Safaricom has released their 2023 calendar and I have to say that, just their other calendars over the years, it is truly a work of art. This year, the calendar has been produced with the theme “Places of Hope” and seeks to showcase the different places where our ancestors used to go and worship.
This year’s calendar theme is timely due to the fact that Kenyans are still recovering from the havoc that was created by the pandemic and the election cycle. These two events had a negative impact on our economy and lives, and the calendar, seeks to connect people to places where they can find peace, hope as well as be rejuvenated.
Being that the calendar, showcases different places in the country which hold special meaning to the communities around them. I was interested in the thought process that went into the making of the calendar. We had conversation with Paul Mwangi, the Art Director at Tessero and Allan Gachigi who is the photographer and this is what we found out.
Paul Mwangi, shared that they started out with 5 ideas for the calendar, whereby Places of Hope emerged as the best. This is because not only was it inspirational, but it also captured the current mood in the country. After settling on the theme, the next stop was the necessary approvals from the local communities as well as a partnership with the Museums of Kenya who are the legal custodians of some of the places that were to be showcased.
After getting all the necessary approvals, the team hit the road. Allan Gachigi, the photographer indicated that shooting this year’s calendar came with its own challenges due to the fact that he was shooting landscapes rather than people. Apparently, they could only shoot the landscapes early in the morning or in the evening so as to get favorable lighting.
A good example of this is when, they were shooting Mt. Ololokwe, they go to the area but were unable to locate the mountain because it was still dark. They ended up going around in circles till daybreak when they finally spotted it. Luckily Allan was able to get a good shot with the clouds on top of the mountain.
When it came to Lake Ellis, the team had to endure the extreme cold on the mountain. Not to mention that they had to walk for some of the distance since their vehicle could not be able to navigate the road. Also, they had to contend with thin air as they went up the mountain which increased their exhaustion. However, all this was forgotten as soon as they got to the lake because the views were simply to die for.
Shooting of God’s Footprint involved a lot of teamwork because they got to the location at 8 PM. At this time, it was dark and raining heavily, the guys in the team had to put up shukas to cover Allan as he was shooting while illuminating the site with their phones. Looking at how good the picture is, it is impossible to tell that it was shot under such conditions.
I have to give it up to the team behind the 2023 Safaricom calendar because despite the various challenges they went through. They still managed to give us an inspirational calendar to see us through the year.
The calendar comes with a QR code that once scanned leads you to a microsite which gives you more details of where each picture was taken. Not only that, the site allows you to download the pictures for use as a screen saver on your phone or laptop.