First days in Nairobi

So I’m in Kenya now. The crowd funding worked and I have to thank some people for that… First of all Klein Haarlem, a foundation supporting young, creative entrepreneurs, for supporting and pushing me to go on this next journey. But also Aad, Marc, Mark, Ruha, Molly, Guy, Cees, Christine, Dean, Wilco, Remco, Laura, Ewoud, Lorette, Renée and of course my mother. 

As you might not have seen the video of the crowd funding or the one of Peacetones, you can check them following the links, to see what we’re going to do the upcoming weeks.

That being said, lets describe my first day. After a 10 hour flight arriving at 3:45 AM the first day was a day of relaxing and arranging some small stuff. Arranging a local sim card didn’t really work out and the festival we were supposed to visit was cancelled at the last minute. Unfortunately we found out by the time we got to the location. 

Also the flat tire that our guide had the day before my arrival was beyond repair. Basically it was a day where everything that could go wrong…. did go wrong. But, for some reason we had fun, the atmosphere was relaxed and we ended up having a wonderful day.

Today was somewhat different. After breakfast, we started with a special visit. Eric Wainaina, one of Kenya’s most famous musicians. We met him at his house and after talking with him he committed to helping Peacetones out with some of the workshops they’re planning in the shantytowns.

In the afternoon we picked up some small video cameras, that were sponsored by a Kenyan security company. Peacetones will donate these to the people joining the musical workshops and tomorrow, Joshua (an American photographer who’s also with us) and I will give a workshop on how to use it. Looking forward to it.

In the afternoon we witnessed a rehearsal of some musicians in Babandogo, one of the shantytowns. During this trip, Transcontinenta was kind enough to provide me a 24 mm Elmar (f3.8), I couldn’t have been more happy that it was in my bag as the room was small end completely filled with people. Even though you’re supposed to use an external viewfinder for this wide angle (which I didn’t bring) it worked like a charm.

After the rehearsal, right during the “golden hour” we walked back through the streets of Babandogo. This is what I love most…. wondering and wandering, talking to the people you meet and taking some great shots.

A crowd funding video from danielmaissan on Vimeo.

In a week and a half, I’ll be traveling to Kenya to help out with their project in the shantytowns of Nairobi. For this I need your help, only to buy a ticket. Check to help me out! Thanks a lot!


Next month I’ll be leaving for Nairobi to help out with this beautiful project, initiated by Peacetones.

This trip will also be part of my research for a new business model in which I’ll be able to work “non profit” more often. Giving foundations, institutions and young creative/social entrepreneurs some nice photographic material to help them make this world just a little bit better. 

For this I’m asking for your help if you can and if you want. Check out how you can help me here.

Thanks a lot, I’ll keep you all posted!!

Newsletter 2

For the people who didn’t subscribe (yet) to my newsletter, here you can check it… both in Dutch or in English.

If you like what you read, don’t hesitate to subscribe so I can send you the next newsletter directly next month! 


There’s News! You can now subscribe to my newsletter which will be send every month.

You can sign up here when interested.

A new year….

Wow, this was a nice first three weeks of the year. 

I did some nice portraits for the magazines, a lecture in Apeldoorn in working with the autistic children in Peru and I had a fun weekend at Noorderslag, one of the most important music festivals for Dutch bands on the verge of breaking through or famous and important for the popculture.

One of the portraits was of Dutch actor Victor Löw. For the magazine it had to be color, so I’ve shot it with the M, but I really love it in black and white. It was fun and easy working with him. Even though we only had about 45 minutes to do a shoot of about 4 different settings, I felt comfortable enough to still use the Leica. With some of the shots I used a bit of fill in with a Lastolite reflexion screen, but that wasn’t really necessary with this one.

During the lecture I spoke a lot about my work in Peru of last month, but also about working with the Leica and specially about working with silver effex pro. Most people by now, know this monochrome plugin for Lightroom or Photoshop that converts your color photos into black & white beautifully or enhances the shots of your Monochrom. I get a lot of questions on how I post process my work, well this is it for me. And the best (general) tip I can give for this workflow is: Don’t overdo it (specially with the structure sliders) and use the control points to make local adjustments instead of processing everything as one. It sounds simple, but apparently I helped a lot of people by telling them this. 

