King Arthur

I first met Arthur in 2012 on Twitter when he was involved with a project to create awareness around the impact of the construction of a new hydropower dam in Jinja. Fast forward to 2017 when I was travelling through East-Africa with two friends and we met face to face at Nalubale Rafting, where he introduced us to lots of cool cats and we’ve been friends ever since. Since then I jokingly call him King Arthur from the fact that everybody in Jinja seemed to know him. A kind hearted soul, Arthur loves photography, pointing people in the right direction and exploring the world with his lens sticking out of a 4×4.

What do you call home?

I call Kampala home but for the last 8 years, I have been living and working in Jinja, Uganda . Consulting for hospitality and adventure outfits. And running a small photo safari company.

What drives you?

I’d say my high school accounts teacher. She said I’d never amount to nothing. I was so terrible at conventional education I believed that for a while. On a more serious note, I like to push the envelope and try out new things and old things differently.

What is photography to you?

Photography to me is expression and awareness of the intricate tiny details you thought weren’t there in you and in the subject.  And the impact those little details eventually make on the world.

"Photography to me is expression and awareness of the intricate tiny details you thought weren’t there in you and in the subject.  And the impact those little details eventually make on the world."

- Wasswa Arthur

Whose work has influenced you most?

My influences are not photographers, I came up in the 2000s as a rapper/battle MC when Ugandan rap was still on the come up and extra gritty. I had an Olympus film camera in primary school and used to make money off kids at parties, I was hungry, I was always hustling. The first person I remember holding a camera was Samson Senkaaba aka Xenson at a hip hop concert back in the day. I have always looked up to him as an early mentor. He was down to earth and gifted which is not an easy thing to find in talented people. Not to mention my friend Oscar Ntege who single handedly commercialized Ugandan wedding photography back in the day. He took wedding photography from the studio to the streets. He always pushed the boundaries and I  admire him for that. Oscar also gave me a canon 1100D to shoot a kayaking festival for free. He saw in me what I didn’t see in myself at the time.

What place does photography have in Africa today?

Photography is a tool for a lot of youth to better things. Friends, lifestyles, places. It helps us tell our stories and reach places we physically can’t. To have your work hanging in a farmhouse in Pennsylvania or a gallery in Zurich while you’re in Uganda. I think that’s powerful.

What is your favorite subject to photograph?

I really like documenting people. I like the way faces light up in front of the camera or how some are very awkward and don’t know how to act. It all feels raw and natural. Another theme I’m getting into is wildlife.

What has been the most challenging experience you have encountered as a photographer in Africa?

A lot of Ugandans still see a photographer as a poor individual trying to get by. They don’t respect the art. At weddings, graduations and other events, there’s still that stigma. And also street photography is still looked upon strangely.

What do you hope to accomplish with your photography?

I want to build up a great portfolio from around the world while enjoying it. To be able to combine my work with travel.

Make sure to check out Arthur’s website to see what cool stuff he’s working on!