Telling a story in black and white pictures

Saturday July 20 2013

By IRENE OUSO [email protected]

A picture is worth a thousand words.” This quote comes to mind when I see Sally Orikos work as a photographer.

When I first met Sally, or Asali as she is popularly known, through a mutual friend, we were looking through her portfolio of photographs. First, it is rare to come across a photographer who combines abstract photography and portraits. A common theme throughout her collection is black and white.

Secondly, she somehow manages to capture an abstract theme and makes it look like an installation art on its own. In one picture, she captures a chair in a room. A light in the room focuses on the chair. I am not sure what to make of it at first glance, but it captures my attention and makes me ask if someone is supposed to be seated on the chair.

I ask Sally about it and, like most artists, she is quick tell me that it is all up to me to interpret it as a viewer. There is no wrong or right.

In her portraits, Asali is known to capture emotions, joy, pain, anger, passion and fear seem to come out strongly when she does portraits of her subjects. Her ability to tell a story through her work keeps one curious and wonders what next.

According to her, facial expressions always reveals a person’s inner soul. “The face does not lie, it will not matter how much one tries to hide, it’s just the way we were created as human beings.”

It all started one year ago when a certain picture of a child went viral via social network. The picture showed a malnourished child that was captioned asking for monetary help from well-wishers.

This triggered something, hence her wanting to capture the human emotion. “I was touched by this picture because I could see the situation through this innocent child’s eyes, the eyes were pixel perfect and told a story of dire poverty,” she tells me.

I am keen to find out if she has any plans to hold an exhibition of her work. She lays out her plan, which includes collaborating with other artists and photographers. “I would like to let people know what we do as photographers.

We don’t just run around flicker happy, we see something, we get inspired and click away, that’s what we want to share with everyone. It’s one of those things that cannot be explained in words but it’s in a moment that we get to notice these things and if we don’t capture it, it’s gone… just like that”.

Her ability to capture the moments we take for granted is amazing and I do look forward to seeing her work at her exhibition.

She looks up to photographers like Leon Muli, who is best known to capture weddings beautifully, and Ben Kiruthi, who does lifestyle and wedding photography.

On the international stage, she is a fan of Frenchman Christoph, who captures great wildlife pictures. The subject matter is brought centre stage.

Currently, Asali is pursuing her degree in Mass Communication at Daystar University and would like to pursue film production as well.