Sarah Waiswa is a documentary and portrait photographer born in Uganda and based in Nairobi, Kenya. She won the 2016 Rencontres d’Arles Discovery Award for a series that explored albino persecution in sub-Saharan Africa. She was also recognized by the 2015 Uganda Press Photo Awards.

​Tell us your story.

I was born in Kampala Uganda, but moved to Nairobi Kenya shortly there after. I grew up in Kenya where I attended both primary and secondary school. I got a scholarship to a college in the U.S and ended up obtaining both a Bachelors and Masters degree there. After working for a few years, I decided to move back home. Photography became a way for me to express the nostalgia I felt about being back on the continent.

Do you find that your sociology and psychology degrees inform your photography? Can you speak about your decision to shift into the arts?

Absolutely. For the most part my work is a commentary on various social issues. I feel I am more attuned to these issues because of my background, life experiences and of course my education. Shifting to the arts was very natural for me. I have always been creative, but I feel that this was suppressed for many years. There was a freedom I felt about being home that gave me the courage to follow my dreams.

What do you want audiences to take away from your work?

I want my work to generate dialogue. I want people to question, their ideals, their thoughts, feelings and perceptions about themselves, others (particularly those who are different from them) and the continent.

If you had to give aspiring photographers one career tip, what would it be?

Share your work! Sometimes we might be afraid to share our work because we are not sure if it is good enough, share it anyway.

Is there anything we didn’t cover that you would like to share?

If something is truly your passion, seek it, find it and live it!

An Interview with Sarah Waiswa done by musesmilk 2017

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