Photographer Feature – Meet Francisco de Souza

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{Why and when did you become a photographer?}
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 neighbors. It was this humanitarian grounding in photography that gave me my life-long passion for capturing people and their stories on film. 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.

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{How would you describe your style of photography?}
I describe my style of photography as a mix of journalistic and humanitarian. I enjoy taking photographs of people in their natural environment, portraying their everyday lives and lifestyles. I think what differentiates me from a lot of popular travel photographers is that I never ask people to pose to capture a certain photo I have in mind, I just want to capture the moment, for people to be themselves and forget that I have a camera with me. My aim is to take photographs that draw the viewer in and moves them – something that really captures the heart and soul, not just of the person but of their situation and surroundings. I like drama in a photograph. It must be compelling, different and not stick with all the rules of photography because I believe photography is art and everyone has their own expression of art.

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{What is the most difficult challenge in the photography business?}
My greatest challenge in the photography business is dealing with people’s expectations that I should provide my photographs for free.  Some large travel companies have gone as far as saying that they do not have the budget for photographs and the best that they can do is credit my photographs with my name instead of payment – it’s crazy and something has to change. People need to respect that photographers have invested time and money into learning and perfecting their profession. It amazes me that people don’t question paying for other services but will always ask for freebies when it comes to photography.

 

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{Who or what is your biggest source of inspiration?}
The people that I photograph continue to inspire me. I witness the daily hardships faced by people from all cultures, geographies and religions, yet they live their lives with so much dignity. I have learned a great deal from them – in particular, that the simple things in life is what matters most.

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{Tell us a little about your studio.}
The road is my studio. I prefer to traverse through remote villages and travel off the beaten track and I carry as little equipment as possible.
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{Name three favorite things in your camera bag.}
My three favorite things in my camera bag will have to be my Canon 85mm f1.2 lens, Canon 5D MKiii camera and my Canon 28-300mm lens. This is all that I carry with me.
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{What advice can you give an aspiring photographer today?}
I would say to any aspiring travel photographer that they should enjoy the journey and don’t focus 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 – yes, always carry your camera with you but don’t let it become your life. 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, travel photography is 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 and enjoy the journey.

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{ How has your CMD website helped your business?}
I could not do without my CMD website – it’s simply fantastic! My website showcases my work EXACTLY how I would like people to view it – full page photographs with easy navigation. It has helped me to promote my work and raise money to help people that I meet through my travels.
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{What’s your favorite thing (or function) about your CMD website?}
It would have to be the ease and speed of uploading, organizing and displaying my work. I could not ask for better!
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{Which CMD design do you currently have?}
I have the Ethan HTML design.
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More about Francisco…
When I am not busy traveling for photography my partner Chloe and I run our own Indian tour company. We offer a wide range of tours through India – from short day excursions through the state of Goa to in-depth tours through North and South India. Our tours can be run as small group tours, as private tours, or we can create a dream journey through India with our Tailor Made Tours. Check out our website for further details www.latitude22travel.com and please ‘like’ our Facebook page.
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I also support and work with a Non Government Organization (NGO) called Sambhali Trust. Sambhali Trust was founded with the intent of promoting self-esteem, economic independence, and the development of a skill set and social skills as a means of combating the traditionally enforced subordination of women within Rajasthani society in India. Many women have little or no access to education, basic health services, or even the right to negotiate their own relationships with their husbands. These women need a voice, a support network for their hopes, dreams, and ambitions.
For the girls and women of Sambhali Trust, that support network comes in the form of a community, a family of individuals who share the common goal of women’s empowerment and development. I photograph the stories of many of these women’s lives which are spread across many projects – sewing classes, micro- financing, markets and AIDS awareness. My photographs are used for campaigns, reports, funding and general awareness. Check out their website to see how you can help www.sambhali-trust.org.
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Finally, please check out my website www.francisco-desouza.com and thank you to CMD for their outstanding website templates and fantastic support!
February 14, 2014