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Shack on the outskirts of town @ Jehad Nga

Last year, in response to Jehad Nga‘s Turkana portfolio, I said, “consumers of media haven’t changed enough, and Nga has hardly changed at all.” My criticism was that Nga had adopted the same chiaroscuro technique for the Northern Kenyan tribesmen as he had U.S. Marines, Somali pirates and Kenyan boxers.

It was my first real foray into negative criticism* and to my surprise Nga emailed and said he could agree with a lot that I said. That opened up a year long dialogue that resulted in an interview recently published for

In the Wired interview, Nga explained he had recently been on special assignment with a second unit crew on the shoot of a feature length drama. Nga who lives mainly in Nairobi, with an apartment in NYC, has spent most of his professional life in the heat and bustle of North Africa, sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East.

“It’s very different to Africa,” Nga told me, “Barrow, Alaska was important to me; it’s inhospitable, it’s a challenge to survive. Aesthetically, it is lush for picture taking. It is stark and apocalyptic, but I responded to the bleakness. The harshness isn’t because of violence or outside incursion. It’s seasonal, it just is.”

I was pleased to see then that John Bailey‘s well-written and meaty blog for the American Society of Cinematographers (ASC) had featured a selection of Jehad’s work.

See for yourselves how this work differs wildly, and read in my interview why Nga really needed a change.


* If you recall, Marc Feustel took umbrage at the prevalence of overly positive reviews)


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