Salim Amin: In the footsteps of my Dad

Son of Kenyan photojournalist Mohamed 'Mo' Amin recalls anecdotes told to him by Mo and working with his father.

Addressing a public rally (1965) by Mohamed AminMohamed Amin Foundation

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President Kenyatta

“I remember my Dad telling me stories of how scared everyone was of President Kenyatta. He could freeze you with a look! They once had to ask him to re-do the announcement of a new Cabinet and Kenyatta was obviously in a bad mood at having been told he had to repeat the announcement."

President Jomo Kenyatta with family by Mohamed AminMohamed Amin Foundation

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"At State House, while they were setting the cameras up, they saw Kenyatta slap one of his Ministers! When he started reading the Cabinet list, Dad was only interested in the names of the Ministers and had only brought enough film to shoot this part, but Kenyatta kept reading through the list to Permanent Secretaries, Assistants and everyone else in each Ministry!"

Presdient's entertainment by Mohamed AminMohamed Amin Foundation

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"Dad just kept his eye on the viewfinder and kept rolling the camera even though there was no more film in there as he didn’t want to get slapped!”

Elections victory (1963) by Mohamed AminMohamed Amin Foundation

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Kibaki

“I remember being one of the multitudes of journalists covering Kibaki’s inauguration in Uhuru Park in 2002. It was the first Kenyan election I had covered after my father’s death and I tried to remember how he would have covered this historic moment. He was a master at planning election coverage and would deploy crews in all the “hottest” areas where there was a chance for trouble. He had that instinct and, of course, did his homework well.”

Vic Preston Jnr & John Lyall (1978) by Mohamed AminMohamed Amin Foundation

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Safari Rally

“The rally was the very first event I ever photographed with my Dad. It was the most time I ever spent with him and Easter weekend was a magical time for me! He taught me all my lessons in photography while we were on the route covering the cars and it was probably the only time in my life where I woke up before him to get on the road!

Joginder Singh & David Doig (1974) by Mohamed AminMohamed Amin Foundation

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The radio...

"One year we were sitting on the roof of the Land-Cruiser listening to the radio waiting for the cars to come. Once the leaders had passed us we scrambled to get moving and to get in front of them for more pictures, and I remember hearing a thump and him asking if we had seen a black bird or something flying off the car. He thought he had hit a bird but I quickly realised I had forgotten his favourite radio on the roof and that was what had flown off! I never admitted it was me but boy was he mad!”

Joginder Singh & David Doig (1974) by Mohamed AminMohamed Amin Foundation

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Joginder: champion of the Safari Rally

“I never had the chance to meet Joginder in person, but the first picture of mine ever to be published was a photo of him in his Mercedes 350SL going through a water drift in the early 1980s. I was around 10 years old then and it made the front page of the newspapers. I remember Dad telling me stories about what a gentleman Joginder was and how talented and humble he was. He always had time for the media." 

Ahmed, the elephant by Mohamed AminMohamed Amin Foundation

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Ahmed the Elephant

“I remember my Dad telling me how they were charged by Ahmed as they took what turned out to be the last pictures of the King. They had been following him on foot all day and, when his patience with them eventually ran out, he charged the camera team. My father and his colleague Peter Moll were running away and decided to run on opposite sides of a huge tree, not realizing they were still attached together by the sound cables and Peter was whipped back around the tree narrowly missing the giant tusks!"

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