By Marissa V. Foster
KEON Kevin Hector was born and raised in the ancient town of New Amsterdam. He is the fourth of six children. A past student of the Berbice High School, Hector recalls that his mother made the decisions to send him into the business stream as she had a plan for him to work at a bank. “I never really liked accounts and I was an average student who graduated with nine subjects,’’ said Hector. He describes his younger self as a very quiet and reticent boy growing up. He was not very outgoing, had few friends and enjoyed the company of his own self in the comfort of his home.
Although showcasing introverted behaviour, Hector, who now attends the University of Guyana, constantly thought about his future. Those thoughts were the indecisiveness of his future career and path, like many other young people of today. Hector explained being a victim of bullying in both primary and secondary schools. The effects of bullying had a great impact on him. He explained, “I have always felt like I was going to be a nobody in life. My self-confidence was at an all-time low.” All his life he was unsure as to what and who to become; he was just ‘going with the flow’ until, of course, he discovered the realm photography.
His journey in photography started in 2014 at the New Amsterdam Technical Institute when he first developed a love for technology, mainly videography and cinematography. While he was on summer break in the year of 2015 he started to make short videos. He expressed that he didn’t even have his own computer. Instead, he would use the school’s computers to edit on. His teachers were very annoyed because he would always stay back some extra hours to use the computers there.
As time progressed and school reopened in 2015, he was determined to purchase his own computer but did not have enough money. As such, Hector used his knowledge in technology and would fix broken computers/phones for students and teachers at school and they in return would pay him. With this money he made, he purchased his first laptop for $35,000 at a sale. He still continued to edit his short videos at school as there was no internet at his home. This happened until one day when a teacher stopped him from doing so. All hope was lost until he attended the GuyExpo and took his phone along with him to shoot videos. While videoing, he met Ziggy Denhart who is a Guyanese videographer and photographer and owner of Infinity Photography.
Ziggy gave Hector an inspirational talk on his own journey thus far. He was more inspired after viewing some of Denhart’s work. He noted, “I couldn’t believe that a Guyanese could’ve taken and displayed such beautiful videos and photos.” Hector later went on to buy his first camera the next year after pooling money with a friend to do so. He and his friends started to make funny videos for social media under the name “Renaissance Entertainment” and it was here that he later improved on his videography skills.
In December 2016, he started to take pictures along with another Berbice photographer, Andy Eastwise Henry. Keon was not confident enough to work on his own or to even charge money for his work until one day someone offered to pay him to do a photoshoot. He later realised that he could actually make a living off of photography. By the end of 2017, Hector shot 12 weddings and countless photo shoots. Currently, he is amongst the top photographers in not only Berbice but Guyana at large. He has a large social media following and his name is a household one when it comes to creative birthdays, weddings, even prom photographs and videos, nationwide.
“Leadership usually gravitates to the man who can get up and say what he thinks. I was never a leader until I got into trouble for following bad company in NATI and my teacher told me I needed to be a leader. I had poor communication skills until I started to do what I was afraid of; I presented in front of school, talked to random people every day and stood up for what I believed in and it wiped out my timidity and lack of self-confidence,” he said. “Never compare yourself with others; there is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow men. True nobility lies in being superior to your former self.”
Hector’s ultimate goal is to create the strongest filmmaking team in the country. He wants to be an inspiration for every person with a dream. He wants people to say ‘Because of Keon I didn’t give up.’ “No dream is too big. We are our greatest enemy and we also are our own hero. If there is no enemy within then the enemy outside can do us no harm. That’s an African proverb so we need to be confident in ourselves and compliment ourselves.” This is his advice to all young dreamers. “When life gives you lemonade, simply make lemonade.”