This article on photographing Kenya and it’s people is courtesy of 18-year-old travel photographer Kole Purdy

My Journey to Professional Photography

In June of 2014, my Dad quit his 20-year career. In November of 2014, using our life savings, we left the ‘American dream’ to travel and experience the world for a year. I’m from a family of 7 and my parents have always encouraged creativity and following our passions. I discovered my passion for photography in month one of our family journey. I met professional photographers while traveling through SE Asia, Asia, and Europe.

One particular photographer in Vietnam took a personal interest in me and my development as a photographer. He encouraged me and showed me some basic lighting principles that laid a foundation for my work today. My skill and knowledge has grown exponentially in last 20 months.

We settled back in the U.S. in late 2015. I found myself eager to photograph other cultures again. I also started a portraiture business to pass the time and create income with my passion. Business boomed. My knowledge of the art of lighting and portraiture grew tremendously. I began to pray and ask for an opportunity to photograph abroad again.

Documenting the People of Kenya

In June of 2016, non-profit organization Just One Africa contacted me. For a year, they had been praying and searching for someone to help tell their story through photography. They stumbled across my website through a shared Facebook post. They contacted me about a trip to Kenya with a departure time only two weeks way. I joyously accepted the offer to be their photographic storyteller.

Two weeks later – I was in Kenya.

I spent two weeks in various parts of Kenya. I photographed the Masai culture and traditions. I photographed 70 children at a rescue center – all of whom had amazing and miraculous rescue stories. I captured water filter distributions in areas where clean water was a foreign concept. (They literally looked at us as if we were crazy when we told them their water was dirty.) I was able to capture the beautiful faces of Kenya.


My goal is simply to use my gift of photographic storytelling for the good of others who don’t have a way to share their story. I’m not blessed with this gift to hold tightly and better myself. I believe one of the reasons that God gave me the gift is to tell the stories of people who NEED their stories told.

Travel-Friendly Gear

The Apollo Orb and a speedlite was PERFECT for lighting my subjects on this assignment. They are travel-friendly, quick & easy to set up, durable, and versatile. Not only did it easily help me get the job done but I came away with beautiful and creative story-telling images.

Watch Kole’s photography journey by following him on Instagram or by visiting

Learn more about Just One Africa’s mission to improve water conditions in Africa and how you can help by visiting their

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