Special Feature: HABARI YA SAFARI? by Neil McClure
A photographer goes off the beaten path to explore and capture scenes in East Africa, giving readers a trove of breathtaking sights and authentic moments. This is “HABARI YA SAFARI,” Neil McClure’s highly anticipated follow up to “Mombasa Revisited.”
McClure’s work is a separate collection of images gleaned from four separate trips to East Africa, spanning from 2009 to 2014. He has carefully chosen one hundred photographs from the locales he visited, showing readers images that are at sometimes striking, and at other times soothing, frenetic and tranquil. All are authentic, coming in an even mix of color and black and white images that present reality in varied facets and angles. Lovers of photography and travel alike can pore over McClure’s pages, finding exciting materials for both the visual technique-oriented and those smitten by wanderlust.
This is no dilettante or dabbler’s work, as the author is an exhibiting artist and photographer from Melbourne, Australia. McClure has studied fine arts at Monash University-Caulfield and the University of California-Davis and is currently in the process of attaining his master of visual art degree at Federation University-Australia's Gippsland campus.
These are the experiences and skills McClure brought with him on his sojourn, equipment no different from his camera and photography gear. And these are what make “HABARI YA SAFARI” different, that combination of technical aptitude and authenticity. It’s his a keen eye for angles and composition as well as an understanding of the locales, that real connection with the places he visited the people he interacted with, the societies and cultures he immersed himself in. These are no different and no less vital than an artist’s mastery of the tools of his trade.
If the eyes are the window to the soul, then these images readers will gaze upon the promise to show them the spirit of the East African destinations McClure visited. These are more than just pretty pictures, these are experiences that readers will have, which McClure conveys using his craft.
It can be said that for all these years, with his studies and his practice, McClure has been preparing - and has prepared himself - for this journey and for the adventures to come. Perhaps, then, the jouissance he has for his pursuit will likewise be conveyed in his works. Cameras, by design, generally can’t take pictures of themselves. But can a photographer capture or convey parts of himself in his works?
With “HABARI YA SAFARI,” the spellbinding sights show us aspects of McClure - the playfulness, the thirst for adventure, his engagement with the places and people. Artists manipulate their medium, but the medium itself can change them in turn. And there can be another layer to it too, for in seeing this, readers will be swayed as well. For McClure’s pages provides ample inspirational material for both aspiring photographers and travelers, encouraging them to hone their craft and fueling their wanderlust - driving them to visit wonderful places and capture their experiences. All that, from photographs and still images, which can move hearts and minds.
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Neil McClure is an exhibiting artist and photographer from Melbourne, Australia. He is the author of two photo books 'Mombasa Revisited' and 'Habari Ya Safari ?' He has studied fine arts at Monash University-Caulfield and University of California-Davis. He is currently undertaking a master of visual art degree at Federation University-Australia's Gippsland campus.