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Khalipha Ntloko | South Africa | Uniqueness

Junior Content Marketer: Meltwater EMEA | Digital Content Creator | Photographer

My photography journey began 6 years ago, when I moved to Cape Town to pursue my university degree in Sociology and Psychology. I had asked my dad to lend me his Canon bridge camera as a way for me to capture my experiences of being a first year varsity student. With a camera in hand and a new city to explore, I soon realized just how much I enjoyed capturing people’s faces, and their emotions in Portraiture Photography. I never attended a school or did courses on photography; it really was just me watching countless hours of YouTube videos and then implementing the knowledge with the camera I had. 3 years later, I entered a Canon South Africa Roadshow competition for Portraiture Photography, and I ended up making the Top 25 finalists list. That was such a dream for me, because it was proof that you don’t need the best gear to become a great photographer; you just need to trust yourself and your unique photography skills. I started tapping into Flatlay photography that same year I moved to Cape Town - 2015. I wanted to learn more about this particular photography because it isn’t well known and there wasn’t a lot of information on it at the time. So I decided to create that knowledge for myself, and others. Now, I’ve had the pleasure of working with big brands for Flatlays and I have every intention of becoming the best Flatlay photographer in South Africa.

What were the biggest initial hurdles and how did you overcome them?

Being a self taught photographer, I didn’t have any physical guidance on what I was supposed to do, especially on the technical side. I really did have nothing but YouTube videos and just taking the time to experiment on my own with the camera I had. But being determined helped me persevere, and keeping my eye on the prize (which is to be the best at Flatlays and educate others along the way) is what keeps me going to this day. This isn’t so much of a hurdle but because I am so niche in my photography form, I don’t have that many references or mentors to assist me on how I can keep getting better at my specific craft. So there’s a lot of learning and failing and getting back up that I do, but again, I keep my eye on the prize and let my passion for Flatlay photography shine.

What books are you currently reading?

The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy. It’s truly captivating in the way that it has been written and the themes within the book are just remarkable! What do you know today that you wish you would have known when you first got started? That having all of the latest gear and equipment doesn’t make you a great photographer; it is your unique and creative eye that does. You can give two photographers the exact same equipment but how they take their individual photos will always be different because that’s how you stand out from the crowd; by daring to be different, and being unapologetic about it.

What advice would you give to an upcoming youth or talents locally and internationally?

Take the time to figure out what your ‘why’ is in life; what your purpose is and what you would like to be known for. Then become an expert in that. Always be open to learning more about certain topics so that you educate yourself, don’t be afraid to fail because that is part of the road to success, and remember to always believe and trust in the uniqueness that is YOU.

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