A photographer’s way of self-expression

Nyasha Gurure (with camera) and a collection of some of her pictures on a number of societal and personal issues

ALBERT Einstein famously remarked: “One picture is worth a thousand words.” This implies that multiple ideas can be successfully communicated or conveyed by a single still image without the use of written or spoken captions.

NewsDay Weekender Life & Style caught up with Nyasha Gurure, a woman who opted to speak loudly through her photographs to address various social ills and call for social change.

Gurure found photography as the ideal medium to convey powerful messages to people because it allowed her to fully express herself.

She embraced artistic photography in the hope that it would give people the freedom to see her images in various contexts that would resonate with their everyday experiences.

Gurure has addressed a number of topics using photography, including women empowerment, breast cancer, walking away from unhappy marriages, gender-based violence (GBV) and childhood trauma.

A simple shot becomes a vivid story when images are created with distinct subjects that evoke strong emotions.

Beginning of the journey

In 2019, while teaching computer classes at a private school in Chitungwiza, photography became involved. I agreed when I was asked to take photos for the school event though I had no photography experience. I wanted to get paid, so I said I would do it.

I asked a person I knew to lend me their camera and teach me the fundamentals of taking pictures.

The camera was set on auto and the man only demonstrated to me how to press one button to take a picture. However, that is when my interest in photography started to grow. Additionally, it seemed to me that Zimbabwean photographers were under-expressing the creative potential of their medium. I had to enter the field in order to upscale African artistic photography.


Despite having purchased a camera for myself and having a clear idea of the artwork I wanted to create, it was challenging to use the camera without knowing how to do it. Upon approaching other professionals in the field, they consented to mentor me, but instead utilised my camera for their own commercial photography.

I tried to find a way out because my male counterparts did not take me serious. I ended up receiving too much criticism because my photography defied many industry rules and was very different from what other photographers were doing. Even though they could not understand, I had to stick to my convictions and the messages I needed to convey.

Male egos

It was difficult to work with male colleagues because of their egos, which would always tell them they were right and that they knew everything. They believed that because I am a woman, I could not create the kind of art I wanted the world to see. In order to accomplish my goals, I had to remain in my own universe, which some people found absurd. I concentrated on my intended audience. Subsequently, everything turned out well.


I was not particularly vocal when I was younger. It was difficult for me to communicate my emotions or to tell things as they were. There were moments when I would make inappropriate gestures or statements.

My life experiences included growing up in poverty and witnessing GBV, but I was never given the opportunity to share my experiences and stories in order to uplift others. I jotted down the narratives I wanted to tell and identified visual components that could tell them all in one image. Photographs emerged as the most effective way to share them with the world.

Passionate issues

Real-life narratives are being beautifully presented by our musicians. As an artist, I wish to bring attention to topics that are rarely discussed. Even though it may occasionally appear that other artists have already addressed these same topics, I make an effort to look deeply and from a unique angle. Since not everyone has the same understanding of the world, I present it in a way that allows for a wide range of interpretations.

Perception on visual storytelling

A picture should be able to evoke feelings, establish a connection and communication with the spirit and tell a story. There are images that have voices behind them. A picture needs to tell a clear story that can be interpreted in a variety of ways, speaking to the viewer in a loud and clear voice.

Themes covered

Women empowerment: A photo of a woman carrying a basket of pepper and onions while perspiring and having radiant skin. I created that image to show how sweat can sometimes enhance one’s beauty, meaning that a strong, independent woman would look good.

Childhood fears/ trauma: During my childhood, I experienced severe asthma attacks and often found myself staring at the ticking clock, feeling as though death was imminent. However, I have learned to live completely and enjoy every moment of life without worrying about the future. A portion of my photographs are recreations of events and experiences from my own life.

GBV: The image depicts a very irate man holding a mirror while glaring at his wife with a great deal of resentment and anger. The woman’s looks, demeanour and attitude are reflected in the mirror. Thus, he is clutching a mirror of his wife's suffering, cries, bumps and wounds. I want the community to know that reporting GBV is important and that an abusive partner can actually take someone’s life.

Breast cancer awareness: Losing a relative to breast cancer and witnessing her struggles prompted me to put together elements that African women would be able to relate with. I was encouraging women to get breast cancer screening in October last year, which is also breast cancer awareness month.

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