Benny Ishema, 21, is the brains behind ‘The Art’, an entertainment and recreation company located in Nyarugenge. He recalls connecting with the camera and taking chance of the festive season in town to take photos of passers-by after convincing them that he was talented, and requesting them to pay only if they loved the photos. This was in 2018. “It was during one of those school holidays that I just wanted to do something fun. I knew people loved taking pictures with Christmas trees, lights and decorations during Christmas, so I decided to be the camera guy. Every person whose photos I took, I asked them to share their emails, I hurriedly edited and sent the photos to them. I charged one photo for Rwf500. Some people didn’t see any reason to pay an amateur. But now, all this is behind me. One day I want to be one of the most famous photographers in Rwanda, my dream is still valid,” he says. The youngster says that he had borrowed his cousin’s camera but was excited at how some people actually adored his talent, it’s then that he had no doubt that he would start his one company. He notes that starting his company aimed at entertaining people yet assisting them to keep their memories. Which is why the services he offers are photography, film production, and animations. Ishema’s love for photography dates way back, while in primary school, where his mother worked in a photo studio, which he says, since it was near his school, he frequented her workplace. Just seeing how her mother was passionate about taking pictures, and editing them to the client’s satisfaction, Ishema just fell in love with photography. He stresses that on joining secondary school, he met a pencil artist, known as Samuel who owned a camera that he shot most of the events at school, a thing that impelled Ishema to befriend him. “ We became friends and he rented me his camera on several occasions, but he always heartened me to take photos as a professional, that statement still lingers in my mind. He didn’t want me to just try or be good, but to be excellent at it,” he says. With time, the professional photographer notes that he needed to learn both photography and videography skills like a pro thus partaking in some YouTube tutorials. Ishema explains that he started doing photography as a profession in 2019, when one of his friends requested him to be the camera person behind ‘Nkunda Gospel Rwanda’, and ever since then, he never looked back. He further notes that photography changed his life and refers to the profession as the key that opened doors of opportunities and connections for him. The youngster highlights that he has got a chance to work at events like Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), Rwanda Gospel Star , The African Choral and Gospel Championship, UKB Learning Event, to mention but a few. He also notes that he has also collaborated with other international photographers. Some of his challenges were a setback as the Covid-19 pandemic slowed his work and even resulted in losing some clients. Additionally, he is somehow disappointed by how some clients don’t value his work by paying him peanuts, not knowing how much effort and creativity he puts in the job to have amazing outcomes. He also notes that earning clients’ trust in the start was hard, as most of them give business to renowned photographers, which has left many talented young people disappointed and throwing in the towel. “Those that keep pushing, but not giving up, are the ones that eventually earn from this job,” he states. Ishema anticipates starting a special project known as, “One Day” where clients can get services delivered to them in just one day. He believes that there is joy in attending a function and just walking away with your pictures. He says this is an idea he acquired after losing a client who needed express photos for their event. He therefore can’t risk losing more customers. When asked what drives him, his response is, creativity, trustworthiness, uniqueness, and eagerness to learn. Looking back, Ishema is sure that it was persistence and discipline that pushed him this far, and that fact that he looked at getting better rather than being obsessed with earning money, in the start. He says that he is happy seeing that he worked for free from the start, and transitioned from street photography, to commercial photography, and photojournalism. According to him, getting paid for what he loves doing is what keeps him going, and that receiving a clients' compliment or positive feedback, is what makes him go to bed a happy person.