Mutua Matheka and the Love for Photography


What does it take to be a success in the art industry? Is photography interesting when one has an eye for details or sees things in a way that others don’t? Or is it because Mutua Matheka is the real deal in town?

Mutua Matheka is a renowned Kenyan photographer. His photography portfolio of Nairobi’s urban landscape extends beyond mere aesthetics to a realistic depiction of the city. He sat down with Edge Magazine to discuss how he wants to shape and affect our own sense of life through photography. Our conversation dwelt mostly on the nitty-gritty of his life as a photographer. Below is a transcript of it, edited for length and clarity.

Tell us about yourself and what you do?

I’m an architectural photographer.

What does it take to become a professional photographer?

A professional photographer is someone who earns a living through the craft and does it to perfection. For him to succeed, he has to operate like any other business venture−be functional.

Highlight some of your successes

Changing people’s mindset about life, urbanity and geography through photography. Higher understanding of who we are and where we live is crucial for me because, more often, foreign media has painted a bleak picture of Africa.

Tell us about your background

Before photography, I worked as a trained graduate architect.

Your photographs are unique and stand out from the rest. What’s your secret?

I focus on architecture. My works are futuristic. 100 years from now, I want people to still relate with my work.

What motivates you?

If people know you, they can change based on how you influence them. I want people to engage with my work in a positive and intellectual way.

Who is your role model?

I am product of my environment as I have received a lot of support from the people I have grown up with. However, there are people whom I can point out that have been influential in my career development. The likes of Amunga, the director of Kwani Trust, Jim Chuchu a photographer and Jeremy Cowart whose approach to photography is immense and motivating. He’s made a difference to many people’s lives.

City of Lights by Mutua Matheka

What mantra do you live by?

Being the best I can ever be.

How is your day like?

I don’t have a structured routine but I wake up at 11 am and sleep as late as 4 am in the morning. But all this can change depending on client meetings and work schedule. Besides work, I mostly spend time with my kids and family.

What do you do for fun?

Hanging out and playing with my two kids. I also love camping, biking, hiking and road trips while documenting the adventures on camera.

What is the best photograph you’ve ever captured?

I have a lot of photos I like and many that I don’t .

If we were to define you with regard to your profession, what photograph or picture would you be?

Architectural photograph

What are your future plans?

I want to write books about photography and travel to major towns in Africa documenting and holding photograph exhibitions.