YOUNG PHOTOGRAPHER TURNS TALENT INTO OPPORTUNITY
*Caption: Afika Dlamini carrying his cameras and always ready to capture moments.
Written by: Thabile Shange
Durban University of Technology’s (DUT) very own second year photography student is surely making his mark in the photography scene, along with other well-know local photographers.
22-year-old Afika Nsikelelo Dlamini from Umzimkhulu started his photography company, Black Bru Photography in 2015, and for a recently established company, it is sure doing well. It has received publications from Ilanga newspaper and Taxi Indaba. The company does all kinds of style in photography – from small and big events to photographs of fashion, food, sport, still life, social documentary and photojournalism. Dlamini is the man for the job.
His love for the camera speaks through his pictures. Journalismiziko had a peak at his recent pictures posted on his Facebook page, and was mesmerized by the quality of professionalism displayed in each of his photographs. We also noticed that he preferred to focus on the subject’s facial expressions, which brings out the mood of the photographs.
He recalls the first time he fell in love with photography. When he was six years old, his mother bought a camera which was used for events and to shoot photographs of his family. As time went by he started playing around with the camera just to understand it, and ended up learning the basics of it and started taking some photographs. It was then that he told himself that he wanted to pursue photography as a career. After matric he was accepted to study photography at DUT.
Growing up in a rural atmosphere made Dlamini a much reserved person, but dreaming big, being ambitious and being humble was always part of him.
“I knew that I had to be something big in life, to be respected, famous and wealthy,” said Dlamini.
He looks up to photographers such as Annie Leibovitz, Jurgen Schadeberg, Ansel Adams, Santu Mofokeng and Sam Nzima. He is inspired by their work in terms of their style, which has influenced him in terms of composition, framing, and rules of thirds.
Dlamini’s best friend, Sfiso Madlala is someone who can vouch for the photographer’s work and personality.
“He is a good friend and is very ambitious and a well-spoken person. He is very conscious of the energy he gives out and connects with it, he has a good soul and is not driven by ego,” said Madlala.
When asked what he thinks about his friend’s achievements as a young black South African, Sfiso says that he is very proud of his friend, as he is a motivation to his peers and looking at a student his age, it makes one think that the youth has a lot of potential to creativity and whenever there is a chance the opportunity must be taken.
Like any other photographer, he has faced some challenges in his journey. When he established his company, he had come across the disapproval of his business registration.
“At first it was a broad process so I kept trying until it was approved,” added Dlamini.
Another challenge which he encountered was the issue of funds. He did not receive any funding from anyone so he sometimes had to cover his loses and expenses.
The young photographer stresses that his family is his support structure.
“They guide me through dark tunnels and rejoice with me on happy days, especially my mother; I’m doing all I can to thank her for everything she has done for me. I know whatever I do will never be enough for what she has done for me,” he proudly said.
According to the young photographer, passion, dedication, professionalism, and hard work are a recipe for a successful photographer.
Asked about his future plans for Black Bru Pictures, he hopes for more growth and productivity. He plans to build a good client base with his clients and in the next five years it should be accessible in three South African cities Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town. He also hopes to get more investors to invest in his business.
He also hopes to include the youth in his prosperity.
“I also want to do my best to offer job opportunities to the youth as well as develop their skills,” concluded Dlamini.