Trevor Maingi: Showing Kenya with a click of the camera
Trevor Maingi has the coolest Instagram moniker – The Mentalyst. You have to have a certain degree of unadulterated quiet confidence about you and a seer to be a “Mentalist” in the Simon Baker mould. Whilst the original Mentalist is often preoccupied with using his talents to catch criminals, our very own Mentalyst, Trevor Maingi, is more concerned with catching images. His photography is often accompanied by witty comments that betray a strong sense of self-assurance. Not a surprise really, given he confessed to us that he has “always fancied Simon Baker’s thought process.” Trevor Maingi stated recently that
I’m slowly finding myself falling in love with travel photography and people.
There is a certain “Che Guevara-ish” revolutionary force amongst African, especially Kenyan photographers, creating a new and more realistic perspective of the real Africa. Trevor Maingi is one of a socially responsible group doing what tourist boards across Africa do without much success – showcase the continent in all its splendour and beauty.
Kenya is blessed to have him and so are we as he shares his thoughts and photographs with us today.
Tell us about the genesis of your photography?
Haha I’d say curiosity. Well, there was some competition to win a laptop and all one had to do was submit Interesting pictures. Well, I wasn’t one of the winners so I got really curious to know why I didn’t make the cut so I started learning the craft. I still am.
You have stated in a previous interview that you feel drawn to travel photography. What draws you to this genre?
The whole experience of going to a new place, meeting new people, getting awed by mother nature. The adventure, I can’t really put it in one sentence.
Tell us about your recent photographic odyssey to Lamu, Kenya’s oldest inhabited town founded in 1370?
When I think of Lamu, I’d say it is a hidden gem. Well I was on a work assignment, but I couldn’t help spare some time and explore the beautiful place. From the architecture, to the food, texture, people and their culture, I mean it’s just lovely. The landscape; I experienced really lovely sunsets and sunrise(s).
A good number of your photographs show an interface between people and urban or street art (graffiti). Do you seek out such compositions and why?
I always fancy or enjoy walking around in the city. So much happening every time you blink, interesting people or characters, the architecture, how light falls on buildings, the night life. There’s so much that draws me to it all. Sometimes I wish I had the freedom to shoot freely. As for graffiti, Ever since I was a kid I always wanted to draw/paint, but since I can’t, I’m always on a quest for such. There’s so much life in graffiti.
You are an Instagram star. What are the three favourite Instagram photos you’ve taken using your phone?
I don’t think I have a favorite photo YET (ahaha I am serious) but these are some that I have taken and like them.
What Kenyan dishes will you love to photograph to tell the world about?
I guess this is just me saying my favorite foods. There’s Ugali and Nyamachoma, Chapati and I’d say Pilau (cooked the coastal way).
As a traveller, If I had to spend just 48 hours in Nairobi, what will you suggest I do?
We’ll there’s the basic. I’d take you to the scenic spots around the town, but I’d tell you to bend the rules. Go for an outdoor experience, camp somewhere like Hell’s gate or visit the Mara.
Any tips for aspiring travel photographers?
Quit saying I will Pack my bags and get out there. Explore your country before wanting to fly out to other countries.