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Zee Fashionista: The Philosophy of Photography #1


The Philosophy of Photography #1

Thato Koketso Mohuba, 22, describes himself as an experienced photographer, an aspiring director, and an AFDA student studying a Bachelor of Motion Picture. He photographs art, he photographs fashion, he photographs food, he photographs Galxboy and and and - all with his own unique artistic, and personal touch. His work will be showcased at what promises to be an incredible exhibiton on the 17th of June in Newtown, Johannesburg.

This is the philosophy behind his photography:

Zee Fashionista: How would you describe yourself in a paragraph?

Thato Mohuba: An oxymoron of some kind. My ex is probably the only person who could ever say they got to know me proper - I'm only Giving credit where it's due. I just think I'm crazy but I'm going to bring down my guard and tryand answer the question. I'd say I'm rather sentimental and I find philosophical justification for even the smallest things. I take pride in understanding things the average human can't quite comprehend because to an extent or another, I'm quite smart. However not many will experience my intellect because I talk far less than in my earlier years.

ZF: Where did you grow up and how would describe how you were as a youth?

TM: I was born in the East Rand, Ekhuruleni, and I grew up in Pretoria. I lived the maturing stages of my life in Potchefstroom. I truly prefer saying - "Brewed in Ekhuruleni, Matured in Pretoria, Bottled in Potchefstroom" - it sounds a whole lot cooler and organised. Overall, my family and I have been through 13 houses, and 4 cities since I was born. By that I mean, I alone attended 3 pre-schools, 4 primaries and 1 high school. That, along with my gift of being a chatterbox with an awesome memory, means I've collected and kept a large number of friends to the present day. I don't believe that moving means disconnection because anything genuine and real last forever.

ZF: Is there something about yourself that people might not readily know?
TM: I'm shy.

ZF: Where did your journey into photography start?

TM: My journey started from the years 2006/7 when I was introduced to the amazing world of photoshop. It wasn't the idea of taking photos that fascinated me at the time, it was more about touch-ups and manipulation - creating and adding things that didn't exist in the originals. After reaching a staggering 200 Facebook profile picture edits in the year 2010 alone, I felt I had done enough editing and people needed to take responsibility over capturing good photos or at least have me take them. Then I bought my camera, a Christmas present unto self, December 24th, 2011.

ZF: Do you think you have a specific style of photography? If so, how would you describe

TM: I like believing it's fashion/portrait photography but the more I shoot and get into it, it seems far more abstract and unconventional. I shoot for one photo more than I do for a full photo set. Quality vs Quantity. I get rather irritated when I start shooting more than I want to after I've shot my desired frame. At one of my exhibition shoots, which I believe you'll see soon, I did a 300 picture set; I found my masterpiece and deleted the remaining 299. That's what I mean. Lol.

ZF: I know you lived in Spain for a while. Has that influenced your photography?

TM: Funny you ask because we wouldn't be having this conversation had I not gone there. It's [Spain] probably the biggest contributor to how I see things in the world and where I want to be. By biggest contributor I mean, it's what brought me back to South Africa. An important man told me, whilst in Spain, that it's always easier to see inside the box when you are out the box. That was the most poetic revelation of our country and where I had to be - here to be a part of the rising art industry. Europe is beautiful. But if Africa rises above the bar, then why shoot Europe?

ZF: What is it exactly that you like to shoot? Is there any particular reason for this?

TM: People, yeah. People have character and so many stories to tell. It's said that everyone is normal until you get to know them - a photo does that. It's far more profound because apart from stories, it is the last proof of your existence.

ZF: Perhaps I'm pre-empting your answer to the previous question, but I see that women
figure prominently in your work. What is it about them? Is there a specific type of woman
that you like to photograph?

TM: Six days before my return from Spain, we shot a French girl, Emiline. We dressed her in African couture, a beautiful Xhosa hat - is'qholo - and all the jewellery. She was styled by a friend of mine from Nigeria - I felt complete. My first tattoo was of the African continent, however irrelevant it may seem to the question, these things remind me of how much of an Africanist I am. I take so much pride in this continent, it's beauty, art and culture. The women of this continent , more especially the modernised African woman of South Africa, has become rather too western-cultured and conservative about their beauty as Africans. Everytime I dream of my next shoot, I imagine Swati/Venda/Sotho/Xhosa fashion mixed with whatever to create the perfect portrait of Africanism. No lies, shooting nudes is a current favorite - because you can't judge a nude, you can't put character to it, you can only try create a story. I love women and Africa.

ZF: Do you have any interesting stories with what took place between you and a model/subject?

TM: *laughs* I'm not sure what you mean by that but for one, weeks after I met my good friend and model Shaida, we ventured out to Pretoria (PTA) North with my lights, generator, and impala horns (my composition prop for that shoot) and took on what seemed like someone's farm. Bearing in mind that PTA Borth still has old fashioned boers living in the area, we shot for 45 minutes or so under the impression that at any moment, in her nudity, we could have had to ditch flying bullets for trespassing. Lol.

ZF: You have quite a presence, or let me say, you frequently use Instagram? Are you using it to get your work out there, or is it more about you, the person and your interests etc?

TM: I do? When I first heard of the app, I didn't quite get the real story behind the phenomena. I grew so much resentment for it, like hardcore hate. For the first time, WE "real photoshop" artists were being given a run for our money by amateurs whose lives were made easy by a number of filters that made things far cooler in a few seconds and I hated how 'Igers' then called themselves Photographers. After two years of me having signed up, I then became an active user. Its photoshop on the move. Well, what I'm doing on it? I'm khothing.

Thato Mohuba's first photo exhibition, with 6 other photographers, will take place in Newtown, Johannesburg, on the 17th of June 2013. The day will consist of short film screenings, band music, street skating, live graffiti Tagging and a braai & drinks session.  R30 will gets you in and drinks will be sold, whilst complimentary ones will be served on entry.

Follow Thato on Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr and Facebook

(Photo credit: Thato Mohuba, photos 1 and 2 screen grabs from Thato Mohuba's Flikr

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