Rosenthal and The Social Circle

According to the Rosenthal effect, also called the Pygmalion effect, greater expectation placed upon people results in better performance. Having attended the Canon Kenya Photography Awards 2015, I agree that pressure sometimes leads to some kind of genius, be it creative or scientific.

When we arrived at the event which was convened yesterday at KICC, the first thing I realized was that I was left out of the memo which stated that the event would be black tie. I can’t say I was dressed terribly, but my clothes had definitely drifted away from the theme, like palm tree debris pulled into the ocean by an evening tide.That was blunder number one.

Blunder number two happened when I walked away from my best friend to the cocktail section. I scanned the room looking for a familiar face but eventually it dawned that most of the people I knew were not guests; they were working the event.  Spotting some girls I had met during the struggle to find the ladies room earlier on, I went to their table and requested that I stand there while I waited for my friends. Unfortunately, no “friends” came so I hurriedly finished my cocktail and walked awkwardly  to the picture display section. I am definitely sure those girls laughed behind my back.

The pressure was escalating and anytime now the lava of my worries would escape the tiny craters of my goosebumpy skin in form of cold sweat. I had to find something interesting and useful to do before anyone noticed how out-of-place I felt. After speaking with Caroline on an upcoming project and seeking her wise counsel on the same, it became clear that moments like these were rare and as such, I needed to capture them.

The nuts, bolts and wheels of my brain went to work and before I knew it, I was taking selfies with the stars.  Yes, selfies. This might seem a bit odd owing to the fact that I was in a sophisticated gathering of people who had better things to do than take pictures. I decided to have a whack at it even though a little voice warned that this venture may backfire in my face at any moment. So off I went, pulling out my Huawei in front of every dignitary I could find.


Dr. Willy Mutunga, Chief Justice of Kenya


Jacques Pitteloud, Swiss Ambassador to Kenya


Boniface Mwangi, Social Political Activist and Founder Pawa 254


Alice Oldenburg, Canon Photographer of the Year 2015



Mutua Matheka, Award Winning Creative Photographer


Sylvia Gichia, Director Kuona Trust


Peter Ndung’u Kamau, People’s Choice Award Winner


Samwel Soko, Production Director at Lightbox Africa

The Rosenthal effect was clearly at work, igniting and propelling increased social interactions between little old introverted me and the mavericks, simply because there was an aura of pressure; the pressure to be remembered by the great.


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