Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Day 1

First days are always a little weird, but I have reason to believe it's going to be a good eight weeks. Okay, for starters - generally speaking, aren't interns supposed to get coffee? Isn't that usually part of the deal? We, the lowly noobs, are expected to do all sorts of humdrum and slightly demeaning things in the name of paying our dues.

Well, get this - someone actually brings me coffee. Twice a day. Without being asked. And there was cake! It was the boss's birthday, so it's not like this will be an everyday thing, but still. An auspicious start.

The A24 Media/Camerapix office is actually stunningly beautiful. It's in a lush, affluent part of Nairobi and it's connected to the boss's home. Salim Amin is the son of famed photojournalist Mohamed Amin, a total rockstar badass who lost his arm in an explosion in Ethiopia and compiled a massive archive of millions of photographs and hours of video footage - an archive that surrounds me as I work.

I met Salim on Sunday when I stopped by the office in a bit of Nairobi matatu reconnaissance (matatus are the local public transportation - tiny vans/buses with a baffling number of routes and shortcuts that, as yet, don't appear to follow much rhyme or reason - despite my scouting trip, the score is currently Matatus: 1, Emily: 0). The best way I can think to describe him is that he's a very cool cat. Smooth, stylish, assured. A powerful guy, but not above making fun of himself. The cake his wife had made him had a roll of film made of sugar wrapped around it, filled with funny pictures of Salim throughout his life. "We already ate the one where I'm naked on the toilet," he said.

I met with Asif, the other boss, who briefed me on what I'll be doing. They want me to do multimedia projects - slideshows, mostly, that showcase photos from the archive. I pushed for something that involves more actual reporting, and I think I'll be able to make all of us happy by pegging the projects to current events and collecting audio to go under the slideshows. He also said I could tag along with some of the Camerapix guys on some shoots. I'm hoping to go see our very own Joe Biden tomorrow. He'll be in Nairobi for a couple of days. Stay tuned for my exclusive!

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