
Also got in a film workshop.
2014 –first wildlife exhibition with my mentor
2015 – Part of the crew – made a feature film.
Upcoming photographer of the year (fashion)
Started doing fashion photography from late 2013/ early 2015.
2016 – Made a short film after many years
Working on a set of an International series
On my way to making the photography into a business.
Exhibitions to date
2014 – strength in numbers. Exhibition on the great migration. Village market
2015- Kenya fashion awards – alliance francaise
2015- Kenya arts diary – heinrich boell foundation
2014 – Kenya photography awards – nature Category
2015 – Kenya fashion awards – upcoming photographer of the year 2015
Neha looks at the big picture in photography – business today, Collins Ogutu, 25/03/16
Upcoming photographer – African photo magazine issue 3, December 2015
Neha just loves the lens – mkazi magazine, Margaret Mwangi, 28/05/15
To become a prominent photographer in East Africa within wedding, events and fashion photography.
Vi’enle Photography’s objective is to capture our clients’ precious memories and moments through photography by always paying attention to details and to cater their demands in an efficient, professional and honest manner.
90’s TV shows – women power
The history of Art – became my bible which I read in the library during my free lessons
Ramses and the ancient Egyptian History.
Isabelle Allende books
Mentor – Manoj Shah, Anup Shah
Mentor – Naia Barrenechea
Travelling with family and exploring new areas/cities/countries
18 month plan
18 months – start employing
15 months – make it a full company
12 months – get constant jobs
6 months – website