Vestine Kalisa, a shareholder and marketing manager of Navity in Black (NIB) photo studio says photography is a tool she chose to help people keep memories for a long time.
NIB Studio won Abryanz Style and Fashion Award (ASFA) 2016 and featured as BHF Magazine’s 2016 top five studios in Africa.
She shared her experience and what it is like to be behind the camera with Barbara Burabyo.
What was the motivation behind this choice of career?
Other than help people keep memories for a long time, my decision to join the photography field stemmed from the fact that some women still don’t consider photography as a ‘stable’ career, regardless of how crazy they are about taking selfies.
Whose work has influenced you most?
I am influenced by several works all over the world via all social media platforms but there are some photographers like Gregory Maxx and Daryna Barykina from the United States who inspire me greatly.
Among your works, which one is your favourite? Why?
I actually don’t have a specific favourite because each work has a unique story behind it which makes me love each piece of work I have ever done. However, if we are to consider my best photo, that will be the first photo I took of President Paul Kagame, because as they say, the best photographs express how you feel about what you’re photographing.
What is the one thing you wish you knew when you started taking photos?
I wish I knew the right equipment to invest in, because I took a high risk on investment that made me make losses.
What does photography mean to you?
Photography to me means capturing a memory in still and be able to tell a story behind the memory.
If you had the chance to interview a photographer that you admire, what questions would you ask?
I would ask them what they think about my work, the mistakes I’ve made and how I can correct them.
When did you know photography would be your career choice?
When I started uploading photos on social media that I took and I was getting positive responses. I was like why not make it a career rather than look for job employment.
What is the most challenging aspect in photography as a woman and how do you overcome it?
The challenge is when I get undermined by those who don’t know my work, ranging from fellow photographers to clients. I overcome that when I am credited for my work.
How did you become a photographer?
It was through passion first, later, I trained on how to become a professional photographer.
As one of the best photographers we have in Rwanda, how far do you wish your work to reach?
I wish my work can go global and speak to several people all around the world.
A part from a camera, what else should a photographer have?
There is a lot needed in terms of equipment but creativity is very important because in the event that you left equipment behind, with creativity, you can always come up with something great.
How is life behind the camera?
My life behind the camera is awesome because I get to capture that memory and make it live on for years to come.
What would you tell parents who would not like their children to take on photography as a career?
I would tell the parents that as long as the child has passion for it, they should support them. Many parents do not encourage their children to take photography seriously, even though they could be great at it. They just need support and training.
Parents should have an open mind and encourage their children’s passion for whatever it is they want to take on, alongside formal education of course. Photography in particular is a highly rewarding career.