Shela Hat Festival is an art competition organized once every two years in Shela, Lamu County, Kenya. It brings together people from Lamu and Shela who come to express their creativity through hat making. The festival was pioneered by Roland Klemp and Herbert Menza as a way of promoting culture among the Lamu people.
We travelled to Shela, Lamu County, as a consort of four creatives, to experience this festival and also take(capture and give to the competitors) portraits of the competitors with their hats. While there, we noticed that the photographers on ground relied on natural light to photograph their subjects.
For a different yet consistent look, we crafted a mini-studio with two professional lights and a dark-green backdrop. We gelled the rim light red to separate the subject from the background and also for much needed drama and depth. The key light captured the raw expressions of our subjects as complimented by their respective hats.
On location, we tethered our camera to a computer and a small printer that allowed us to quickly process and print images of each contestants, and handed back to them as prints for their keeps.
Their happiness on receiving their beautiful prints was indescribable, and that is what we treasured most.
In post-production, we added frames around the photos using Lamu Doors - inspired motifs, designed by one of our creatives.