Besides this I introduced my new idea, of which you can check a preview here. It’s only work in progress but I’m very excited about it.

Last but not least, some of the pictures I took at Noorderslag. This was a festival I was invited to. Not to work, but just to have some fun. Of course I couldn’t leave my camera at home and I loved using the Monochrom this weekend to get a few shots at the edge of the stage. If you like to see  more of them check my flickr page.


Entering your photos in a contest; it’s supposed to be a smart move, but I really don’t like it. Of course I understand it’s a good way to reflect on your work, sharpen your selecting skills and it’s a great way to get some free publicity or great prices IF you win.


Would this photo, taken during my stay in Peru, have a chance of winning? I haven’t submitted it yet to any competition.

But that’s the whole problem; I hate selecting my own work… It’s not that I can’t see one photo is photographically better than te other, but the “feel” of a photo is also important. If not more important. This is where it gets tricky, as a lot of photos have more feel to me personally than to most viewers… I was there, I know the story! 


This shot taken in Mumbai actually got a “mark of excellence” in the I-shot -it competition.


This shot makes my heart beat faster, was used by Transcontinenta as a cover for a special edition yearbook, but hasn’t won anything in a competition…. yet.

When selecting just one photo it’s still relatively easy… you just pick one that makes your heart jump or that others like and repost a billion times on social media. You can still talk about taste and preference, but that’s just what it is.

It’s the series which give me the hard time. Most of the time they give you a restriction of X photos. And for some reason I always end up with X plus some, to tell the whole story. I guess this also is just a matter of perseverance and practice… so I’ve started to enter some of my work. 




These are shots taken during a project with autistic children in Peru. I didn’t select these three for entering this serie in a contest. To see all the photos check here and decide which seven pictures you would send in…

I’m mainly entering competitions where there are actual jurors and no “social voting system”. On the one hand because this gets me actual feedback on what I’m doing and on the other hand so I don’t have to spam my entire network. Also I’m entering some competitions that actually cost money… I look at this as “learning tuition” that I’ve never spend on an actual course, school or training. 


This picture I’ve never entered in a competition… still it got me some amazing publicity…

As for the publicity side of things; It’s always good to have people notice you and even blog about you… as you can check here, you might end up in one of those “best of the year” lists that come out by the end of the year. Thanks a lot for checking out my blog this year, have a great new years eve and hopefully see you all next year!

Shooting video with the M240 is quite a challenge for me, as this is the first trip I’m really using this feature.

I try to approach it the same way as I do my photography- reportage style- as there is little preparation, I have no tripod and most of the time I only have about an hour to shoot it at a location I’ve never been before, with people I’ve never met before. Quite a challenge. This video of Vivian was even shot in 30 minutes. 

Vivian is a 14 year old autistic girl, that doesn’t speak at all. In the 30 minutes we were there, the therapist practiced making the bed and doing the dishes… just to try and make Vivian a little bit more self sufficient in the long run.

Denilson is a six year old, autistic boy who’s learning to deal with the excess amount of input he gets when he leaves his hill house to go to the market. A long walk down hill, a bus ride into town and the overwhelming amount of  noise, people, music, colours and textures are a challenge to cope with for him…

Parents association

Yesterday we had a gathering of families with an autistic child. They came together to get to know each other, talk, drink hot chocolate milk and have their kids play together, including the non autistic brothers and sisters. The idea behind it was to form a parenting association (I have no idea if that is te proper English term for it.)

It was a great afternoon and besides documenting the event, I was asked to make some family portraits in the tradition of Peru… very posed. It’s not what I normally do, but I loved the challenge. Especially as some of the autistic kids didn’t want to stand still or stand there with their parents. Therefor sometimes I had to improvise, but it all worked out.

In the mean time some of the kids decorated the place, making beautiful chalk drawings on the floor. Others played a game on the phone, or just sat in silence in a corner.