From Uganda to Germany: The Life of a Photographer

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Remember Papa Shabani, the very young and talented Ugandan photographer who shared with us one of the most fascinating photos about albino children? Now currently having a wonderful and enriching life in Hamburg, Germany, Papa shares with us what he has been up to for the last couple of months, giving us a glimpse of the life of a photographer.

The life of a Photographer featuring Bigsean and  Papashotit (Papa Shabani)

The life of a Photographer featuring Bigsean and Papashotit (Papa Shabani)

Seizing Opportunities

I have had a good life as a photographer last year. I emerged as one of the winners of the New Talent Award at the Kampala Contemporary Art Festival KLA ART ’14. Twenty-one other Kampala artists and ten other regional artists participated. The prize for the award was a one month residence project at Kuona Art Trust in Nairobi, Kenya.

Right now, I am in St. Pauli in Hamburg, Germany as a proud Ugandan photographer and Festival intern at Viva Con Agua de Sankt Pauli e.V. as part of an exchange program facilitated by Bundesfreiwillingdeinst. I am responsible for documenting the festivals.

 

Papa and his team from Viva Con Agua at the MELT! Festival

Papa and his team from Viva Con Agua at the MELT! Festival

 

Festivals are such a big thing here in Germany. Some past major festivals I have been part of include SouthSide Festival, Melt! Festival, Maifeld Derby Festival, Lunatic Festival, and others. I feel blessed to have access to restricted areas like the backstage, artiste villages, and media rooms. I feel really good about having participated – this is the life of a photographer for me.

All of these opportunities came about when I first started supporting Viva con Agua five years ago, an organization that works on water projects around the world, with water extension projects that can be found in Asia, Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia and South America. At the time, I did a collaborative graffiti piece with a visiting German writer called Rebelzer.

 

Team Viva Con Agua at the MELT! Festival

Team Viva Con Agua at the MELT! Festival

 

I was asked If I would be interested to fly to Germany as a photographer at festivals and gain great photo coverage, expand social skills and my network, and see how things work in a foreign continent. Of course, I was very interested – it was a life of a photographer I really wanted. I got to work with photographers from different major backgrounds and enjoy great music from around the world that the festivals have to offer. More importantly, I was not just a part of the audience, but also a part of the backstage crew.

This exchange program to Hamburg, Germany also requires me to do programs that involve students from different school backgrounds and countries. I lecture and listen to feedback from each participant in the various workshops. The workshops are an insight to what is happening in Uganda and what I do in Africa in relation to what is happening here – social art and entrepreneurial activities, and so on. Essentially, I get to share many different aspects of the life of a photographer that I live.

 

Being Part of the Millerntor Gallery

Another reason I am here is because of the Millerntor Gallery organized by Viva con Agua, an international urban arts, music, and culture festival at the Millerntor Stadium, home to FC St. Pauli. My works are being featured in the gallery this year, along with more than one hundred other artists from all over the world. The gallery helps raise funds for clean water and sanitation in the the countries where Viva con Agua operates.

All of this has been a really great experience, and I am thankful for it. I really have had the good life of a photographer. Follow me to find out more stories and adventures in the life of a photographer!

The scene at Millerntor Gallery

The scene at Millerntor Gallery

 

An interview session at the Millerntor Gallery

Preparation for the opening of Millerntor Gallery

 

“case” is the alias of Andreas von Chrzanowski an artist from the German graffiti scene.

“case” is the alias of Andreas von Chrzanowski an artist from the German graffiti scene.

 

Father and child appreciating some art pieces at the Millerntor Gallery

Father and child appreciating some art pieces at the Millerntor Gal

 

Guys in pink suit at the Millerntor Gallery

Guys in pink suit at the Millerntor Gallery

 

Photo credits – Papashotit (Papa Shabani)