Gift Dick Banda‘s work leaves an impression. It is immediately visually striking, with texture and detail that is pulled together by the rich colour palettes present in all his images. Currently based in Durban, Gift alternates his life as a photographer with his studies in civil engineering.
Gift’s journey as a photographer started when he was still in high school in Hammarsdale, KZN. Young Gift always had an interest in music, fashion and art, and one of his biggest influences at the time was Street Etiquette, the blog by Joshua Kissi and Travis Gumbs. Gift and his friends would try and emulate their style and take photographs, which led to an interest in photography as a matter of necessity, in order to properly document their sartorial experiments.
Gift had also been experimenting with graphic design and was interested in different compositions and layouts, which inspired him to work on those visual concepts through photography. And, along with an entire generation of young creatives, Gift was inspired by Tumblr and the sheer amount of creative content available to him as inspiration and reference images.
From the original visual and aesthetic inspirations, Gift started turning to photography as a means of creative expression. Gift has always believed in creating, in conceptualising an idea and bringing it to life and, for him, photography is just the current form that creative expression is taking. Gift sites the process of creating as one of his top three inspirations, along with spirituality and music.
Gift believes in engaging with a concept for a while before attempting to bring it to life – even if the concept is something more abstract, like colour, rather than narrative. A big part of his work is tying together different elements. When photographing a subject, he will carefully consider what details and contexts to include in the shot so as to let the subjects express themselves as best as possible – often that means looking at plants and natural elements as opposed to buildings and more urban settings.