In the social world almost everyone wants to be a photographer today. It is fun, and honestly most people would say it's easy, especially if you put passion and commitment to it.
You may want to be a musician but you can't pick up a mic and instantly start recording or singing but anyone can pick up a camera and start snapping away. If someone wants to learn how to take better pictures there are endless resources available online.
Being a photographer has become a popular ambition among the rising middle class in the country due to the salaries it can often command, the spending power available to those pursuing such a profession and the popular demand that comes with it as a result of social networks.
It’s now more than just a hobby rather a profession that has become a breadwinner and has successfully driven a spirit of self-employment to most young men and women in Tanzania.
In an interview with some of the most prominent photographers in Dar es Salaam today, it emerged that most of their big earnings are around the concept of love.
“Couples are ready to spend lumps of money that is from pregnancy photography, pre-wedding photo-shoots, bridal showers, send-offs and wedding ceremonies. You can’t blame them as these are memories that happen once in a lifetime and more if you're lucky,” says Fahad Fuad - a young self-employed photographer.
“I do travel, corporate portraits, event photography, but I can’t ignore the fact that as seasonal as weddings are an average wedding could pay me between Sh2 and 3 million,” says Fahad Fuad.
Mohammed Allarqya, popularly known as Raqey, one of the very first and few East Africans to venture into professional photography says as a pioneer, today, he is the executive director of i-view studios -- a fully-fledged 360 degrees integrated communication agency based in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Offering a range of conceivable products including photography, advertising, videography, printing, media buying, model casting, marketing and radio presentation.
The cornerstone of his photography career was a borrowed customer’s camera, which was brought in for repairs at his father’s workshop.
Raqey has been a mentor and an inspiration to most of the amazing photographers we see today. The question is, who mentored and inspired him?
“I have been part of the transition from traditional to modern day photography. I totally agree that a lot has changed in this industry. It started as a hobby since childhood, as I grew up my inspiration for pursuing photography as a career was drawn from Mwanzo Milinga.
“Back in the days, before the introduction of digital photography, I worked in a photo lab. I had an opportunity to print Mwanzo’s work. The art behind his pictures, the way he captured moments, his feel on journalistic images is what inspired me. I loved working on his images.
“Mwanzo saw something in me and believed that I could do more than printing. He (Mwanzo) was wind to my bush fire. I took a further step to learning photography -- “photojournalism” -- to be precise. And here I am today, a professional!” he says.
When asked what could he change about the industry today this is what he had to say;
“I would bring back film cameras. Image development is a process, today most people can’t distinguish photography from taking pictures… photography is more than appearance of images on LCD screens). To be a photographer one needs to learn the camera basics.”
The whole idea of bringing back film cameras is to make this new generation work, with a film camera one takes a picture concentrating on the end product, with correct lighting and good composition making the best out of the shot. In films there is no Photoshop nor delete option, you only have one chance with the shot.
Am not against digital cameras, I am a Nikonian by birth. I just wish people made an extra effort beyond clicking a snap!”
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