Images courtesy of Amy Muhoro + Darina Anstis

PEOPLE :AMY MUHORO

On the first feature of our new section:People, I’d like to invite you to join me in an intimate conversation I had with Amy Muhoro, better known as Amyvisuals, a young self taught  female Photographer based in East Africa. I met Amy back in 2014 and she has served as the biggest inspiration to me. Though elusive to taking images of herself, she quite often tells captivating visual narratives.

We discussed how she started off, a bit of her aesthetic, creative process and more.

1. Wild Intro

I am a 20 year old visual artist, born and bred in Kenya-Nairobi.
I got interested in photography late 2013, which is when I first got onto Instagram and became fascinated by that particular art of taking photos after following a couple of cool local and international photographers.
Progressively over the years, I wanted to challenge myself and do more and  that’s how I now became interested in filming, cause it’s more or less the same thing as photography, only that it involves a lot more planning and concentration when executing. You can’t really throw a filter on it and expect things to turn out alright like in photos haha!
 
2. Describe your aesthetic and what inspires it.
 (Laughs) So I’ve heard people say it’s ‘bold’ and full of deep and moody tones and colors, which I kinda agree with.
 But, from the beginning it was more about expressing my emotions; what I was feeling inside.
I’d say it’s basically how I see the world through my eyes; Learning to notice and enjoy the beauty in everything and everyone.
 
3. What drew you to shooting and can you remember the first photograph you took? 
Funny enough, I think the first photograph I ever took wasn’t of a person but of a flower in our backyard and I became fascinated by the capturing of essence of an object. And I just continued from there. Soon enough, I began shooting portraits of my family and friends. Most of the time the pictures failed miserably, I had no knowledge on composition or camera settings but I was determined to learn.
4.How do you work out a concept for a project? 
I have a mood board for every image or video that you get to see. I get lots of different works from different artists, revise them, study their forms and composition all in a trial to come up with my own. I know they say there’s nothing new under the sun but I really try to ensure my work is as ‘authentically me as possible’.
 
5. What do you think you translate through your images? 
Again, always emotion. How I’d like to see the world through my eyes.
You need some sadness, some joy or some wonder? I’m your girl haha.
 
6. Are there any other mediums you use to express yourself? 
I am an indoor musician, I like to relax on the piano, but only recreationally, I decided not to pursue a career in it. It’s more of my happy place, where I come back to reflect and refresh my thoughts.
I also have a small collection of few collages that I make (if it even counts, haha). It’s just a new fun medium of expression that I’m trying out. I don’t want to pursue a career in that either.
 
7. What have you learnt about yourself through your work? 
My art has saved my life multiple times, so it’s very personal for me.
What I mean by this is that, by doing what I do, I’m able to grow myself positively; financially & especially mentally; I’ve had a lot of battles with anxiety in the past and working on visuals just gives me the peace and clarity I need.
 
8. How has social media influenced your growth? 
Well yes, mildly.
Apps like Instagram are how I even discovered my craft in the first place, and helped me connect with like minded people who I began collaborating and even became close friends with.
For me, there are lots of positive thought growers on social media. From musicians like Solange who charms you with her weird inspiring aesthetics to Rihanna who just makes you not wanna give a f#%$ about what other people think of you. These people, they slowly start to have an effect on who you are, and encourage you to be bigger; Bigger than life, like they already are. And I think that’s really cool.
But, I also frequently take time off social media as well, because I don’t wanna turn into one more of society’s zombies. I feel like there’s too much pressure to be who we’re not and that’s just against everything I stand for, so I don’t wanna get caught up in all that ‘societal expectations mambo jumbo.’
Any Amyvisuals’ wannabe experiences?
Lots of them.
It’s cool to see that more youth want to get into visual arts scene and all. Yes, I’m happy that I inspire some of them, but I think there’s a line between discovering what you were meant to be and trying to be someone else. You’re not going to be your best authentic self if you are busy copying someone else. Have faith in yourself. A little faith can go a long way, and I am proof of that.
 
9. How has the new wave of photographers helped you identify as ‘different’?
Am I different? haha yeah I guess I probably am.
I think it’s probably cause I see most people are doing the same thing, over and over. Like I said, there’s nothing new under the sun, but I would just like to express myself in MY own way as best I can.
But at the end of the day, I’m happy that WE EXIST and I’m glad we’re breaking that stigma of how being a Kenyan artist  isn’t a ‘real career’ and you have to get a ‘real job’ eventually by becoming a doctor, lawyer or whatever…you know the highly praised careers by parents. But no, that’s just people’s opinions.
You can be anything you wanna be, you just have to want it bad enough.
 
10. Wild Outro 
Always be yourself.
We hear a lot of successful people say this but I don’t think we pay much attention to it.
Trust me, they are right.
You will only excel in life by living out YOUR purpose. This can only happen by being yourself; by being the BEST version of yourself.
Below are links to some of the videos Amy Muhoro has worked on, kindly have a look :