Capturing the stories behind the faces she shoots is something that Cape Town based photographer Fundiswa Ntoyi is passionate about, which is why the majority of her portfolio is made up of beautifully intriguing portraits. Fundiswa says, “I love portraits, they tell stories without any use of words.” When shooting she is only happy with a portrait once she can connect with the image on a spiritual and emotional level, which is probably why her work is so captivating. We chat to her about her photography, her journey thus far and what’s next.
Tell us about your background and how you became interested in photography?
I was born, raised and lived in Bloemfontein until I decided to move to Cape Town last year November. I have a Degree in Communication Science but I have always loved photography. In high school I knew that I wanted to be a photographer, but I just didn’t have the guts to study it so I ended up doing marketing. Even before I got into photography I was always fascinated with other people’s photographs, always curious about how they managed to capture a specific image. I literally learned to take photos by looking at other people’s photography. Before I could even afford to buy a camera I was so obsessed with photography, all I did was google photographers. I then got a camera and started shooting.
Portraits make up the majority of your portfolio. Why is that?
It links to my art – I used to draw a lot in high school and most of my drawings were portraits. I used to draw portraits taken by other people but then I decided to capture them myself. I love portraits, they tell stories without any use of words.
What is it that you try to capture in each of the portraits you take?
I don’t try too hard when I take a portrait – when it’s the right one, I know. My heart tells me. I’m happy when I can relate to the portrait and see myself in it, on a spiritual and emotional level.
How has your style and aesthetic evolved since you first started taking photographs?
I am ever evolving, as every human being on earth. I am always trying to be better than my last shot.
Tell us about your other creative pursuits.
I enjoy sketching a lot and, yup you guessed it, I sketch portraits. This helps feed my photography because I get to challenge myself. It pushes me to take better photographs because when I’m sketching I’m sketching photographs taken by other people, therefore my next picture needs to be better than my last sketch.
What are some of the challenges and triumphs of being a young creative in South Africa?
Challenges are getting paid. It’s challenging to find a way to make money from your art, but we never give up. Other challenges would be getting your name out there and if it is out there you have to stay consistent and to do that one has to constantly produce. It’s always rewarding when people tell me my work inspires them. One of the highlights so far has to be being featured in a book called African Lense by Aaron Yeboh.
Which local creatives inspire you to keep producing excellent work?
Lazi Greiispaces Mathebula and many others.
What’s next for you?
Definitely an exhibition, which I am planning in my head. I have never worked on a full on photo series before and I have a couple of ideas that I have been jotting down. I also want to collaborate with other creatives. Johnson Maela, a great friend of mine, is a photographer and we will be working on a photo project together soon. Then I want to tell more compelling stories and I think I am getting there.
See more of Fundiswa Ntoyi’s work on Tumblr.