Monday, August 25, 2014

The Gatecrasher Photographer

Year after year, the universities churn out a number of graduates. Graduate rightfully expects that as a graduate, there is a job waiting for him. Sometimes there is, but on most occasions, there is nothing. Walking from office to office the answer is usually the same – ‘do you have experience’ or ‘there are no jobs at this time’.
Graduate is then faced with a number of options – well tell a lie, not a number of options, but two options - to sit at home or create his own job.
Photography, especially wedding photography, is one field that Graduate has invaded and given himself a job title of - Gatecrasher Photographer. All he needs is a small digital Samsung or Canon camera, go to one of the churches on a Saturday when there is a wedding and start snapping away. As soon as the service is over, rush to the studio, have the photos printed out and head crash the reception. Selling each photo at 5k, Graduate can be lucky enough to walk away with more than 100k for a couple of hours work.
I was at a wedding a couple of weeks ago, and as I walked up to the reception, a photographer started taking my pictures.
An hour later and midway through the speeches, photographs were thrust in my face with a 10k price tag. Hmm, that’s funny. Why is Official Photographer selling photographs? Looking round at other people part with money for the photographs, it dawned on me that the man who took my picture at the entrance was not Official Photographer but Gatecrasher Photographer.
I looked at the two photographs and they were not good. They were over exposed and in one of them, part of my head had been chopped off so I didn’t buy. This is what happened next.
Gatecrasher Photographer: “Naye mzee,these are the photographs that you posed for.”
TB: “I didn’t pose for any photographs. I was walking into the reception and you started taking my pictures.”
Gatecrasher Photographer: “Mzee, it will be sh10,000.”
TB: “Sh10,000 for what?”
Gatecrasher Photographer: “For the two photographs that you posed for.”
TB: “Listen here you snivelling mother f****r, get out of my face! I did not pose for photographs. You hear me?!”
Gatecrasher Photographer: “But you man, then next time don’t go to my wedding and pose for my photographs!”
His wedding?! With that, off he went in a rage, a frothing rage and no doubt mumbling to himself how he was short of earnings by 10k. I let him be.
As he trudged off, it was something I thought about. Nine times out of ten, Gatecrasher Photographer won’t ask if they can come and take photographs of your wedding and sell them to your guests. They take it as their right, their right to simply turn at church and take pictures while getting in the way of Official Photographer and blocking the view for your guests.
But that said, Guest would also want a picture of themselves at the wedding so, there is a service that Gatecrasher Photographer provides. However, if he had permission of Bride and Groom, all would be okay. And if I was the groom, I would insist on my cut of the takings – 60/40 in my favour.

Hours later and as I left, Gatecrasher Photographer had set up a table by the entrance and as soon as he saw me, he accosted me. “Mzee, your photographs” he shouted out. If only he had humbled himself the way Hawker does when he really wants you to buy from him, I wouldn’t have told Gatecrasher Photographer: “Tell me once more about the photographs and I will thump you. Tumbavu!”