Each year since 2016 we invite a small group of young Ugandan photographers, often chosen from the Young Photographer Award’s shortlist, to take part in an immersive and fast-paced programme which seeks to provide support and help practitioners with professional development, allowing them to make the leap to full-time photography. From conceptualizing a project idea to researching, photographing, editing, and finally working on presenting their photographic work as a part of the annual winners’ exhibition before going on to pitch the work to national and international media, this programme is unique in the region and delivers striking results.
In East Africa, as in many places, it can be a challenge for young creatives to access good quality and affordable practical training in photography and videography. Our job is to provide those opportunities, and we work with local and foreign trainers to design and deliver relevant and timely training. Our workshops cover a huge range of practical and theoretical skills, as well as unexpected but hugely-needed topics such as Accounting for Freelancers and Field Safety For Female Photojournalists, and have been led by photographers and industry professionals from across Uganda, Africa and the world. We collaborate with Canon’s Miraisha programme and many other partners.
We are very conscious that our collaborators, students, and winners are often trailblazers, establishing new routes into the industry and building ladders that others will climb after them. As such we have frequently seen the power of mentoring and inspiration on the lives of early-career photographers. Whenever possible, we look for inspirational visual storytellers with histories relevant to our audience and add their voices to the conversation. These discussions can be topical or they can also be more general presentations of a photographer’s work, but they offer opportunities for photographers in Kampala to see varied imagery and to hear their role-models speaking and explaining how they made it in the industry.
While the internet has improved our audience’s access to great photography, there is still no substitute for sitting down and immersing yourself in a photo book. We offer a growing collection of photobooks, texts on photography, and magazines available for free to anyone who would like to read through them and learn from them. The number of publications in our catalog is constantly growing and we hope that one day it will become a functioning, photography-oriented library and resource center. The reading corner reflects our continued investment in photographic education and accessible information.
The project, if successful, get to be exhibited during our annual exhibition.
Through our public exhibitions, we aim to make photography more accessible to the wider public and to encourage broader public engagement with photography outside of the newspaper pages it usually occupies. In addition to our annual UPPA winning images exhibition, we produce an irregular schedule of exhibitions on a broad range of themes which in the past have included an interactive project called “Eyes on the Ground”, which leveraged the power of hashtags to picture a snapshot of Kampala, a landmark local exhibition of the internationally-renowned “Everyday Africa” project or InQuest For, an exhibition featuring the work of six emerging photographers from Addis Ababa.