This month, famed photographer Cedric Nzaka will publish his long-awaited coffee table book Everyday People Stories – a 120-page library of images captured throughout Nzaka’s career. The book showcases Nzaka’s ability to heighten his subjects’ natural state, as well as documenting his journey as he explores ways to document something new by drawing inspiration from the world’s complexities.
Born in Kenya, Nzaka started his career with little to no equipment, but had a vision to document African people in a way that’s never been done before. Fast forward 10 years and he has become one of the most sought after photographers in South Africa, capturing a diverse selection of local and international celebrities like Davido, Rick Ross and Zozibini Tunzi, as well as spending time on his passion project, which has resulted in this book. Nzaka shares more about the book and his career in an interview with 10and5.
Tell us about the first time you picked up a camera; were you always drawn to photography?
Pretty much going back to when I was a kid, I remember the first time I got a hold of a camera was during a family function, my mother had a wide selection of cyber-shot and point and shoot cameras. I always wanted to be the family photographer.
While finding your feet as a photographer, your main vision was to document Africans in a new way. How did you go about doing this?
I tend to think that it’s very self-explanatory, it’s all about inclusion, and with inclusion, I want people to think that they’re spending time with the subjects, no captions needed. You could always place yourself in that moment when the photograph was captured.
A decade has gone by since you entered the industry, with this new decade being welcomed by your very own coffee table book. Can you tell us about the book and the process behind putting it together?
Throughout the decade I always wanted to make impactful photographs that will make people stop. In the time I wanted to blur the lines between fine art and photo journalism, where you can have an informative image and one that aligns itself with the journalistic world. Also, one that you can hang up in a gallery and that stands on its own two feet, without a caption, that could be artistic as well as informative.
Talk us through where you draw inspiration from, the themes you explore and why these are important for you?
I draw inspiration from Everyday People in their everyday places with their everyday stories being told.
What do you love about photographing people?
Heightening my subjects’ natural states and not camouflaging it, Everyday people are in fact works of art, portraits to the soul, written in flesh and played out only once. The works of an eye sculpture.
How have you grown as an artist over the past 10 years?
I believe I have and that you can see that growth in my work and the book offering.
Fast forward another decade, where do you imagine yourself – both in terms of your photography, and in life in general?
To no longer be behind the camera, a director of photography, owner of a studio. The main aim is to give opportunities to younger kids, make sure everyone coming up in the photography and videography industry has more opportunities than I did.
Follow @everydaypeoplestories on Instagram.