Kyambogo University student MONICA AHAIRWEBYONA was recently named young photographer 2020 in the Uganda Press Photo Awrds (UPPA). Campus Bee caught up with her for a chat; read on.

  1. Congrats upon your award Monica, The winning moment, what happened?
    I didn’t expect to win because I thought I was competing with professionals in the industry who have probably studied the art. It was really a moment of shock.
  2. Who is Monica?
    -Ummm. Monica is a curious soul, who loves experiences. She’s also an architecture student at Kyambogo University who is super passionate about it and everything she does fits into it. I love learning a lot too.
  3. What was your submission like?

-My story was derived from the theme “Rising Fast Africa’s Changing Spaces” I picked on Nairobi City as the case study knowing that it’s one of the fastest-growing cities. The story was hinting at Rising Fast, Rise Right. This essentially means, as much as we are rising fast and excited about the development, we should also put in mind that we should rise right because we have people who developed before us and have committed errors because they were unaware. Therefore, we should not do the same but learn from experiences.

  1. As a student of Architecture at Kyambogo University, how did you get inspired to get into photography?

-I have been interested in photography since high school, but I started pursuing it seriously at campus and it’s one of the strongest languages that we use to express our practice. It, gave me a chance to explore further beyond just taking photos of a site.

  1. You will be undergoing the Young Photographer Award Mentorship Programme next year, what do you expect?

-To learn photography from a professional perspective because it’s been mostly me trying out things without really knowing the do’s and donts, the technicalities of the practice. In this mentorship, I look forward to learning the principles into which photography thrives.

  1. Where do you see yourself in 5 years, as a visual storyteller?
    -I see myself telling more stories about the relationship between spaces and people in Africa and particularly my country and use photography to convey the cores of design and how impactful it is to society at a most serious level that is accurate.
  2. Do you have people that inspire your dreams?
    -Yes!!! Definitely, I have people who inspire my dreams and it’s mostly people who are willing to put in the works. Generally, I’m inspired by people who are not afraid to push and work hard.
  3. Thanks for speaking to us, do you have any last words of encouragement to young photographers out there?
    -All I could say is photography is a medium that is helping you to tell or show people your convictions, so you should not be afraid or tie yourself down to having the technicalities. I think it’s always the soul that leads you to the photographs you take. Pick up your camera, phone, or whatever you can, and start taking photographs.

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