An anxious journey to photography
I am a self-taught photographer who has been in practise for about three years now. It all started during the COVID-19 lockdowns as I needed a way to deal with my anxiety. A friend of mine had lent me a camera, and being homebound without any assurance that I would have my work after two months in the house, I decided to take to YouTube and learn as much as I could about the gadget that I had in my possession.
Wisdom for the discerning eye
One of the things that the person who lent me the camera had said to me was to look for the basics and elements of art. This is something I am deeply grateful for as, with my growth in the practice, you can see how this principle has infused into how my wildlife photography sidesteps the norms of the market at present. My first foray was in sharing my photographs via social media, and the encouraging responses shifted my journey.
The call of the wild
I had no intention of framing myself as a wildlife photographer, however, with that being most of the work I was producing, I understood why people might have pinned that label on me. Now, I believe the title I wear best is that of a nature and wildlife photographer. Because we don’t exist outside of our surroundings, you’ll find that my photographic subject can be as explorative as the moon and the beautiful landscapes of Botswana, or as intimate as capturing people connecting or the rich cultures that we have across the country.
Gifts that keep on giving
The most wonderful thing has been that while I started with a Canon 650D that came with a 55-250mm lens, I was able to learn the benefits and limitations that came with it. This didn’t stop me from wanting to know more. I was fortunate that the person to whom it rightly belonged was generous enough to let me hold it for two years and it became my travel companion. I have been to almost every national park in Botswana now, and this is something I want to do more of.
A blend of worlds
As an artist, I see my role as that of a storyteller. I have always wanted to be a travel writer and my imaginings of that were limited until I got into photography. Acquiring this new skill meant that I could not only package the experiences through words, but also capture the moments of inspiration behind them to build a full story. So, to show my commitment to this new vision, I put in the work and got my safari guide certification. With this license, I will be able to not only get more bush time for myself, but I can also take people along with me to share what I know about animal traits and behaviours.
A narrative retold
This journey has helped me to love and respect my name. Growing up, I was teased about the associations that Setswana has with phokoje (black backed jackal). This built to the point of me being ashamed to use my last name when introducing myself to people. However, as I learned more about this animal, the parallels of how industrious and witty it can be, became apparent to me on how I’ve managed to also be a survivor throughout my life. This built my pride and now it is one of the animals that I yearn to photograph so that I can also make this a family tradition.