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In Our Sights: Migwa Nthiga

Migwa is one of Kenya’s most accomplished documentary photographers, founder of the creative media house Magiq Lens and an avid explorer of uncharted territories. He is most noted for the human stories told through his portraits. His images have been acknowledged by honoured institutions such as National Geographic and the Sony World Photography Awards.

The name ‘Magiq Lens’ was chosen to reflect Migwa's childhood fascination with magic. He sees the power of photography to lie in its ability to create imaginary worlds that inspire people to free themselves from the constraints of their realities. This creative storytelling lies at the heart of everything they do at his company. Magiq Lens likes to believe that magic is real and that it resides in everyone. Their goal is to capture the beauty, authenticity, and most importantly, the Magiq in every shot.

Migwa’ portfolio is extensive, spanning a range of clients and countries across Africa, in addition to the United States where he was invited to be the photographer on the set of the feature film Holdout (2016 directed by Brian L. Tan).

From a commercial perspective, Migwa is a frequent supplier for Kenya’s top advertising and creative agencies and has captured content for many of the country’s leading companies across all sectors. Migwa’s former experience as an advertising Account Manager at SCANAD has lent itself well to commercial work as he is able to easily envision the needs of his clients.

One of Migwa’s consistent contracts has been Coke Studios, a music event that he has covered numerous times in Kenya, Ghana and Nigeria, often working in the capacity of Head of Team managing a pool of photographers while also shooting. This opportunity allowed the Magiq Lens team to hobnob with stars like Octopizzo, Dela, South Africa’s Tumi, Nigeria’s Waje, the legendary Salif Keita and Chris Adwar among MANY more!!!

Although commercial work comprises a large part of Migwa’s portfolio, his real passion lies in documentary photography and meaningful storytelling. This passion resulted in him being selected by Safaricom three times to participate in the prestigious Capture Kenya expedition that took him across the country with the goal of telling the story of the beautiful nation. Here’s an interview in which Migwa discusses his experience:

A regular face on the social and art scenes in Nairobi, Migwa was thrilled when he got the chance in 2013 to participate in the Harare International Festival of the Arts (HIFA). HIFA is a 6-day annual festival and workshop programme held in Harare, Zimbabwe. It showcases the best of local and international arts and culture in the form of theatre, dance, music, circus, street performance, fashion, spoken word and visual arts. HIFA is the largest cultural event in Zimbabwe and attracts revellers from all over the world. According to the Maqiq Lens team “One of the most interesting parts of our trip to HIFA 2013 was the "Rural to Ramp" fashion showcase. It featured designers from all over Africa who worked with materials indigenous to their rural backgrounds. The pieces were not only beautiful and creative but inspiring too.” This is some of the beauty they captured:

Migwa and his crew are Magiq-ians who always deliver even when the job is very challenging. They are a friendly team that always strive to come up with creative ideas that will meet their clients’ needs. As Migwa matures in his industry, he aims to spend more time cultivating his Magiq Lens company to offer a platform for emerging artists to learn, experience and grow their visual storytelling skillsets.

Migwa got a taste for training when he was selected by Safaricom in 2016 to work as mentor as part their Blaze Youth Summit program. Carrying this inspiration forward, and frustrated by the lack of solidarity in the industry, Migwa is now steering his company to provide mentorship and collaboration opportunities to empower emerging artists. In terms of his photography, Migwa is still active as a commercial photographer but is focusing his creative work on impactful storytelling, looking to create content that addresses issues facing Africans today and in the future.

Currently, Magiq Lens is teaming up with Shifteye Photography, for a collaboration called MASH Free Shoots, in which they offer make-up artists, stylists and art directors a chance to pitch a concept and have it photographed for free. The goal of the collaboration is to increase opportunities for creatives who may not normally be able to afford or have the right contacts to enable out of the box photoshoots.

Other notable projects Magiq Lens has been involved in include:

  • Kenya Tourism Board ‘Magical Kenya’

  • Tusker Project Fame

  • Blankets and Wine

  • Kato Change Experience

  • Healthy Woman

  • Eric Wainaina

  • Angela Mwandanda

  • One Touch Live

Migwa under the umbrella of Magiq Lens has had many creative photo shoots. This is one fabulous example named Fear & Desire: Release.

Check out an interview that Migwa gave talking about his photography and Magiq Lens:

Magiq Lens is a company anyone should work with if they want creative storytelling that leads to stellar results. You can find out more about Migwa and Magiq Lens through the following channels:

Facebook: Magiq Lens Kenya Instagram: @migwa or @MagiqLens_ke Twitter: @MagiqLens_ke

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