Noor Khamis

Noor Khamis

Based
Kenya
Born
Nairobi, Kenya
“Photography is a humbling experience; it has shaped me in many ways.”

Beat

I cover general news and feature stories.

One Shot

. Nairobi, Kenya. REUTERS/Noor Khamis
An injured woman cries for help after gunmen stormed the Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi.
“I arrived at the Westgate Mall during the terrorist attack in September 2013, where a policeman offered to protect me. I was utterly shocked by the massacre. So many people lay on the ground; some were already dead, others writhed in pain or lay in shock. I photographed this woman, whose image seemed to summarise the ghastly attack. The next day, I was sad to learn she had later died in hospital.”

Profile

My first memory of photography is with my family, where photography was a top pastime. Interestingly enough, many of the first photographers in Nairobi to shoot at a professional level came from my community.

I learnt to take pictures at school, through the guidance of my older brother who was already working with a local magazine. It was a soft landing for me. Later, when I started freelancing, I had already enrolled with the New York Institute of Photography.

Afterwards, I tried to find my way into newsrooms, but as I was so young, no-one took me seriously. One day, angry villagers killed four gangsters. Word of the attack reached me very early on and I rushed to the scene where I was the only photographer. By the time the story had spread and the mainstream news photographers arrived, hours had passed. I took my black and white films to one of the newsrooms and that kicked off the start of my career.

On a personal level, the job that left the biggest mark on me was the Westgate attack. I used to go to the mall with my family, and the idea that it could have happened while we were there really affected me. This was the third time I had seen so many deaths in such a small area. It was an extremely heart-wrenching moment.

Photography is a humbling experience; it has shaped me in many ways. To a certain extent, I express myself through every image I take; my life is a touch of art.

If people could see the details of life as a photographer does through their lens, then maybe the world would be valued much more.

Every day, I aim to photograph for a global audience. Although it is not always possible, I try to portray the African continent in a positive light.

I enjoy photographing the day-to-day lives of ordinary people, capturing their struggles and hardships through my images. I document humanity’s suffering, frustration, happiness and hope.

I respect God the most, and then the people with whom I interact in my daily life, as they are the reason I am who I am today.

Behind the Scenes

. Kibwezi Forest, Kenya
Noor drinks water from a spring while covering an environmental story in Kenya’s Kibwezi Forest.
. Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
Noor is pictured at dusk during an assignment in the Serengeti National Park.