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Featured Photographer – Francisco De Souza

Tell us a little about yourself and your work

Born and raised in a small community in the beautiful African landscape of Zimbabwe, it was easy for me to engage with photography and people from an early age. From age eleven, armed with my Dad’s Minolta camera, I explored my community, making local friends, and capturing photographs of my Shona tribal neighbours. In the intervening years, displaced from my Zimbabwean home, I have actively travelled to many developing countries in Africa, the Indian Subcontinent, and South East Asia. Preferring to traverse through remote villages and travel off the beaten track, I continue to witness the daily hardships faced by people from all cultures, geographies and religions. My passion is to document these stories on film and in words. I actively work with and support Non Government Organisations in Indonesia, India and Zimbabwe. I now call Goa, India my home where I continue to photograph the lives and stories of the beautiful people of Asia.

 

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What kit/gear do you use when shooting?

I use the following camera equipment:

Canon 5D MKIII
Canon 50mm f/1.4 lens
Canon 28-300mm f.5.6 lens
Canon 85mm f1.2 lens

 

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Does your Zimbabwe background have an influence on your photography/style?

Definitely! My life experiences as a child growing up in Zimbabwe played a very big part in my style and approach to photography. There was a story to be told every day through photography where I witnessed the daily lives and beauty of Zimbabwe. It was this humanitarian grounding in photography that gave me my life-long passion for capturing people and their stories on film.

 

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What is the most challenging shoot you have been on?

When photographing I typically travel to remote villages throughout the Indian Subcontinent and South East Asia so in many cases the journey of getting to these remote places is challenging. I have had to pass through flooded terrain, steep mountains, harsh deserts and in some cases where there is political unrest. One memory that stays with me was when I travelled and photographed through Bangladesh. I was in a busy market photographing the daily life – people were excited for me to photograph them but then out of nowhere, a man came rushing towards me, grabbed me by my throat and started shouting “Get out, get out – you are an American journalist, go!” I had to get out quickly…

 

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Most interesting location you’ve been able to shoot in?

It would have to be Bangladesh. Visiting Bangladesh felt as if I was stepping back in time at least 100 years. Every place I turned, there was an incredible photography opportunity – from bustling markets, to dug out canoes crossing rivers, to cycle rickshaws to close knit family life.

 

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Where do you see yourself as a photographer in 10 years?

I would like to be known for my humanitarian photography work which will help to give a voice to those less fortunate. It is a dream of mine to be featured in the ‘World Press Photo Exhibition’.

 

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What is the most important thing in your camera bag after your camera?

My Canon 85mm f1.2 lens. It’s simply beautiful for my portraiture photography.

 

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If you were not a photographer what would you be doing for work?

If I was not fortunate enough to be a photographer, I would probably have to revert to being a Project Manager which is what I was previously doing before following my photography dream.

 

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Do you do a lot of post-production on your photos? If so, what is your process?

I tend not to do a lot of post-production work as I like to keep my images as natural as I photographed them. I do however make some adjustments to contrast, vibrance, saturation and sharpness (where required). I have only recently started using LightRoom and I love it.

 

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What advice do you have for photographers who are just getting started?

Enjoy the journey and don’t focus (excuse the pun!) on the destination. I know that it’s cliché, but it’s true. Don’t try too hard to get THE photograph. Enjoy the people and places that you visit – always carry your camera with you. You will learn so much from the people that you meet and the situations that you find yourself in – enjoy it, your photographs will follow. Also, it is important to remember that travel photography it’s not as easy and as glamorous as people think it is. At times you will find yourself in harsh situations (climate and social), but you need to look beyond that. Also, if you are travelling to humid countries, please, please ensure that you have silica gel satches with you to keep the moisture out of your equipment. I learned the hard way living in India as some of my equipment was damaged through the moisture I have now invested in a ‘Digi Cabi’ which is similar to a wine cooler, except it’s especially made to keep camera equipment cool and dry.

 

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Why did you choose CMD for your website?

CMD offers stunning templates to showcase my work. I spent months looking for THE right template that would not only enhance my photographs but that is also easily customizable– CMD is it. Over and beyond this, they have a FANTASTIC support and design team – Michal, Calum and Mike are superb. Keep up the great work CMD!

August 13, 2015