Photographer Maisha Mamabolo is inspired by all of the unplanned moments that life has to offer. By capturing the finer details that people often miss, he is able to create images that really draw viewers in.
As a creator, Maisha believes that it’s important to keep trying new things, even if people don’t really understand it, and to never stop learning.
Maisha recently spoke to Between 10and5 about his journey as a photographer and how he selects the subjects for his shoots.
What sparked your interest in photography?
I was always that kid who continued to draw when other kids were allowed to run to the jungle gym. I suppose something about capturing moments always caught my interest. Whenever my dad left his Petri MF 101A unattended I went on a shooting spree. The photos came out horrible and I broke the camera, but it was such an enlightening experience to see what I had developed that I just never stopped. From then on, I always wanted to show people weird and wonderful things through my eyes.
Did you have a mentor or receive any formal training?
Nope. I don’t think I’m alone when I say that there’s a lack of mentors within the creative space. However, that’s given a lot of South African creators the room to pick up whatever tools and tutorials they can find and begin learning if they have a passion for it. Passion means so much because it pushes you. It’ll make you want to bend the rules even with formal training, and it’s always the stuff on the fringe that catches people’s eyes.
What gear are you currently using?
A Canon 1100D with a 50mm lens.
Is there any specific criteria that you use to select the subjects for your photos?
I think it’s so important for people to be attentive. I think through that first experience with a camera I understood how important it is to always be aware of your surroundings, so by default I started focusing on illustrating people and things in moments and motions that would have otherwise been overlooked, or are just difficult to see in detail. It might be a wonderful laugh, an epic performance, an awkward but delightful gesture or a moody atmosphere.
What has been one of your most memorable shoots to date?
So many, so little time. First of all I’m A-type, so I love to plan everything and love detail. I recently went to Mushroom Park on a whim to do a shoot with my girlfriend. It was just supposed to be a fun day out, but she asked me to take a snap of her jumping off of one of the rocks. I mistakenly turned up the exposure a bit too high and even I was impressed with how a whole day of the unexpected could reward me so much.
What would you consider a dream assignment?
Working with Cercle would be a dream assignment. They basically document live music performances in wonderful and unusual spaces around the world. I would love to be a part of that production and take some snaps. It would be the perfect hour of music meshed with amazing landscapes meshed with people enjoying their craft.