The Future of African Photography – With Naledi Maebela
Africa is the Future!
If this statement is going to be a certainty, then Africans both home and abroad are going to have to back it up with futuristic thoughts, ideas, and the needed skills required to usher us into the unforeseen future.
Concepts and ideas have always been world-changing instruments. Many have staked on the claim that Afro-futurism will be one of the most fundamental concepts that will make Africa a leader on the world stage. Among all the various types of photography, Conceptual photography is the most fascinating. Not to be confused with Abstract photography, Conceptual photography is all about illustrating an imaginary idea through the medium of photography. Its starts with the photographer’s mind, which then takes a great deal of focus and dexterity to present the needed elements in the photograph with great detailing and precision. A well-curated conceptual photograph can do more than leave you in stark awe, it can educate and empower the mind of an onlooker and engrave within their heart a deep impression.
The digital world has given young Africans the opportunity to showcase their futuristic ideas and concepts to a global audience, especially on social media. In recent times, fascinating and mind-boggling images captured by young Africans have begun to surface on popular media such as Instagram and Pinterest. And the world has been paying close attention! However, the world is evolving, and the internet is evolving even faster with the rise and fall of various trends. Photos are slowly loosing their appeal, and videos are quickly becoming the centre of attention.
How will the African photography community cope with this change?
How can they reinvent themselves going forward into the future?
How can they stay inspired?
I had the opportunity to speak with a creative photographer from South Africa, seeking out her thoughts and opinion about the future of African photography.
- Can you please introduce yourself?
Naledi: My name is Naledi Maebela and I am the creator of Di Naledi Photography. I reside in Johannesburg, South Africa in a small town called Benoni.
- How have you been able to stay focused and inspired, despite the ever-changing social media algorithms?
Naledi: As a photographer, I am constantly looking for ways to improve my craft. That way, I can remain unique and different. This helps me create imagery that expresses my perspective of individuals in a creative way by capturing special moments in their lives.
I believe inspiration is everywhere, you just have to pay attention. Being in the digital age, you are always exposed to different types of art and photography, and sometimes it’s easy to identify with other creative styles of work which can also inspire you.
It’s most important to be mindful of distraction or comparing yourself or your work to other creatives. They can be deterring. I also think that it’s important to change our mentality to “how can I get the algorithm to work for me!” Instead of the other way around. In a nutshell, focus on your craft while remaining as unique as you can without getting lost in the sauce.
- Do you have any intentions to explore videography?
Naledi: Yes. With the world evolving every day, people’s needs change as well. We see that with major social media platforms like Instagram embrace videos in a big way!
It appears that videos and photography are a combination in huge demand these days. Personally, I would hire a videographer to handle all the technical details and do all the heavy lifting, but I would still want to be part of the creating process.
- How do you think the African photography landscape will evolve in the coming years
Naledi: Photography has a unique way of changing perceptions. An article I read once said that in Africa, we have the opportunity to tell our own stories in a unique way. I believe we have a lot of stories to share and tell! African photographers are trying to change the narrative, and people locally and internationally ate starting to pay attention. Our cultural influence is starting to reach a global audience. Though our freedom of expression has developed, I think African photography is developing and adjusting as we evolve.
Written by: Clinton Akporherhe
Edited by: Olamide Ogunrayi