My name is Chris, I am 21 years old and I live and study in Kampala, Uganda in Africa. I am currently pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Multimedia and Animation (Final Year).
Since 2016, I have been trying to establish myself as a Professional Photographer with my key interests being WILDLIFE, PORTRAIT and NATURE. Photography has always been a part of my adult life and I was always interested in the Art but had no means to express it. Fast forward to 2016 when I met my Best Friend who had a professional DSLR that he let me use whenever he visited Uganda.
This was great at first but it wasn't very convenient and it stunted my growth because there were many limitations with this arrangement since he lives in Italy and can only visit every now and then and even when he is here, with Wildlife and Nature moments pass in a blink of an eye, nature waits for no one and this meant that we would have to shoot a few frames and switch which limited our creativity.
In December 2017 and January 2018, I spent most of my days scouring the web for people willing to donate their old and used equipment. After a long time of begging, one good Samaritan and now a good friend of mine offered to buy me a Canon Point and Shoot which I was very grateful for. It was a hustle to receive and ship to Kampala, Uganda as in the end I had to pay for taxes with money I didn't actually have but I managed and I finally received the camera after being held at customs for a few days.
About a month later, my best friend surprised me with a NIKON DSLR and his old lens as well as a hard disk to store my work which changed everything. That same month we went to Western Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo where we climbed Mount Nyiragongo to see its Volcanic Lava Lake. On this trip I was determined to create a lot of great images and Fine Art Wildlife Images to boost my career, and start showcasing my work through a website I was planning on building which was also going to be a great for me to earn some money and expand my Photography Kit.
After the successful trip I returned to Uganda and started doing Portrait Photography which helped me tell a few of the stories I wanted to tell and create.
Juggling school and something so big like photography wasn't and isn't easy, editing took longer and also money wasn't available and I wasn't able to build the site as I planned.
Since 2017, I have been contributing to Getty Images and to this day Thursday August 30th, 2018 I have not seen a single payment from them. Each month I apparently don't meet the threshold and I under perform etc while they keep earning from my work which is why the Website was something I desperately needed.
I was not a very avid contributor on YouTube which made earning there impossible as well. My lifetime earnings on YouTube are about 1 - 2 USD which is under the threshold. This is tough because they put more strict conditions on Channels with few subscribers and views which means its going to be a while before I am eligible to earn and get paid.
The growth of my Photography Career had and still has many hindrances but I always tried to be optimistic thanks to my hard disk filled with a diverse collection of images. So many Unique birds including 3 images of an "Near Threatened" Bird Species; the Red Faced Barbet which I was super proud of. They said it was rare and I was lucky to see it.
On Thursday August 16th, 2018, my Best Friend and I went to swim after a long and exhausting 3 week Wildlife and Nature trip. This was the second last day of the trip and we were proud of what we had accomplished so we wanted to relax and kick back. Unfortunately between 4:30 PM and 6:30 PM, someone, some thing or some people broke into our car and stole 3 bags leaving only the dirty shoes and a few dirty clothes. In the bags were My Bible, Laptop, hard disk, flash drives, memory cards, lenses, camera, tripod, video microphone, camera cleaners, Passport, National ID, Driving Permit (License), Yellow Fever Card, money, clothes, Birds of East Africa book, Maps, Travel Guides among other things. The most painful thing were all the work and memories lost on my devices which are now unrecoverable as I didn't have a backup hard disk, no cloud storage which you all can agree to being expensive.
THEY TOOK MY LIFE, THEY TOOK EVERYTHING!!!
When I found out I was out of it, completely in disbelief. My Best Friend told me and I thought he was joking, which of course wasn't funny and so I went and I noticed the big orange bag was missing and I moved some more and so my bags were gone as well. I shed no tears in that moment and I remember wanting to vent but I couldn't. With every second that passed I was remembering and saying out something I lost and how much it meant to me. I fell and sat and walked, screamed and begged but it was done. Later on I think those people could have been there watching, maybe reveling in their work.
