Rofhiwa Kutama AKA “ROF” is a Limpopo-born photographer currently based in Johannesburg. He uses photography as his main form of expression, however, he also dabbles in other visual arts such as painting and fashion design. I had the opportunity to ask him five questions about his photography, shy as I am, Rofhiwa made it easy for me to talk to him giving me a glimpse of how easy and comfortable it must be to get under his lens. This is how the interview went…….
What are some of your influencers growing and how do they influence your photography today?
My influences growing up were mainly sports and a lot of alternative stuff. Really just the weird stuff like weird music, alternative music, alternative art and alternative cartoons. That is what I would say influenced me, I wasn’t really exposed to a lot of art growing up and I would say the influencers from when I was a kid have influenced my art in a way that has allowed me to be expressive with no boundaries and do whatever I imagine.
At what point in your life did realise that photography was the right path for you?
I realised that it was the right path for me in 2021 when I was still in Cape Town and started shooting a lot more artirst, a lot more people and different concepts. I realised that a lot of people liked what I was doing and I also liked what I was doing especially when I started getting jobs and bookings. Just from that, I was able to see that maybe this thing is really really for me and just like the slow progressive accomplishments I have been getting for myself.
What equipment do you use and what are pre-and post-production procedures?
I use a Canon RP paired with a 35mm lens and my pre-production process would be ideation and conceptualizing with whoever I am working with and drawing inspiration from different things depending on the brief and depending on the outcome I would like to get. With my post-production, it’s just a matter of me looking at what I have done referring back to my mood board or the inspiration or the ideation process in order to make sure that the end results align with that. Once I look at the brief I then immerse myself into the work and start the post-production process without thinking too much about what I want the end to look like until I get to the point where I can say I’m done, if there is anything that needs to be tweaked I will tweak it according to the brief.
Your photography focuses a lot on people is that your preferred theme in your photography and do you think you will ever change the subject?
I would say that is my preferred theme because I am now easily able to relate to my subject because most of the subjects that I use are people that I have personal relationships with and obviously going into the future I would like to explore different subjects and different things in the photography space. What I am trying to say is that I am not really limiting myself to just shooting people for now I am keen to shoot other subjects.
Is there a particular project or series that has been most special to you thus far?
I would say my most proud project would be the incongruous work that I did from the Incongruos series the first piece with the enlarged mouth, eye and ear, from a series that I did two years ago called my crown, my hair. I liked that project particularly because I relate so much to the hair situation since it’s something that I have always had to fight for. The freedom I have always had to fight for growing up in schools where being a black kid you were limited to what kind of hairstyles you could have. So that project was really special to me and something that I felt like I had to kill it because it was such a very personal project that touched me.