The next generation of visual creatives who are not afraid to challenge convention
There is a new generation of photographers who are reimagining the local photography scene, bringing in bold concepts with their art and often challenging societal conventions with their edgy images. Meet “The Photographers”, a team of local photogs made up of Gonna Elvis Monngakgotla, Motheo Lucas Malgas and their assistant, Ashley Bareki who are making a buzz in creative circles due their masterfully executed and incisive images which have gained major popularity in Botswana’s online communities.
“The name was really just so random. Motheo and I started off by taking shots of our friends and later on they would be posted on Facebook and people would credit us but were often indecisive about exactly who to credit as the actual photographer. From there I suggested that we work on being a team and not try to pursue our individual endeavors,” said creative director, Monngakgotla.
Describing their photography as raw, unbounded and bold, The Photographers shoot exclusively with Canon gear, with a specific focus on choosing certain cameras depending on the project. They started off using an entry level Canon 1200D and later upgraded to the Canon 5D and 7D professional range. Thus far, The Photographers have carved a name for themselves in urban fashion photography, telling their clients’ stories with their signature drama and flare.
Although they work as a team, the two photographers believe in finding synergies between their distinct styles of photography. Monngakgotla personally loves and prefers natural portraits while Malgas is an urban photographer. “Now coming together and blending our preferences, our photography tends to depict our creativity. We come up with bold concepts for our photo shoots and often try something controversial,” they explained, adding that they chose this type of photography to challenge Batswana’s way of thinking by exposing them to a different way of seeing their world.
Behind the lens, The Photographers often take on subjects that spark conversations in a personal and engaging way. Their first acclaimed work was a series of photos in 2016 titled, ‘Basadi’, a tribute to the beauty of the Motswana woman.
“The theme was dashed with our traditional clothing, showing the beauty of the Motswana woman in touch with her roots and this peculiar concept is what gained us recognition from other countries,” Monngakgotla said.