We called the security as I was sure they got them on camera because as my friend drove the car into the parking spot, I was obsessive about where he was going to park and so I was so happy that he parked under a lamp post which always or SHOULD ALWAYS / MUST ALWAYS have Security Cameras in Parking lots and public spaces. Once I realized where we were, a "5 Star Hotel", the same place the Queen Of England came for the Commonwealth Meetings as well as many more dignitaries etc I kind of felt safe and thought we had a chance.
The head of security came and we explained what happened, we wanted to go along to view the footage but he refused us to follow and we waited as patiently as possible in the same Parking Lot where my Heart was torn out and devoured, all my plans, goals, hopes and dreams, gone in an instant and I felt guilty because I knew better and I should have been more paranoid even at one of the "Best Hotels in Africa" maybe even in the World. Anyway, they came back and said "you parked in the wrong place" and that our car was blocked from the camera. Among other things were "Parking at owners' risk" which is outrageous in an enclosed space with "guards patrolling" and "security cameras".
We went to 2 different police stations with the first being inaccessible and we moved on to the second one where I was blamed and insulted. The police woman who was taking my statement was rude and insensitive, insulting my mom and sister and I. Because my friend was a tourist he wasn't attacked like the rest of us which I always knew would happen in case something bad befell us. I worked tirelessly to avoid negative situations until that day, I don't know what happened, why I was off my game and let my fears and paranoia take a break but all I know is it cost me my life and entire work, goals and dreams.
Among the lost files were images I wanted to submit to 2 competitions. I submitted to one which is now closed but these files were optimized and they could ask for the full files at some point during deliberation which I no longer have so I don't know where I stand with this opportunity.
The other competition I hadn't submitted and I was still editing near completion, I was just waiting to test the look and feel on a better monitor using my friend's laptop.
I had waited for these competitions since last year and January respectively. It destroyed me to be so close then be thrust so far behind.
By the time we left the hotel I only had one underwear and a swim suit, they literally took everything, toothbrush, toothpaste, my carpal tunnel brace, medication, I literally can't tell you just how much they took because, hmmm. I prayed, cried, begged and so on but obviously nothing has worked sofar which brings us to today, 2 Weeks later on Thursday August 30th, 2018 where I am still waiting for a miracle, literally start hunting every time I walk out of the house, looking for the bags or laptop or something. I am a wreck without closure.
Yesterday a friend of mine suggested a fundraising campaign but being from Uganda, I knew it was impossible because most of the Fundraising sites were not available here and most of Africa, gofundme, kickstarter etc until one of the google results showed "gofundme Uganda" and I decided to go for it and I found this website which is "gogetfunding" which I am extremely grateful for since I tried to join gofundme at least 4 times before since 2014 with the same negative answer "this item is not available in your country" on google play and the website requiring a bank account from the country with the currency of your selection.
I am here, begging for help form anyone and everyone who can help me build my Photography Career, help me get back on the same track as I was on.
Currently I am wiped out, I need to replace my Passport, National ID, Driving Permit, Yellow Fever Card which are essential for travel in case I am lucky to go on another trip. Not only that I need Photography equipment.
My friend is helping me replace a few things but its just too much currently especially since he has to replace his things as well so I need your help, I NEED YOU TO FIND ME WORTHY AND HELP ME OUT DURING THIS TOUGH TIME.
WHAT I NEED:-
- AF-S NIKKOR 500mm f/5.6E PF ED VR - NIKON USA / AMAZON (US | IT) / B&H
- AF-P NIKKOR 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6E ED VR - NIKON USA / AMAZON (US | IT) / B&H
- AF-S NIKKOR 50mm f/1.8G - NIKON USA / AMAZON (US | IT) / B&H
- Sony Professional XQD G Series 128GB Memory Card (QDG128E/J) - SONY / AMAZON (US | IT) / B&H
- Sony 128GB SF-G Series UHS-II SDXC Memory Card - SONY / AMAZON (US | IT) / B&H