Strength in collaboration!

There are now one million photographers in Botswana. How do you stand out?


The second installment of Keeping Youth Busy initiative by former radio personality Drew Chadhall targeted Botswana’s growing number of photographers with a one day workshop, hosted at the National Museum in Gaborone. Powered by Native Events and Orange Cellular, the workshop featured the crème de la crème of the local photography industry and other key industry panelists who all agreed that the greatest strength in any creative industry is collaboration and not competition.
Photojournalist and founder of Press Photo, Monirul Bhuiyan admitted that doing photography in Botswana was expensive and the industry had changed drastically from what it used to be 20 years ago. There are now millions of photographers in the world and one needs to carve out their own space. He advised upcoming photographers to allow themselves to be driven by passion and hard work as it will take them somewhere professionally.
“Your picture should be content driven and add value to the development of the country or society. You should know you are serving a purpose. I know it is not an easy option but you should also put high importance in institutional learning. Then if you become good at what you do you will survive,” he said.
Kabo Olesitse, owner of KO Photography shared that it was important to find what works for you as a photographer. When he started out, he worked with established photographers he found in the field, grew from their lessons and started his own craft. “You see, working together and doing what works for you is the key. As a photographer explore other areas to create new content. Travel outside Gaborone, group yourself together to create an image bank for example. Find solutions to problems,” he advised.
Operations and Strategy Director of Media Republic, Mbakiso Magwape added that as a photographer you are only as good as your last job and creativity is not all about the camera as there are more aspects to consider such as the composition and framing among others.
For his part, commercial Photographer Igor Barandovski of Image Lounge explained that the profession is not as rosy as it may seem as it takes a lot of hard work to crack through. “Instagram for example is a misrepresentation of our field.It’s a grueling job with no guarantee that you will make money from it. But why do we do it? For the drive to see and explore, the passion that burns within. It’s a calling, an urge and it should be a career you see yourself in,” he said.
Keep The Youth Busy workshops are Chadhall’s initiative to contribute towards development of local creative talent. The photography workshop was the second installment of the series which was preceded by a dance and theater workshop in January.
“We will be hosting workshops bi-monthly. The next one focuses on the business of fashion. We want to inspire young people by showing them that they can make a living out of their passion,” Chadhall told Time Out.