It's not often we get to see our older generations portrayed in such an idyllic way, but a new photo series by Kenyan photographer Osborne Macharia has turned our perception of grandmas on its head.
After wanting to do a sequel to a project called 'Hair Of Long Ago' featuring predominantly men, Macharia explains how 'NYANYE' came about. "We felt the need to do one that involved a full cast of grannies," he tells SBS. "While on assignment in Somaliland, we came across this beautiful old-school plane and we knew for sure this would work hand-in-hand with the grannies project."
And no badass photo shoot would be complete without a fictional world and backstory. Macharia describes the shoot as 'The League of Extravagant Grannies' with women "who were once corporate and government leaders in the 1970s but are now retired. They live the retired high life travelling to exotic and remote areas within Africa to explore, party and enjoy in exclusivity."
He explains, "when it comes to fictional work, the first thing that needs to make sense is the story, which I heavily rely on 'that gut feeling’, then the characters fit into the story. I’ll always know I have the right story; if I don’t, I’ll keep on thinking about it till it finally comes to life."
While the women were willing participants, they had no idea what they were getting themselves into. "Up to the time they got into the studio they knew they were coming for a shoot but didn't quite know exactly what it entailed," he says. "When they started having their make-up done, you could see the excitement in them, there was a sense of their youth being rekindled. They were glowing and just jovial. By the time we started styling them, they were completely different and in their element. Directing them was much simpler at this moment and it's that build-up to this point that made the shoot go well."
When they started having their make-up done, you could see the excitement in them, there was a sense of their youth being rekindled. They were glowing and just jovial.
Macharia feels the element of unexpectedness in 'NYANYE' is something that really drives him and his work. "I’m leaning towards the ‘unconventional’ work nowadays and I am loving it," he says. "The conventional tends to be very predictable and can be monotonous at times. With this type of work there is room for error which in most circumstances turns out to be the element that we were looking for all along. You have to be patient with your subjects and understand that for most of them this is their first time behind a camera. Most of them are shy or old and you wouldn’t make them behave like a professional. At the end of the day the results are always worth it, always."
Watch the behind-the-scenes video of the photoshoot: