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Obituary: Trent Keegan, 1974-2008

31 May 2008 - EPUK

The sudden death of respected photojournalist has deprived the industry of a great talent and a great friend, writes his former colleague Caitlin O’Hanlon.

TRENT KEEGAN (12 August 1974 – 28 May 2008)

Award-winning photojournalist and Irish-based EPUK member Trent Keegan has died tragically in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi. He was 33.

Raised in the town of New Plymouth in New Zealand, Trent was a carpenter by trade before arriving in the west of Ireland nearly a decade ago and picking up a camera for the very first time. His natural ability, his compassionate drive, and his love for his art would go on to win him numerous awards with the Irish Professional Photographers Association.

Trent Keegan, in a self portrait taken in Kenya.

Well known for his uniquely angled photos, a fringe benefit of his 6’5 frame, Trent had taken his talent to more than 40 countries, including some of the harshest areas in the world, and had dreamt of one day becoming a successful combat photographer.

A volunteer trip to North Darfur in 2006 with Irish-charity GOAL, would only begin to quench Trent’s thirst for giving a voice, through his haunting images, to those people who could not be heard.

Described by a former employer as a “consummate professional who never caused his editors a moment’s bother”, Trent worked diligently for a number of years out of Galway city in the hopes of securing enough money to fund his next adventure abroad.

Early this year, after a brief visit home to New Zealand to see friends and family, his next mission became the war-torn country of Kenya.

Arriving in the coast town of Mombasa in mid-March, Trent spent his first few weeks donating his time to the promotion of the Irish-Kenyan-based charity Sponsor an African Scholar before heading out to the capital city of Nairobi. He had hoped to secure work with both Kenyan and Irish publications and was well on his way to doing so when tragedy struck just days after his return from a trip to Tanzania.

Trent is survived by his father Mike and his mother Trish, who both reside in New Zealand, as well as his sister Nikki and brother-in-law Scottie, who live in London.

Remembering Trent

Memorial service: There will be a memorial service for Trent at Salthill Beach, Galway on Tuesday night. Please meet on the prom across from Seapoint Leisure Centre at approximately 9.30pm. Rev. Patrick Towers from St Nicholas Church will give a short service that will be followed by the opportunity for friends of Trent’s to say a few words. All are welcome at Massimo pub on William Street following the service.

Book of condolences: A book of condolences will be open for the next month at Bold Art Gallery on Merchant’s Road, Galway.

Online: A tribute to Trent, as well as an online book of condolences and a great collection of his work can be found on his website at www.trentkeegan.com

Want to contact the EPUK Website editor? editor@epuk.org


Trent Keegan – A Good Friend and a GreatPhotographer

A major story Trent was covering related to a safari company, who have allegedly been attacking Maasai herdsmen in the Sukenia/Loliondo region of Ngorongoro. One man was shot, allegedly by rangers from the safari company. Another was murdered twelve months ago over land issues, and many have allegedly been beaten and threatened.
The Maasai of Kenya and Tanzania are fighting to hold onto their traditional grazing lands, although they are meeting increasing pressure to vacate the land in favour of large Game Reserves.The Maasai are accused of endangering the wildlife, despite the fact that they have lived in harmony with the land and wildlife for thousands of years.
There are some very interesting comparisons to Dee Brown’s ‘Bury my Heart at Wounded Knee’; and the story has also been covered in ‘No Man’s Land’, both well worth reading.
Many people in the region now fear that Trent’s death was somehow connected with his investigative journalism into their plight,although the evidence would appear to contradict this.

Comment 1: Brian MacCormaic, 2 June 2008, 03:23 pm

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