I am a person that conceptualizes a lot of the time especially with portraiture. I am constantly looking for subjects. What drives me to capture an image is the kind of subject I would have found. I adore natural light. At any time of the day the sun works for me. As long as I connect with the subject, that creates the situation that I need.


WORDS: RICK DE LA RAY

PHOTOGRAPHY: TATENDA CHIDORA


Where are you from and how do you feel it has influenced the way you look at the world?

I was born and bred in Zimbabwe. I have been residing in South Africa for just over a decade. Growing up in Zimbabwe definitely had an impact on how I see the world. I was of the young generation that went through the tough economic situations. So I understand what it means to have and not to have as well. There wasn’t that much exposure to visual art especially photographic material. There is a special signature that my country has placed inside of me and it subliminally shapes my imagery.

When and how did photography become a part of your life?

In 2010 I bought myself a DSLR. At that time I wasn’t aware that people could actually study photography. Growing up I used to spend a lot on magazines. I had a huge fascination with magazines. When I bought my camera I was looking to execute the kind of images that I was seeing in the magazines. I started taking images but I wasn’t happy with how it was going until a friend of mine took me to his university, which had a Photo School. When I entered the department I saw images similar to the ones I had been seeing in magazines. I was so convinced that I was in the right place. In 2012 I started my diploma in Photography.

What inspires you and influences you and your work?

There are a few things that inspire me daily, such as light falling on people in spaces; my community inspires me by the richness in diversity and by experiencing life every day. I look around a lot and friends that dream are constantly showing me something beautiful around me. I love being around people and in different spaces. I draw different energy as I walk in different spaces. Coffee and travelling and exploring Africa’s roots inspire me as well.

Do you feel it’s important for creatives to be open about their experiences?

I definitely feel it’s important for creatives to be open about their experiences. One can read in history books how early photographers were very authentic in their work and mostly very open about their lives and experiences. In this day and age people tend to hide behind followers on social media and there is this picture that is being portrayed but not actually real. Sadly no-one really talks about how they went about losing, or winning, or any true experiences and challenges that they face. In this non-conventional industry that is mostly entrepreneurial, I think these experiences are required because you never know who you are helping through.

What inspires the subject matter in your images or do you allow it to happen spontaneously?

I am still trying to figure out why I mostly photograph men. If you look closely most of my subjects are male figures in my portraiture. I easily connect with them because I am also a male and they don’t need a lot of work before photographing them. I have had a few spontaneous moments but most of the time it’s controlled. What inspires me the most is the beauty in skin. I am still exploring the richness, texture and contrasts of black skin.

Do you see photography becoming a full-time thing for you in the future or how do you see yourself evolving?

I am doing photography full-time. I have been earning my stripes in the industry. I was trained in commercial photography. In future I will be doing a lot of advertising photography. I would love to build my fine-art work a bit further, building up a complete body of work for exhibitions and even publications.

You used to be a chef. Do you still enjoy cooking and have you considered styling and shooting food as part of your photographic skills?

I wasn’t a chef lol, but I was in the process of becoming a chef and had a strong passion for food. I think Photoshop took all my love for food. I enjoy cooking. I don’t get to do it as much as I would love to. I believe someone inherited the skill away from me. I have had a fair share of involvement in food shoots. I think for now I will step aside. I love still-life photography but I will focus on objects and other things, but not food.

What medium do you prefer shooting in and what camera are you using at the moment?

I love film. I honestly love film. I don’t get to shoot as much as I would like to. I shoot both film and digital. I am currently shooting with a Nikon D800e, a Minolta 35mm and my iPhone.

What drives you to capture an image? What type of situation appeals to you?

I am a person that conceptualizes a lot of the time especially with portraiture. I am constantly looking for subjects. What drives me to capture an image is the kind of subject I would have found. I adore natural light. At any time of the day the sun works for me. As long as I connect with the subject, that creates the situation that I need.

What is the most uncomfortable moment you have encountered while shooting?

Nothing too hectic has happened to me on set, but my most uncomfortable moment is when I have to approach someone so that I can photograph him or her. I don’t know how many people that I have let pass me by without me saying anything, but they could have been the best subjects.

Whose work do you admire locally and why?

I adore Ross Garrett and Travys Owen’s portraiture. I have had my eye on them from the earliest stages of my photography. Their approach to photography is one of self-articulation. There is a personal and prescribed style that they show in their work.

Do you have any future projects in the pipeline that you would like to share with us?

I have a few personal projects that I am working on. Let me execute them first and then I will share.


@tatendachidora


HIGH FIVES