Louis de Gonzague Kubwimana is one of the many talented photographers who have mastered the art of capturing moments, emotions, objects and people through unique pictures. Looking at his craft, there is something exceptional that leaves you in awe of his ability. Growing up, he saw the world as a beautiful place with countless stories worth narrating— not through words, but photos. Everything he looked at, he imagined taking a picture and forming a collection. Louis de Gonzague Kubwimana . He later embarked on self-learning journey; how to hold a camera, use it, control it, master the light, know the perspective, motion, depth, composition, among others, with the help of online tutorials. All this with dreams of being one of the world’s most known photographers. One thing Kubwimana learned is that he didn’t have to own the most expensive equipment to take beautiful images. Taking photos is more of a lifestyle to him now. He is skilled in portraits, landscape, and urban photography. It’s been a fun but challenging journey for him, he says. How he started The photographer says his father owned a film camera that he (Kubwimana) played with occasionally. Although he started photography professionally in 2019, his journey started in 2016 while in high school at Groupe Scolaire Officiel de Butare. By luck, he was given a smartphone as a gift, and his only focus was its camera. He took a number of photos that he edited, and it turned into a routine. He fell in love with what he created in motion. Shot by Ku Black photography. Being the head of entertainment at his school also opened doors of opportunities for him, as he rented an entry-level camera to take photos for some gatherings and events at school that classmates found fascinating. With time, his confidence, skills, and passion for visual arts were nurtured. On completing high school, Kubwimana decided that he wanted to be a professional photographer. With that goal in mind, he educated himself about photography through YouTube tutorials, with hopes of owning a camera someday. “I kept tutoring myself as much as I could. I then applied for a film production and photography course at Hebei Academy of Fine Art University in China, in 2019. I was accepted, surprisingly! Some of his work. “The incredible opportunity to study my passion abroad helped me reach greater audiences. I got to see how other photographers work and think. I ended up buying my own camera after gaining some skills,” he says. Unfortunately, he didn’t get the chance to attend any of the classes as Covid-19 struck China. And because of the pandemic, he was forced to return to Rwanda. It was time to put the camera he had to use. The youngster received a lot of positive support and feedback from peers and mentors as he began exploring the field of photography. Kubwimana gained his extensive understanding of the principles of photography through a variety of sources, fuelled by his unquenchable desire to constantly learn more and hone his skills. According to him, he has gained a lot of experience and created connections with incredible people, and nurtured many friendships. He has worked with Canon China on a video project on photography and storytelling, which is available on his YouTube channel, “Ku Black Photography”. He has also collaborated with various influential and well-respected people in Rwanda. Challenges The greatest challenge he encounters is permission for photographers to access some areas for shooting, a thing he says limits his aspiration to display the beauty of Rwanda. He is disheartened that people don’t apprehend the value of photography as they don’t know how much work goes into creating professional images. The photographer says that clients are sometimes unwilling to pay suitably for labour, like highly professional sessions that yield beautiful results. “This can be so frustrating, especially when people think that I will do the job for free,” he says. Future plans, passion Some of his future plans include working hard to create more content, and to broaden his audience for more widespread recognition. He believes that he can inspire more people around the world, and help them tell important stories through his work. What drives Kubwimana is his burning passion and love for photography as it gives him a reason to wake up every morning, excited about what he has to create. His energy comes from his passion and dedication to sharpen his craft every single day. It is what his life is for, he says. Some of the things that excite the young photographer is being able to bring his vision to reality, and have the confidence to take charge of the environment through his shoots, and create higher quality results. “Not being anxious about walking up to strangers and asking them if it is okay to take their photo, or asking about location availability, has allowed me to expand my social skills,” he says. Kubwimana adds that confidence in the quality of his work and the value that he brings has empowered him to demand respect from others, for the work he knows is of high quality. Achievements Being able to work with highly skilled and well-respected people whom he never thought he would has changed the way he views himself in the photography space. Some of the known people he has worked with include; Meddy Saleh (an East African music director), Alliance Irasubiza (Miss popularity 2020), Frank Axcel ( Rwandan professional photographer), Ingabire Gretta (poet), Albina Sydney (Miss Pop Elegancy 2016), and Lydia Dushimimana (Miss Heritage 2018) and local singers such as Kevin Kade, Bushali, Chriss Eazy and Michael Makembe, among others. According to him, social media is an important tool to establish meaningful connections with potential clients, saying he has lost count of the number of business deals sealed through social media links.