Color lives and breathes in Kenya. From subtle drab slip-and-slide of slum grays and browns to vital dance of Meru tea-farm greens, color sings and color weeps in Kenya.

Color shimmers delicately in a solitary tear, lingering on the face of a Ugandan artisan now grown from a childhood spent as a household servant. Fed just enough to stay alive, she was never allowed to attend school. But the tear isn’t even for herself. It wells up in response to her friend and fellow Tuungane Pamoja artisan’s story of fleeing the Rwandan genocide.

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Color explodes riotously in the shouts of Mathare Valley slum schoolchildren, where even rusting corrugated metal and pervasive dust cannot dampen the life and hope pulsing in these young veins.

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At times, especially in the first few weeks after leaving Kenya’s allure, specific memories of moments feel to me hopelessly compacted upon one another, just out of reach of conscious evaluation and processing. But the colors, like a child’s kaleidoscope, call out to me. They beseech me to keep turning the wheels; to keep focusing on each stunning combination, whether delicate or bold; to keep searching for all Kenya wants to say to me.

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Special thanks to Otto von Münchow. I originally “met” Otto through WordPress blogging, and I’ve enjoyed the incredible privilege of participating in his workshop, Your Photographic Voice, for the last several weeks. Week 2, focusing on color, just happened to overlap my time in Kenya; and through Otto’s instruction, I noticed color in ways I may not have otherwise, which brought me great joy.

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