Focusing in on the future: What are Murugi’s next steps?
If you think Murugi’s had her fill of adventures and is ready to stay put, you haven’t been paying attention. Even with her full-time job, she still spends her free time connecting with new people and finding even more new ways to tell their stories. Currently, she’s working as the director of photography on her own film focusing on how the tobacco industry impacts the Black community. When we spoke for this article, she was just getting back from filming it in San Francisco.
And of course, her personal and professional travels continue to take her to places much farther away than the Golden State. At this point, she’s been on trips to over 20 countries, many of which she’s planned with the express purpose of photographing strangers. Every time she sets out to take these portraits, she remembers her first Tour Director’s mini Spanish lesson and makes sure to learn a few key phrases in the local language.
Murugi’s go-to question is still, “Can I take your picture?” But now that she works in the film industry and knows how easy it is for photographers to exploit their subjects, she feels even more passionate about informed consent. That’s why, in addition to asking for permission, she always tells people where the photo is going and how she plans to use it.
Murugi says this rule should apply to every photographer, whether they’re a professional shooting for a world-famous magazine or a high school student on an EF tour. “Students should be able to say a few sentences like, ‘I’m a photography student, and I want to take a picture of you because of your beautiful dress, and I’d like to put it on my Instagram account,’” she explains. “Or, if the students don’t know the language, I’d encourage them to ask their Tour Director for help in starting the conversation.”