From Kingston to Atlanta one night, then Atlanta to Chicago, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and Ethiopia to Nairobi, and more than 48 hours of flight, photographer J’can Robert Johnson was in the homeland.
He has traveled to New York, Poland, Italy, Germany, France, Belgium and England for lectures as part of his current studies in chemistry, but nothing compared to this trip he has dreamed of for more than 20 years.
The lecturer in chemistry at UTech, Jamaica, who is also a fashion, landscape and wildlife photographer, had a 20-plus year dream of visiting Africa.
In an interview with Loop NewsJohnson mentioned a years-long desire to visit Africa. It was developed around 1995, when Johnson saw a documentary about the migration of Africa’s Wildest Beast at an IMAX theater in Baltimore, Maryland. He was hooked. Speechless, and in awe.
And as an active member of a few online photography groups, Johnson has maintained the fervor for travel more than 25 years later. In July 2021, he traveled to Kenya and Tanzania for a two-week tour of African states.
“I went to Africa to live [and capture] an African safari. I have always wanted to experience the eighth wonder of the world – the migration of wild beasts across the Mara River.
In addition to several natural movements in the wild, Johnson captured a cheetah chasing and killing a gazelle on the plain, a lion and a lioness mating, and entering the Ngorongoro Crater to Site of the Ngorongoro Conservation Authority, home to the largest inactive, intact and unfilled volcanic caldera in the world.
Years after traveling to Canada, America and Europe, Johnson decided “Africa was my next stop.”
At the time, he was ineligible to travel to the continent, but the dream of returning to Africa never died out.
When he decided to make the trip in 2021, he started his research and opted for Kenya and Tanzania for two reasons: To see the Masai Mara National Reserve and visit the Serengeti National Park.
Along with the captured photos and videos, Johnson shared her most treasured experiences and the things that stood out the most from the long-awaited stay.
Johnson’s Most Valuable Experiences at Every Stop
– The expanse of the savannah. “I didn’t know the Savannah was so big. On the map, it looks like an area in East Africa where you can spot wild animals [in their natural habitat]”.
– “I was in awe of the Serengeti (which he confirmed was over 30,000 km2 of land), it was like a sea of grass.
– How intelligent wild animals were. “Most of what they did was calculated and timely.” Johnson compared the Serengeti to an organized community.
– “I visited the village of a Maasai tribe and was impressed by the way people lived. I went to their houses to see what the housing structure looked like…how it was built…the apartments that were there…how they live in general. I will never forget the Maasai tribal dance, where they were jumping… I was able to experience it for myself.
Three things that stood out the most, according to Robert Johnson
1 Jhe culture of Kenyans in Kenya is very similar to the culture of Jamaicans in Jamaica.
2 I always thought Africa was a very hot place. But, I’ve found that’s not necessarily the case, it depends on what time of year you [visit] and where you are going. In Kenya, where I was, it was their winter in July, which meant cold mornings and hot afternoons, then back to cold nights.
3 My learning about the history and life of Danish author Karen Blixen, her life in Africa and how she came to be after moving there in the 1800s.
Johnson, who calls himself Flowys Creation (for his photography business) plans to create a calendar for 2023 and other plants to mount an exhibit with several of the images he captured in Africa. He also plans to return to Africa very soon!