The photo of a brave young boy, supposedly in his Primary Seven, riding a bicycle amidst a heavy downpour to make his way to school went viral on social media on Tuesday 30th March, 2021.
Being the same date that P.7 candidates were commencing their Primary Leaving Examinations, the narrative of the photo was turned into “a boy braving the rain in order not to miss the exams”.
It was not the case. The photo, according to Josh Mirondo – the photographer who took it – was taken on 28th November 2019 at Mayuge central market.
The photo has since been shared severally across social media, globally. Sadly, there was confusion about who took it because it was not watermarked.
We had a chat with Mirondo to know the story behind the photo and why he did not “claim” such a piece of inspiration.
What inspires your photography?
What inspires my photography is the desire to show the world what they cannot see. Even when I’m standing next to you I’ll always take a photo in a perspective that a naked eye can’t see.
Capturing memories also inspires my photography.
For this particular photo, how did it happen?…and how does it make you feel for it to be trending two years later?
We were in Mayuge central market for a community outreach and it started raining heavily. As everyone looked for shade, I looked for an opportunity to show the world what they can’t see. I started taking random pictures and that’s when I saw a boy riding a bicycle with a bag. I made no mistake and took the photos.
There has been an issue of watermarking/copyright. With this particular photo being a case study, what lessons have you learnt?
Truth is I never thought this particular photo would go viral. I just uploaded it to my Twitter with 3 others and immediately my phone blacked out. A friend called Ssuna called me and told me to delete the tweet and upload the photos after watermarking it but I told him since I have the original one, whoever wants it will always look for me.
It actual got viral that evening, people used it and I even even won the Best 2020 Photo last year during the Wiki Lives Africa Uganda.
But yesterday I got surprised when I started to get tagged in posts where people didn’t credit my work. Everyone started blaming me for not putting a watermark but I couldn’t recall the photo to watermark it. I’ll start watermarking every work that I put out.
Generally, what is your perception on the impact of photography in Uganda?
Photography, like I said earlier, tells a story that many don’t see. And I think it’s growing at a fast speed. Photographers are increasing.
What is lacking is professionalism. Many are just freelance, not registered or affiliated to any recognized house. There is also an issue of copyright. Most just earn from one-offs as opposed to copyrighted content which someone can earn from even during their old age when the guns are down.
What makes a good photographer?
What makes a good photographer is consistency, not stopping to learn, always trying out new ideas, and humility.
Who are the top 5 photographers in Uganda today?
I won’t say that I have a top photographer in Uganda because Ugandans are so talented and I can name more than five. However, I’ll list some of those whose work I love in no chronological order.
- Nicholas Bamulanzeki
- Badru Katumba
- Zahara Abdul
- John Batanudde
- Watanda Kirya
Honorable mentions to Andrew Katende, Yoti Gilbert, Don Mugabi, Hamala Edgar and Katende Eric.
Inspire those who want to be like you with just a few words of wisdom please:
For those who want to be like me? (Laughs) Eh! Anyways I urge those who want to be good photographers to always keep learning.
I taught myself photography from YouTube, reading books on photography and a few consultations from friends who were better than me and whom I’m better than. Do not stop learning even when you feel that your photography is at the peak.
And always be humble.
About Joshua Mirondo
Joshua Mirondo a.k.a Bwana Josh is Communications Officer at SRHR Alliance. He is an SRHR advocate, photographer, Digital media and communications analyst with a bias on SRHR.
He is also a co- founder of Mambo News and a youth Writer at Transition Earth – an organization that aims to increase awareness about the effects of the increasing population growth and unsustainable resources on people and earth.