Charlie was born in Kenya in 1975 and spent his early childhood there before going to boarding schools in UK, first to prep school in Kent and then to Hurstpierpoint College in Sussex. After school he trained and qualified as a professional Chef and worked first in a chateau restaurant in the Loire Vally in France, followed later by top restaurants in London before coming back to Kenya as the Group Chef for Heritage Hotels. He was very involved in training Kenyan staff in the kitchens and as a keen amateur photographer he often used pictures of the various menu items to show what the finished dish should look like. In his spare time he went on expeditions to photograph the landscapes and way of life of the people of East Africa and held exhibitions of his work. He started doing photographic work for brochure images for many of the leading hotel companies in Kenya. This led to a full-time career as a photographer and in a relatively short time he was recognised as one of Kenya’s top professional photographers and ultimately was developing a name for himself as a video cameraman shooting TV commercials for a range of the top companies in Africa.
Charlie was born in March 2012, Charlie lost his life in Nairobi as a result of falling from a balcony while trying to elude some criminals who were in pursuit of him and firing guns. For Charlie’s family and friends this was a heart-breaking loss and it was tragic that it happened at a time when his career was flourishing and he was gaining wider recognition for his work especially as he moved into the field of moving pictures.
Charlie’s father wrote: "We are all devastated at the loss of my son and it is heart-breaking for his family and friends. Charlie was an extraordinary young man with enormous talent who was loved by all who knew him. He was kind-hearted, exceptionally generous to all around him, modest and unassuming with a zest and passion for life so that he lived the equivalent of a lifetime of 80 years packed into his 36 years.”
The huge number of images left by Charlie will act as a legacy to his memory. A selection is featured on this website.
Charlie wrote this about his career:
"I was born and raised in Kenya and educated in the UK. I left school and trained as a Chef in London and then worked in France followed by 2 and 3 star Michelin restaurants in London.
Returning home to Kenya in 1998, I started shooting anything I could using slide films on 35mm and mostly medium format cameras.
I left the kitchen for a greater passion, and made a career out of photography. I started out shooting for the hospitality industry here in East Africa (hotels, luxury tented camps and game lodges) and working on any commissions I could get doing travel style work.
I developed a major love for "travel style photography", particularly the African Landscape, and the fascinating people that live here in East Africa. Photographic expeditions on foot, carrying luggage either by camel or donkey have allowed me to access areas of immense natural beauty.
I have travelled on photographic assignments all over Kenya, and further afield (Uganda, Tanzania, Zanzibar, Rwanda, South Africa, Sudan and Ethiopia).
In 2005 I first approached the advertising industry and the agencies. I worked extensively for Media 24 in South Africa – shooting fashion, food, interiors and travel for the wide range of magazines they produced for the East African market. In August 2009 I shot the front cover and 6 pages for Architectural Digest. I have shot 2 major Pan-African campaigns for Coca Cola, and worked extensively on the Safaricom account (mobile network - vodaphone affiliated) , shot cars for Nissan and food shots for Nestle, beauty shots for Unilever and aerial shots from helicopters and cranes. The work and subject matter is diverse.
Since 2005 I have shot pretty much exclusively on the Phase One system, using the P30 with the Hasselblad V system, and more recently using the Phase Camera with the Schneider lenses, and a P65+ back."
PICTURE POETRY, HE SAID IT ALL
A memento for Charlie's friends: a selection of his photos and tributes online in a book: