Look Inside Mo Amin's Camera Bag

Get to know the Kenyan photojournalist through his press cards, diaries, cameras and notes.

Salim Amin (1980)Mohamed Amin Foundation

“Six-Camera Mo”

Photographer and frontline cameraman Mo Amin captured the pain and passion of Africa like no other. He was nicknamed “Six-Camera Mo” because he worked on several jobs at once and could shoot film and stills simultaneously. 

Mohamed Amin with bionic arm (1991)Mohamed Amin Foundation

Persistance

Mo would never miss a story and he once said "You will only succeed by anticipation, persistence, and planning. Never take no for an answer and always make sure you stay one step ahead of your rivals."

Mohamed Amin's film camera by Trupti ShahMohamed Amin Foundation

Ready, set, go!

When the news broke, Mo Amin would be called on. He would have to pack immediately to rush to the story. His bag was always ready, and included his video and stills cameras, sound equipment and his contacts book! Here are a few of his essentials. 

Mohamed Amin's radio by Trupti ShahMohamed Amin Foundation

Breaking news

Mo was never far from a Short Wave radio. He was always tuned in to the BBC World Service and would listen to breaking news that would take him to his next big story. This was the last SW radio he owned.

Memorabilia Calendar belonging to Mohamed Amin by Trupti ShahMohamed Amin Foundation

Diary of a workaholic

Mo was always working and characterised himself as a workaholic. His calendar shows how he travelled around the world to film and photograph both reportage and the beauty of his beloved Continent. He was passionate about getting the story, and never rested!

Mohamed Amin with still camerasMohamed Amin Foundation

Cameras

Mo bought, for the princely sum of 40 shillings, a second-hand Box Brownie camera at the age of 11. It was arguably the most significant purchase of his life. From that moment, his future career was never in doubt. He used different cameras for different assignments. He would also always bring his Arriflex 16mm camera. 

Mohamed Amin's cameras by Trupti ShahMohamed Amin Foundation

One of the finest stills cameras ever made, the Hasselblad 500 EL/M shot large-format negatives of exceptional quality. Mo used these two camera for his early publications, including his exclusives in Tanzania and Zanzibar. 

Mohamed Amin's still camera by Trupti ShahMohamed Amin Foundation

Iconic

This Zeiss Ikon 35mm camera was amongst Mo's possessions. Made in 1935, it's known for it's durability and exceptional quality.

Mohamed Amin's film camera by Trupti ShahMohamed Amin Foundation

Cinematic

The Arriflex was Mo's first big motion camera, shooting 16mm film and giving him better quality content especially for documentaries. He shot his film on the Hajj with this, and also covered Idi Amin and Uganda in the 1970s.

Mohamed Amin's video camera by Trupti ShahMohamed Amin Foundation

Covering the biggest stories

The iconic Sony Betacam SP camera was around for over two decades from the early 1980s to the turn of the century. Mo shot thousands of hours of video on this camera and it is one of the most durable news cameras ever made. Mo shot some of his biggest stories in Ethiopia, Somalia and Rwanda with this camera. It was on his shoulder when the explosion in Addis Ababa blew his arm off.

Memorabilia accreditation cards and press cards by Trupti ShahMohamed Amin Foundation

Access all areas

Getting access is key for a photojournalist. Here is a selection of Mo's press passes and badges to some of the events he had to cover around the Continent. Travelling also expanded his famous "black book" of contacts!

Memorabilia Columbia Broadcasting System Press Card (1967) by Trupti ShahMohamed Amin Foundation

Press card

One of Mo's official accreditations was from CBS News in New York in 1967. He worked with CBS on and off for close to a decade.  CBS were instrumental in getting him released from the Kilimamigu Prison in Zanzibar applying pressure on Julius Nyerere's government.

Mohamed Amin's safety gear by Trupti ShahMohamed Amin Foundation

Frontline protection

A bulky, and extremely heavy, bulletproof vest with his helmet and boots ready for the frontline. Kevlar and helmets were not available until close to the end of his life so he relied on his quick wits and local knowledge to get through many dangerous assignments. His kevlar helmet and safety vest have been in some of the worst conflict zones in 20th Century Africa.

Mengistu's hat by Trupti ShahMohamed Amin Foundation

Hats Off

Mo "liberated" this cap belonging to Ethiopian dictator Haile Mariam Mengistu when he accompanied rebel forces into the Palace in Addis Ababa in 1991. 

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
Explore more
Related theme
Mo Amin: Eye of Africa
The photojournalist who moved the world
View theme
Google apps