BY CHIEDZA MAZHANGARA LOCAL female photographer Nyasha Gurure has defied the odds to push for her recognition and share of the cake in this male-dominated profession.
The Harare-based photographer said her journey in the world of photography has been inspired by passion and determination to fight the stereotypes attached to the profession.
Having been in the industry for about four years clicking the shutter, she reckons that people are still skeptical and find it difficult to accept that a woman can be a great photographer.
Gurure is into artistic African photography which she said has been recognised worldwide as it communicates more about the beauties in Africa. In using photography to come up with a beautiful African story, Gurure uses props which depict a true African set-up. NewsDay Weekender recently caught up with Gurure who shared some nuggets about her journey in the world of photography.
“I grew up in a humble family of two. So to survive, my father used to buy computer parts from the auction, bring them home and his words were ‘let us build a working machine to get today’s meal’.
“So young as I was, I could sit down with my brother and start testing different computer parts and build them. Because of this, I grew up well-equipped in technology and I started learning different softwares.
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“My desire with these softwares was to build a story in one picture, I could take a picture from the internet and manipulate it just to get the story I wanted from it.
“One season I decided to raise money for my first camera in order to capture the stories that I really wanted to tell.”
Learning to operate a camera
“I would go and sit down when other male photographers were taking photos and see what they were doing. I remember at one point they would laugh at me whenever I asked a deep question about the gadget.
“I then started capturing some random photos. Later I had to search for the type of photography that I was really interested in.
“During my years in photography, I have noticed that women do not want to go in front of the camera assuming that their shots may not come out well. Some women have a low self-esteem and the fear of a horrible shot.”
“Props are anything at all used to better support and add meaning to the main subject in a photo. Observing our different cultures, I usually use different items such as shells and beads as these show the true beauty of nature and the connection with human life.
These can be laid differently as jewellery to tell a certain story about our everyday lives.
“I also use animal skins and horns. I use these props as a symbol of our cultural backgrounds, totem and connection with different animals. Way back, people used to use animals to explain a human character or look.
“Usually I portray human characters and even attitudes by using any element from animals. “When I look at my photographs, I am filled with immense pride. They continue to move me and touch the part of my brain where art translates to goose-bumps and emotion.
Survival in the industry
“It was and is still hard for people to accept that a woman can produce mind-blowing images behind the camera.
“Sometimes people would doubt me even during the sessions.
“Usually coming in with my own art in a world where men had built their own name came with a lot of negative perceptions as people doubt that a woman can do things just like or even better than our male counterparts.”
“I have travelled to different countries capturing images of prominent companies and organisations. In 2019, I was the official photographer for Somalian soccer team when they came to Zimbabwe.
“I was one of Prophet Emmanuel and Ruth Makandiwa Invitational Concert and Awards Night photographers and I also did the Zimbabwe Women Business Awards 2021 and I also captured the Zimbabwe Music Awards 2022.
“I have also worked with some prominent figures like songstress Hope Masike and socialite Jackie Ngarande among organisers of different beauty pageants”.
Off the camera
“Besides photography, I am a brand strategist. I create the language between the brand and client, meaning I am into branding and content creation.”
“There are a lot of projects ahead as I am looking forward to placing my artistic portraits on print out. There are on exhibitions at arts galleries, so my wish is that the world can actually see the real beauty inside our beautiful Zimbabwe.”
“I am also creating different concepts for different companies for use on Africa Day.”
- Follow Chiedza on Twitter @Chiedza Mazhang