At home with Emmanuel Jambo, photographer behind Ruto portrait

by decwells
At home with Emmanuel Jambo, photographer behind Ruto portrait


A section of Emmanuel Jambo’s living room. [Nailantei Kenga]

Born in Sudan and raised in the US, Emmanuel Jambo is known as the president’s photographer. The award-winning photographer recently took President William Ruto’s portrait. He also photographed former President Uhuru Kenyatta.

His bachelor pad feels like a gallery studio or a posh art boutique showroom. Antique lovers and collectors will no doubt fall in love with it.

It has enough character to hold an antique auction, and Jambo will fetch a fortune for its priceless pieces – if he decides to sell them.

Large windows allow the perfect amount of lighting into his living room. The space is bright and airy, and it has a neutral gray palette mural that he painted.

This brilliant canvas allows him to play with all his sentimental collections.

The wooden floor adds warmth. A perfect reflection of the owner, there is no clutter in his living room. This allows one to appreciate the tastefully understated look he has created.

When I ask him why he likes the apartment style, he shares that he appreciates the old-style spaces because they have character.

Jambo is a DIY enthusiast. If all the furniture in his space is anything to go by, he reached out to an artisan friend to help him realize his vision for his home furnishings. He tells me that he would like to study carpentry.

Emmanuel Jambo is known as the president’s photographer.

He made the brown leather sofa seats by hand, which are stylish and comfortable. The room also features other pieces he made, including worn antique chairs, a stylish ottoman, unique picture frames and a bookshelf.

There is also a TV stand, a table made of neat wooden pallets, and a glass table with wheels that rolls away to any space in the house. This gives the room an eclectic effect and a distinct personality.

An authentic zebra rug he bought in the United States adds charm and pulls all the elements together.

His space is cute and striking. I am fascinated by Jambo’s artworks logical and unconventional display.

The animal print brown wing chair is a work of art. Its unique character complements its space perfectly. Jambo shares that it was a gift from his sister when she moved back to the US.

Statement pieces of art – and his favorite pictures hanging on bare stone walls – tell a story of places he’s visited around the world and his charity work with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

Jambo collects skulls and old cameras. One of the skulls looks real. When I ask how he managed to get one, he reveals that it’s from one of his photo shoots. It is plastic but looks like a real human skull. Somehow it’s scary, but exciting.

The vintage cameras that his sister and his friend gave him express how much his loved ones appreciate his passion for photography, a famous photographer’s pursuit.

His favorite model fashion photos show his incredible art and skill in photography.

I jokingly ask him when he plans to settle down, and he quips, “No one wants to marry me, including the Chinese.”

The Ankole skull on the wall is striking. These are some of the bulls found in South Sudan, Uganda or Rwanda.

“The big horns symbolize strength. One of the South Sudanese tribes raised their hands as a sign of power, and I reconnect with my roots by looking at it,” he says.

A vintage vinyl recorder and records is a majestic brand. They bring back the good old days, his parents’ heyday, and they remind him of his childhood.

I’m excited about some rickety pieces, like an old Singer sewing machine, an old typewriter, and a hurricane lamp. The Ajua game and small seats from Lamu portray his care and precision for all things rustic and vintage.

The Ajua game and small seats from Lamu portray his care and precision for all things rustic and vintage. [Nailantei Kenga]

He reluctantly agrees to show me his master bedroom, which is stylish with neutral palettes on the walls and large windows that flood in sunlight. His custom-made bed is authentic.

The antique guitar beautifully displayed in the room is a perfect aesthetic. Another vinyl recorder in his room speaks of his passion for music. A brown cowhide rug adds a masculine feel to the space.

Jambo’s bachelor pad depicts his passion for antiques. His relaxed and artistic personality is felt throughout his home. The relaxed and imaginative atmosphere is a fantasy escape where his creative juices flow.

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