by Lebo Mashifane
Sunday, 15 May 2016 marked the 7th day of our PXP. The week felt very long and eventful to me, I was surprised that it has only been 7 days for so much to have happened. And it has been blast of laughter, dance, music, diverse art – heaven!
The entire week was well spent and an astounding weekend spent in Jozi; an arts workshop at the Constitutional Hill on Friday, an exhibition and a concert at Baseline on Saturday and an exhibition at JAG on Sunday. WOW!! This was really a mind-blowing and eventful
weekend. It was the “cherry on top of the cake” and “I had my cake and ate it…ALL”.
I feel that I’m still captured in the party spirit, I keep losing my breath when I think of the weekend. Hoooooo!!! There aren’t so much words to describe the feeling, the music, the lights, the colors, the people, the joy!
If I have to reflect throughout the week, there are 4 highlights that stood out for me;
Sitting at Tumi’s place for a Photo Experience workshop. Connecting with BLY members of my community and getting to know them better as we now share the common interest of photography through the PXP workshop. We sit in the classroom environment for the theoretical part for the 1st few days. These days are spent mostly with our facilitators talking and writing on the board. We learn how to use a camera and take notes in writing. The camera jargon of ISO, aperture, shutter speed, etc. was still a complex language to comprehend at this stage. Things got less hazy when we picked up the cameras and started
playing with these features while taking pictures and seeing the outcomes. We shot objects of different speeds and under different lighting conditions to grasp the correspondence of the jargon terms.
We practiced how to FRAME, FOCUS AND SHOOT moments, event by self-timer method to include ourselves in the moments.
Taking pictures around our community in Kwa-Thema
Walking together as a group or in pairs for safety and taking photographs of landmarks and our family members, etc. Dealing with the challenge of talking to people as we had to approach people that we want to shoot. We had to interview the people that we approach in order to get the 5W’s and 1H (What, Where, When, Who, Why and How) that will substantiate the images that we capture. The disappointments of people that refuse to talk to us or take photographs of them. The excitement of willing participants and the lessons or knowledge we acquired from the interviews we conducted with them. It brought more light to us about our surroundings, our community, the people that live in Kwa-Thema and so forth.
Taking pictures of ourselves
Turning the camera to ourselves has been an experience that outlines how we perceive ourselves. We took self-portraits in bushes, dressed in attires and or cloths that represent us differently, from ethnic groups, careers, sexual identities, etc. The experience was shooting in self-timer mode where frame our shot and we set the camera to take a picture 10 seconds after the shutter button has been pressed. The experience of running from behind the camera to in front of the shot, missing the shot, out of frame and out of focus pictures. And the victory of nailing the shot!
One of our facilitators advised us to place an object, a broom for instance, where we substitute ourselves in the shot so that it can be easier to find focus. They also taught us how to make our own camera stand from a beans and a pantyhose. Even the other facilitator didn’t know about that and she too learned from that experience.
“I didn’t know that one of the bean bag, that was something – very interesting”, says Lindeka Qampi. It’s a basic procedure of two bags of beans, each bag poured into each leg of stockings, then looks like balls –testicles – then covered to look like one beanbag. The bag becomes flexible in its proximities as to how broad or high your preference. If the bean bag is patted to be levelled, then one can achieve a well-framed shot. As Zanele showed us how to make and operate the camera mounted on the bean bag, “It is easy to move or pan your camera”. This cost effective yet very effective structure “it costs about R25 in total” Zanele continues “and you can use it to protect your camera by placing it at the bottom of your camera bag”.
Capture moments at art events
The weekend was the highlight of highlights. Being in Jozi where the hype is heated to maximum! It was even lovely to have met new people and also see familiar faces, friends and family (through art) after a very long time. Seeing them for old times’ sake was heart-warming and spark a glow of beautiful energy.
The exhibition experience made me feel aesthetic about thinking of exhibiting our photographs. We would like to exhibit at Duduza Rank, a very busy space. It has never been done before and that’s what makes me find it most exciting.
We realized how much work we have to do in Kwa-Thema in terms of capturing the history and continue making history to gradually passing the baton to those that will come after us.
Rich in history and more interesting people and stories.
I conclude by saying that the title is really accurate, PhotoXP (Experience), because throughout the workshop it has been a series of experiences. Even after the workshop, holding the camera is going to be an eternal experience of events, emotions, shots, results, etc.
M’shito o tswela pele!