Click, flash, magic

Blxckfyre speaks to tjil about how best to capture the most conceptual and meaningful work on camera and on video with the little you have.

07 December 2018 | Art and Entertainment

Blxckfyre is Zambian-born photographer and filmmaker. He has been shooting for five years.

His love for film and filmmaking inspired him to pick up a camera and photography grew on him in the process. Blxckfyre's portfolio spans from portrait photography to magazine covers and has recently expanded to shooting television shows. The photographer's best works include his shots of the Late Theo-Ben Gurirab. Blxckfyre's latest project is being the director of a new talk show called Lifestyle which will air early next year.

“Being trusted with such a massive responsibility for someone so young is a massive honour indeed and I am very excited to work with this team to create an awesome show,” he said.

Here are his tricks on how to level up your game.

tjil (t): How did you get from being an aspiring photographer to doing it part-time?

Blxckfyre (B): It's really just about putting yourself and your work out there. I just started out by creating what I loved and it turned out that other people seemed to like what I created.

t: From your point of view, what makes a good picture?

B: A good picture to me is one that screams creativity and actual creative input.

Anyone today can take a picture but what makes it great is the creativity of the photographer. That's what makes the difference between average and great. You could have all the best equipment but if you can't conceptualise, undertake and execute a creative project then at best your work stays mediocre.

T: What do you do to always keep up with the times since the photography techniques and equipment constantly change?

B: One unfortunate setback in this is the high costs of equipment and as such it isn't easy to constantly stay up to date with the latest cameras, lenses and what have you. However, one major thing you learn once you get started is working with what you have. The equipment does half the job. I take a very experimental approach with my work in the sense that I'm always looking to experiment with different styles. I don't want to grow complacent in what I'm doing so I read photography blogs, watch a filmmaking channel on YouTube, try shooting with different camera settings than I'm comfortable with.

T: What is the difference between a professional photographer and any other hobby photographer?

B: I think the key difference between is the work ethic. I don't want to say it's the actual work per se, as I've seen hobbyists that take better pictures than the professionals. What separates a professional from a hobbyist should be their approach to the work. As a professional you're going to have to put in a little more elbow grease in order to deliver for clients.

T: Who do you consider an idol?

B: I have a couple of photographers that inspire and motivate me and they are Cedric Nzaka and Martin Amushendje. As far as idolising, very often I find myself asking what Tuva Wolf can't do really because her work is amazing.

T: What, in your opinion, is most important to consider while shooting pictures?

B: I think you need to explore your own creativity. Don't be told how you should create, don't get caught up with following the rules. There's a thousand ways to skin a cat the way I see it. Break the rules! Shoot something out of your comfort zone. Be unique and shoot raw.

T: How do you get the person, place or thing that is in front of the camera onto the film, chip or paper in just the way you want?

B: Experimentation! Most times I have a mental image of how I want particular photos or films to turn out. It's really just a matter of trying out the different creative techniques I've picked up that best tell that story. It also helps to have an enthusiastic and patient subject.

T: What do you think of the state of the photography industry?

B: I think it is crazily talented! This year I've been exposed to a number of talented photographers and it seems to me more just keep coming up. The industry here keeps growing and improving and as such I'd really like to see more collaboration among artists both locally and on an international level.

T: What will next year be like for local photographers in terms of gigs, exposure and the kind of pictures that people will be taking?

B: I think next year will be interesting. Definitely going to be more competitive locally I feel and that's a good thing. We'll see a shift in the quality of the work dropping. I also think that possible international collaboration will happen with other photographers in others countries as the attention on Namibia is becoming evident.

June Shimuoshili

PHOTOS: Blxckfyre

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