Born in Zimbabwe and based in Johannesburg, Tatenda Chidora has a beautiful story to tell. As we travel through Africa this month, we came across this talented photographer and his creative work. Bridging the art and fashion world, exploring ideas around identity and masculinity. We had a short email correspondence and were able to catch up with Chidora, learn about his work and the power of Africanism. Here we explore the role photography plays in the artists life and the movement of “New African Photography”.
What is your first memory of photography playing an important role in your life?
Early memories of photography playing an important role in my life come from the interaction that I used to do with magazines. My mother used to indulge in cookery and home magazines. From there I used to scroll through magazines and cut out my favourite images.
Tell us a bit about your artistic practice and how it has evolved over the years?
I was trained in commercial photography at university. I have been practising commercial photography. From an early stage in my photography, I was always drawn to fine art photography and also elements of documentary photography. So my work is what has most shaped my practice. I have grown to be more investigative in everyday stories and enjoy poignantly translating current affairs.
How has Johannesburg influenced your creative work?
Johannesburg has influenced my work in many ways. Meeting different and diverse human beings. There is an element of freedom towards celebrating oneself and one culture. Johannesburg carries a spirit that empowers one to embrace oneself without any judgement.
Define the term Africanism and what it means to you?
Africanism is anything and everything African. Who we are as Africans and what we stand for as Africans. With the history of Africa, so many things have been diluted and many have been forced to dilute the beauty of their originality. The world is now in a better place to listen to our voices as Africans. With that as a platform, it would be beautiful to translate our crafts through our everyday experiences.
Your work bridges the Art and Fashion world. Do you think these creative mediums are interconnected?
Art and Fashion mediums can be interconnected. Though Fashion comes with a high level of commercial aspects because of the purpose it serves. However, fashion images can be produced to serve as artwork. This comes from a place where clients allow creatives to produce beautiful work without overriding the creatives’ approach to the brief.
What exciting future projects are you working on?
I cannot put specifics to the work as yet but I am continuing to investigate stories that affect us on everyday bases, stories of gender, Identity and Masculinity.
Point of reference you always refer to for inspiration - artists, books, music.
Mostly from travelling, and experiencing everyday life. I am inspired by black artists who are using their voices in celebrating who we are.