By Miranda Samaneka
My name Tinotenda Chimuka has become more than just my name but how people identify with my art. I am a 20-year-old photographer based in both Harare and Mutare. I live in Harare and learn in Mutare that is how I am based in two locations where my heart is caught in-between what l would call a ‘city love affair’. I often find myself having to work between the two cities. I specialize in outdoor portrait and street photography although I would call myself a generalist as I also shoot other forms of photography.
My photography journey started in high school around form 4 (2016). Looking back, l believe l stumbled into photograph intentionally. I have always had an artistic knack that has been growing. l used to attend a number of art exhibitions and l even volunteered for the Harare International Festival of Arts. At that time the only link between photography and l was close to the thousand pictures l took with my phone, in these small beginnings, my passion grew.
I began to learn more about photography at church. I would use the church camera to take a few pictures under the wing of other photographers and instantly fell in love with learning. From all this l became acquainted with the technical stuff about using a camera, however, most of the time when I was alone I would just use my phone, a point and the shoot camera we had at home. During this period I learnt a lot about composition and how to creatively take pictures. My introverted nature feeds a lot into the process of my work. I travel into different worlds with each story l shoot. Pictures to me really do symbolize a thousand words. A lot of people believe taking good pictures is based on the camera you are using but I beg to differ. I only got a camera late 2018 and at that point it did not take a long time to get used to using one, for me, passion goes beyond any means. This is how l started working on developing a style of photography that is unique.
Portraits through the eye of my lens are dressed up and ready to tell stories that speak volumes creatively, I take outdoor portraits with a glimpse of nature whether it be a maize field, sunflowers, wheat or even grass to evoke colourful emotions with each pixel. I also take urban street portraits which means I have my subjects in the city, using elements in the CBD as my backgrounds such as walls, alleys, graphite etc and l marry them into one.
Personally, I feel like there are a lot of intriguing backgrounds in the city, it has inspired my street photography work. With my photography l strive to take pictures when people have candid poses and look natural in their portraits. Getting someone to be natural can often be the hardest part of taking portraits but before anything else l am a storyteller and a person’s story is most truthful when their emotions come to dance with the camera untainted. I often ask them to invite a friend or play music on a speaker for them to feel comfortable in front of the camera and this way we both become more creative as I am also a music lover and l draw inspiration from it.
I have always felt that people miss a lot of interesting details in their everyday lives and that is what ultimately inspires me to do street photography. I see a lot of details that most people see every day and don’t think too deeply about, however, those details are often captivating more than we realize. We just need a picture to freeze the motion and we get an epiphany moment. That is the reaction I am looking for when people see my photography. I want to tell a story of other Zimbabweans, the shoemaker on the street, the street kids, the old lady we see every day, they all have captivating stories and I believe the whole world needs to see it. The world is ready for it.
You can follow me on my Instagram @Tino_chimuka https://www.instagram.com/tino_chimuka/?hl=en and on Facebook @tinochimukaphotography https://www.facebook.com/TinoChimukaPhotography/