David Macharia is a renowned photographer who was born and bred in Kenya. He started his photography journey in the year 2000 after completing high school education. After lacking school fees for higher education, he began working at a printing studio until the year 2003 when he resigned to become a freelance photographer.
He worked with other outstanding photographers like Muturi Kanini and Boniface Mwangi. His breakthrough came in 2007 when he met radio host and celebrity, Caroline Mutoko, who commissioned him to be the official photographer of the big wedding that was sponsored by Kiss Fm.
In the same year, he met his mentor Mathew Gathua from Valentine Cake House and he also managed to register his photography business Versatile Photographers. David Macharia was overwhelmed by referrals and couldn’t get a team to work with, and that is when he decided to start a mentorship program to mold wannabe photographers.
His mentorship program grew rapidly, and by end of the year 2014, he couldn’t accommodate the number of people coming since there wasn’t enough space at Versatile Photographers office. He used social media platforms to invite people interested in learning photography and went to Uhuru Park Gardens (a public park) for training.
It was always a dream for David to start a photography institution where people could come and learn basic skills in photography. He had attended several workshops in South Africa and had so much to share in terms of photography skills and entrepreneurship in the creative industry.
The number of mentees increased, and when David was commissioned to be the official photographer during President Barack Obama’s visit at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit, he took two of his best students–Willy Muturi and Doreen Kerina–to be part of his team.
In Kenya, it is difficult for financial institutions like banks to give loans to creatives without collateral. The Obama visit was, therefore
Later, he managed to register the Versatile School of Photography which has since won the Kenya Wedding Industry Awards as the best photography school in East Africa. The school has received students from all over Africa; Nigeria, Ghana, Rwanda, Congo, and a bigger number from Tanzania.
Versatile Photographers celebrated this Evolution Of Photography in Africa as they opened a new branch at the Village Market, one of the high-end malls in Nairobi. Versatile Photographers was awarded the Business Excellence Awards for being the most innovative photographer in 2018. This was followed by the Photography Solution of the year award at the Global MICE Summit in September 2019. The company is currently looking for more funds to expand its wings to the rest of Africa. This will help transform more lives of young people interested in developing content through photography and film.
Visit Versatile Art Gallery at the Village Market to see a collection of David’s photography including Obama portraits printed on canvas which he donates to schools as part of the CSR initiative of Versatile Photographers meant to inspire young people and remind them that their dreams are valid. The portrait is also sold at $250 and the proceeds go to a school fees kitty for needy students. People can invest in the picture for libraries or as a gift to their former schools as a way to inspire the students.
Earlier this year, David visited Mrs. Sarah Obama in K’Ogelo during one of the Versatile Adventures excursions and promised to give her the Obama portrait. This assurance was fulfilled on the 16th of September 2019 when two captioned canvas prints were delivered, one to the Senator Barrack Obama Secondary School, the other to Mama Sarah Obama at her compound. Mama Sarah deeply appreciated the gesture, saying it was good work. At the Senator Obama School, excitement and appreciation were also palpable. Students were enthused by the kind gesture and the motivating caption on the picture. They decided to hang the portrait in a form 4 class so that it would keep motivating the candidates.
David’s journey has inspired many. Lack of school fees to join the university did not dishearten his quest to succeed. He pursued photography with a zealous heart and to date, he has managed to make innovations and build a brand that now works globally. His story is a motivation for those who feel constrained by resources and cornered by circumstances. It is a constant reminder that each one of us has within us the ability to reach the heights of success.
Here are David’s contacts
STORY BY: David Macharia, CEO and Founder, Versatile Photographers