Men in photography interview
What made you go into photography?
Well in the realm of the world where politics, freedom of speech and religion is the cultural anomaly, photography allows me to escape the noise of quarrelling politicians and world atrocities. Photography allows me to express myself. I can depict many things through photography and it sort of brings a calm inside me which is what initially made me go into it. In addition, the aid of my good friends Ben Irwin and Ivor Moyo prompted me into photography as well. Ben taught me a few basic skills such as editing Pictures to a professional level through Adobe lightroom. I’d started shooting landscapes and architecture then progressed onto portraits as I felt that these told more of a story.
Ivor on the other hand pushed me to think outside the box, which prompted the start of my business “KunguShots”
What age did you know this career was for you?
I knew at the age of 24. Growing up I’d always been creative. For example I’d started producing samples of music and taught myself how to play the guitar, drums and bass in my spare time. I was also part of a band in high school as a drummer so I have always been creative. Photography allows me to express myself in ways that words can’t describe. As a form of artistic expression, photography for me tells a story. The implications of producing provocative, exciting, crude or even bad photography (bad in the wider sense) in the eyes of some may either tell a happy, strange or sad story that’s the power of photography hence why it is my career.
What inspired you to name your brand Kungushots?
The inspiration behind my brand name stems from my nickname in high school “Kungu” extracted from my last name “Makungu.” Ben Irwin (my good friend) added the element of “Shots” creating “kungushots” and it was almost like an epiphany and we came to the realisation that this worked perfectly.
Did any photographers inspire you and if so which photographer influenced you and how did they influence your career path?
One of my biggest inspirations in photography is Kat Irlin (@Kat_in_nyc) her work is truly powerful and what I love the most about her work is the dark cinematic feel. I came across her work in early 2017 and from that moment I knew how this was my career path.
Exactly what it is you want to say with your photographs and how do you actually get your photographs to do that?
I tell stories through my photographs. The first thing I normally do before a photoshoot is getting to know the model. Once a model has shared stories about their lives, I apply that to my work. This is a skill I picked up in June 2017. This is another reason I wanted to focus all my energy into portraiture, people are very interesting.
What was your career path? How did you get from being an aspiring photographer to actually doing it full time, for a living?
Before photography, my main career path was to work in advertising. I studied marketing at university, so back then this was my main goal. I mean, it has taken me almost two years to get to the stage I am now and it came with a lot of challenges which I was able to overcome and get to the point which I am at now.
What technology/software/camera gear do you use to keep focused on what you do best, as you photograph?
I shoot with the Canon 5d Mark II with the 50mm 1.4 sigma lens. I love to challenge myself, instead of owning 5-10 other lenses, I’ve decided to stick with the 50mm. By using just one lens, this helps push my creative limits. Once I have mastered the 50mm lens, I will move onto the next lens. I edit all my photographs on Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop. Most of my work are captured with just natural lights, I don’t use any other camera gears.
What motivates you to continue taking pictures economically, politically, intellectually or emotionally?
I would say that the emotional side of photography is what I show the most in my works. I love to create whether it be a collaboration with a brand or model, I am able to bring out the mood/emotion in that specific picture even if it’s a portrait or simply a picture of an object. Being able to see my vision come alive motivates me to continue taking pictures. I could be having a bad day but as soon as I pick up my camera and start shooting, it’s almost as if a weight has been lifted off my shoulders and I am in my own little world where I can express myself through photography.
What advice would you have for young men who are trying to get involved in the photography industry?
The best advice I have for those starting out photography is to start off with a decent cheap camera, learn how that camera works. Once your skills have improved, move onto the next camera. Do not waste money on photography courses, no one can teach you how to become a great photographer in a short period of time, you must put in the work.
As bob Marley said “the greatness of a man is not in how much wealth he acquires, but in his integrity and his ability to affect those around him positively.” If you literally live by this quote, your greatness will shine through your art, that being photography.
Do you ever take time out to relax and rest and if so what are the things you like to do in your free time?
I do take time off to relax, don’t we all? Sometimes it’s important to take a breather and just look back on how far you’ve come and enjoy life. In my spare time I go to the gym, meet friends, go for food. You know, your average normal everyday things. However, it’s also important to carry on seeing the vision that you want to create with your work even on your off days. I do have off days but I will refer to them as “creative days” too because creativity is something that I just do subconsciously sometimes. I could look at an object and think ” I could do something with that” it just comes naturally you know? Like breathing, it’s almost engraved into my everyday life.
Who would you like to work with in the fashion and entertainment industry if you had a chance to?
I’d love to work with an array of stars such the Weeknd, Chadwick Boseman, Mette Towley, Lupita Nyong’o, Jeana Turner, Vendela Lindblom and many more. I’m always looking for ways to develop my work and work with stars in the entertainment and fashion industry and I believe that getting my work out there and continuing to create will be pivotal to my development as a photographer thus allowing me the opportunity to work with people in those industries.
As a business owner, what are your top three priorities? And Do you set high expectations or tolerate mediocrity?
My top 3 priorities are firstly always remaining professional and making sure that clients are comfortable. Secondly, always setting goals and looking for new ways to evolve, I’m a perfectionist and my work must reflect that, but if there are ways I can improve I’m open to doing so. Thirdly and finally, I think that being consistent is a priority as well, keeping a consistent work flow allows for a better service.
In relation to mediocracy, my answer is simple, mediocracy has no space in photography for me personally.