Michael Khateli Kenya's celebrated Photographer set record straight on Uhuru's viral photo that almost landed him in hot soup

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The photo was probably the first rare instance where Kenyans came face to face with the President's raw emotions, some could even guess what was going on in his heart.

play President Uhuru Kenyatta. (Michael Khateli)

Kenya’s celebrated photographer Michael Khateli is a man of many talents.

The closest to his heart though is photography; through the course of his short career he has captured some of the most incredible images enough to win him a Pulitzer Prize.

It is his viral photos of leaders and powerful public officials though that have caught the attention of Kenyans and made him the most sought after photographer.

play President Uhuru Kenyatta (courtesy)

 

From Pope Francis, Barrack Obama, American singer Chris Brown to President Uhuru Kenyatta all have been subjects of his artistic work winning him local and global acclaim.

Business Insider SSA recently sat down with the celebrated photographer to shed more light on one of his most viral photo that almost landed him in hot soup.

“There is a time I took the photo of the president and it went viral.” Michael said.

play Michael Khateli (Ghafla!)

 

During the 2016, Barclays Kenya Open golf tournament, President Uhuru was the chief guest and came clad in a cowboy’s hat with his cheerful and infectious spirit intact.

Michael took a photo of the president being handed a bottle of Champagne as a show of gratitude after the golf tournament and shared it online.

The president’s expression was speechless and probably the first rare instance where Kenyans came face to face with the President's raw emotions, some could even guess what was going on in the President’s heart, mouth agape and eyes wide open the president in the photo seemed not to contain himself when handed a bottle of Champagne.

 

Within minutes of sharing it online, the picture went viral and broke the Intenet, Kenyans of all walks shared and re-shared the photo with abandon, the ones with photo editing skills had a field day creating memes and adding all manner of captions.

“You see when I shared that photo it had a caption, President Uhuru had been told that the Champagne bottle goes for a whopping Sh70,000 ($700) and if do watch Grand Prix that is the exact bottle the likes of  Lewis Hamilton are normally given to celebrate with after winning the race. So his reaction was on the price and the prestige not what Kenyans thought” Michael revealed for the first time.

“And when I shared the picture it had a caption but when Kenyans saw it they just went crazy and proceeded to put their own captions and completely changed the whole thing”

play President Uhuru during the Barclays Kenya Open golf tournament, 2016. (courtesy)

 

In Kenya just like many African countries, the President is a symbol of power and the presidential communication team normally goes to extreme lengths to ensure only authorized photos of the head of state are taken and sometimes even have to approve it before it is published.

 “You know the president is like this demigod to a lot of Kenyans like the way President Moi was, they will not want to portray the president in bad light, it’s always in good light but not this time”

“That photo of the president with the Champagne bottle almost got me in trouble with the guy who gave me that assignment because he said I was making the President look bad even though that was not my intention”  The 33yr old photographer said.

play Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton celebrates his Chinese Grand Prix win with some Mumm champagne. (nydailynews)

 

What many Kenyans hadn’t known however was that was not the first 'human' photo Michael had taken of the president.

“Apart from that I had done so many other photos of the president which people used as memes but they never had my watermarks because I was scared of what would happen”

Despite the photo almost landing him in trouble it also came with blessings which saw him became a regular photographer to state events, land more corporate and event gigs shooting his career even higher.

play President Uhuru during the Barclays Kenya Open golf tournament, 2016. (nairobiwire)

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