Kambua Chema

For travel photographer Kambua Chema, Chicago is her home away from home.  She was born and raised in Nairobi, Kenya.  Travelling to a new place makes her heart dance, and any time she sees a plane go by, she secretly wishes she was on it.  From the hustle and bustle of airports and the great commuter photo opportunities to arriving at her destination, she delights in capturing the fleeting moments around her.

I love, love photography!  I can’t imagine my life without it.  It defines, gives me life, and without it, I can’t breathe.  Pictures allow me to take the time to really see the fabric of life behind the lens and it’s truly remarkable!  I have photographed professionally since October 2012...Kambua Chema

On January 1, 2013,  she embarked on a journey of taking a photo a day.  By the end of  2016, it will have been three years.  She hasn’t missed a day because she breathes and lives in photos.

As an event photographer, she tells stories documenting every moment and loves it.  She feels this style of photography allows her to stay true to her personality which is fun and happy.  She never wants her photography to feel like work and fears when it starts beginning to feel like work, her love affair will end and she never wants it to end.

How would you describe your style of photography?

Documentary style.  I delight in capturing the fleeting moments.  Unstaged and randoms I feel provide a true reflection of a person, people or place.

Can you share the backstories behind these two photos? 

Windows to the Soul-5467

Windows to the Soul – In 2013, I took a solo photo trip to a town that growing up I had always wanted to visit.  It was one of my most incredible trips of my life.  All I took was one camera body and one lens. On my second day in town, a random woman approached me asked me to take her photograph on the streets of Lamu town, Kenya.  Despite the unusual request, I obliged.

The Young Caretaker

The Young Caretaker – This photo was taken in a Samburu village where a lot of the children are orphans.  Their parents had been killed by crocodiles while fetching water for their daily use.  There was an ease in which she held her sibling and I couldn’t help it but take a picture of this moment that has resonated with me since my trip in May 2015.

What are your dreams as a photographer?

To travel the world and use my photography to tell stories that make the world a better place by helping in some way.  I’d like to think about it cause-related photography if you will.  I particularly like photographing and working with children. I visited a Samburu village on my last trip to Kenya in May 2015.  I fell in love with the children.

Despite their adversities, they entertained us and made us laugh.  A lot of them had lost a parent to a crocodile attack.  I would like to help them in some way, get them colouring books and pencils.  Give them a fun outlet and call it the ‘Express Yourself In Color Project’ for a start.

Follow her here – Portfolio | Instagram– KambuaPhoto | Facebook – Kambua Chema Photography


The “Snapshot” series are mini interviews with fellow black travel photographers to inspire others and myself. As I’ve navigated the world of travel photography over the last few years, I’ve found very few fellow photographers of color who are also doing this professionally with a heavy focus on travel documentary. So this inspirational resource of professional travel photographers of color is a way for people to always find us. Please get in touch if you’d like to be featured or know of others to feature.