Pure and documentary Photography in South Africa!
Today I’m very pleased to introduce Lungile Zuma! I first saw Lungile’s work in November 2013 at a round table discussion about “Of soul and joy project in Thokoza” created by “Rubis Mecenat“, a french foundation whose objective is to promote youth through the photography.
Of Soul & Joy Project is a social and cultural project initiated in 2012 by Rubis Mécénat Cultural Fund and Easigas in South Africa in the remote Thokoza township in the south-east of Johannesburg. The initiative aims to be both a visual platform and a skills development programme for the students of Buhlebuzile Secondary School. The project includes workshops led by a coordinator and internationally renowned photographers and offers to the selected trainees the opportunity to receive a post-grad education in photography at the Market Photo Workshop in Johannesburg. Furthermore, it gives the budding photographers the opportunity to meet those involved in the art market and in artistic events.
You need to figure out that Thokoza is one of the townships around Johannesburg, a very poor area where people really struggle to live. At the time this project started, most of the chosen young people had no idea what a camera or photography were.
They were given a DSLR Nikon camera and some courses about how to use them and then they were free to take pictures of their environment, family, friends…
What I saw this day in Paris during the round table discussion was a proof that photography is nothing related to what you’ve learnt but only rely on your eyes and how you instinctively compose your pictures! I remember when I saw Lungile’s pictures, I could hardly believe that this guy was using a camera for the first time of his life! Results were stunning, awesome! And he did that with only his own instinct!
Of course Lungile received the top marks of this project and was offered to stutdy photography at the famous Market photo Workshop in Johannesburg.
I was pleased to meet Lungile for the first time at the Turbine Art Fair in Johannesburg in July 2014 and to see him again during my 4th stay in Souh Africa last July. I asked him at this occasion if he would accept to introduce here some of his last work and I was pleased that he accepts! He’s currently working on a project in the trains that link Johannesburg to the townships around. The picture here all are from this project and, once again, I do live his compositions and how he feels the scenes!
Definitely to me, Lungile is one of the best street photography I’ve ever met and his works far more better of what we’re used to see in Europe. Keep going my friend, I do believe in you! But don’t forget, only work matters!
Hi Lungile! I’m very pleased you accepted to answer to my questions! As a beginning, can you tell us about you. What’s your name, your age, where you live and what kind of photography you like to practice?
My Name is Lungile Zuma and I am 22 years of age. I was born and grew up in Thokoza. I am currently based in Durban at Umgababa (South-Coast,) Kwa-Zulu Natal in South Africa and I’m interested in Documentary photography.
How did you come to photography?
I started photography in high school while I was doing grade 12 in the year 2012, in a social documentary photography project sponsored by Easigas and Rubis Mercenat an french NGO.
What kind of gear do you use?
I am using a Nikon D3100 DSLR 18mm-55mm… (ed: the one he won at the “Of Joy and Soul of Thokoza)
Which is your favourite lens? And Why?
I would really want to use a 50mm fixed lenses. Because its the kind of lens that allows me to photograph intimately in the situation and close to my subject that I’ll be photographing. And technically it’s the one I prefer in terms of focus and its depth that it has.
How do you educate yourself to take better pictures?
I never leave my camera so I photograph everyday that’s the best practice ever.
Among your works, which one is your favourite? Why?
My favourite work is the Hostel project, simply because it was my first time in my whole entire life using a camera and I learned a lot of things in a short space of time, I learned being patient, understanding yourself and people with different personalities.
Consistency, being always ready and most of all communication that is the key no matter what your are doing in Documentary photography.
Exactly what it is you want to say with your photographs, and how do you actually get your photographs to do that?
My work says a whole lot more than what I would even try explaining what I mean by because I use photography to express what I can’t say or tell in any different forms besides photography.
What motivates you to continue taking pictures economically, politically, intellectually or emotionally?
I am motivated socially by what’s happening in the environment that I’m occupying at that space and time, and then it gets to a point that to me it triggers something emotionally in me as a photographer.
Thank you Lungile for your time. As me and many photographers it’s really difficult to talk about our practice of photography and that’s why we use the photography to express what we can’t explain with words! And that’s definitely why we prefer to handle a camera than being on the pictures 🙂
And don’t forget, if you wan to be showcased on my website, just send me an email with some of your pictures and I’ll contact you back. Don’t hesitate!