Capturing a revolution

IMG_2444 Fashion blogger and stylist Nabilah Kariem

While the field of photography is predominantly male, female photographers are making serious moves in the industry and defying the norm.

 

Rizqua Barnes, a Cape Town-based photographer, is someone who has been at the forefront of the new wave of female photographers who have gained well deserved recognition and praise.

“Currently, with smartphones offering high definition cameras, just about anyone can label themselves as a photographer. However, it’s the professionals such as Barnes who stand out”

The designated playing fields are social media platforms such as picture driven Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest. Photographers and bloggers alike compete for a spot in glossy magazines, newspaper and online portals. The leading and popular photographer genres include general photography, socials, portraits, nature and fashion.

Carving your spot at the top is not easy, and like any other career, the field requires hard work, focus and individuality, says Barnes.

I first met Barnes about two years ago on live video sharing platform Snapchat. Her snaps (pictures of her daughter Nura melted my heart) and her everyday life intrigued me. Her diverse professional portfolio on Instagram includes photos of models, personalities, fashion bloggers and just about every other thing that catches her eye.

Curious about how she became a photographer, I asked her: “When was the first time you picked up a camera?”

She said: “I was in Standard 5 (grade 7). I don’t remember what type of camera it was exactly but I got it from my aunt and it was a film camera. I borrowed it for camp.

“I was way too young at the time and never really gave it much thought. Thinking about it now, taking pictures is something that I have always enjoyed.

“My dad Fuad Barnes had a camera as well and was always taking pictures of our family. When I finished school, my sister Quanita borrowed loaned me her camera when we went on holiday and I took pictures of everything.

“I went on a paddling boat and the camera fell into the ocean we still laugh about this until today. Since then I am always super careful with a camera.

“I was always obsessed with sunlight, light and trees. There is a certain time during the day, the hour before sunset, when the sun shines on spots which are usually hidden during the day the golden hour, it’s called”

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Model Ashleigh Herman wearing The Design Wearhouse 

 

Now a fully fledged “Girl Boss” #GirlBoss , Barnes credits Facebook for propelling her career to where she is now.

“I have been on my toes since the beginning of my career and I am still on my toes. Ever since Facebook happened, things have been happening for me and it hasn’t stopped,” she says.

“From weddings to engagements to 21st birthdays, matric dances and family photos. I have shot everything. Everything you can think of, I have shot it”

“But right now, I have found myself, after 10 years in the industry. I am currently enjoying fashion and portraits photography.

“All my life, I have always told myself that I want to be my own boss. I never want to work for anybody. I worked in retail for three years and it made me realise that I am worth more than a 9 to 5. I felt that I was wasting time being desk bound when I can be everywhere, meeting people, taking pictures and creating content. I have always been driven, entrepreneurship is just in my blood;

“There are times when working for yourself is scary but it’s worth it,” she says.

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Models Wekwa Tenzi and Alina Castle wearing Shop Brett Robson

Her portfolio now also includes wedding photography, a category she fell into by chance.“More female Muslim photographers started popping up and this was a nice thing to witness. At times when I couldn’t take on more work because I had too much on my plate, I would refer clients to other female photographers.

“It was a big deal for me because at the time I felt as if I was the only female photographer amongst males, especially in the Muslim community which was very male dominated and it was tough.

“Men and the older generations didn’t take a female with a camera seriously.

“When more and more women photographers came onto the scene, it was like a weight off my shoulders.”

How does she go from being a wedding photographer to shooting glamorous models?

“With weddings, I became more of a people’s person. I actually know how to make people relax in front of a camera. It’s a power that we have as photographers,” she explains.

“In fashion, you are one-on-one with someone, and it’s such a big deal because it’s up to me to make the person comfortable. Whether or not you are an experienced model, you still get nervous”

 

“Currently, my aesthetic is a clean and fresh look, but yet I still want the photograph to pop. I still want people to go wow! When they see it, there should be little for me to explain in a picture.

“I always want the viewer to know what they are seeing immediately. The model needs to connect with the viewer,” adds Barnes

Pic 5 Rizqua portrait by thabit.kamaldien

A portrait of Rizqua by Thabit Kamaldien

** Connect with Rizqua  on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/rizqua_barnes/?hl=en 

*See more of my work here: http://www.iol.co.za/lifestyle/style-beauty/fashion/5-menswear-trends-you-need-to-know-10442700

*See more What drives a designer?

Spring/ Summer #MBFWJ16 top trends

 

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Designer: Adama Paris Studio. Picture by Rizqua Barnes.

I  have rounded up some of the hottest trends straight from the runway of the
Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Joburg (MBFWJ), held in Sandton last week. Identify and style them to suit your personality.

1 Nandi Mngoma x Inga Madyibi
Designer: Nandi Mngoma x Inga Madyibi. Picture by Rizqua Barnes.

1. The Jumpsuit: A tailored jumpsuit can seamlessly take you from the office to a black-tie gala event. No matter the occasion, there’s always a look you can pull off by wearing one. Choose a one-colour jumpsuit or one in print, such as the Nandi Mngoma and Inga Madyibi tribal print jumpsuit. Alter your accessories, chunky or barely-there, and heel height to suit the occasion.

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Designer: Orapeleng Modutle Style. Picture by Rizqua Barnes

2.Couture Chic: If you enjoy dressing up then this trend will be right up your alley. Orapeleng Modutle Style Avenue showcased a collection to die for. His attention to detail and fit is superb, and using luxury fabrics such as chiffon, each piece is delicately put together. This trend will work for a day at the races, a fancy evening party and is for those who are willing to spend a little more on boutique clothing.

3. Head wraps: Head-turning head wraps and head scarves remain the hottest hair accessory. The bigger, the better, just make sure it is neatly wrapped. Adama Paris Studio paired her clashing prints collection with brightly coloured head wraps and bold make-up.

4 Khosi Nkosi

Designer: Khosi Nkosi. Picture by Rizqua Barnes.

4. Prints: This is another trend that is not going to disappear any time soon. Deviating from her usual all-prints collections that celebrate the nubian woman, Khosi Nkosi presented a collection that mixed ethnic prints with modern fabrics. From African to geometric prints, play around by mixing them with different fabrics such as faux leather and denim.

5 Tina Lobondi
Designer:  Tina Lobondi. Picture by Rizqua Barnes.

5.Athleisure is anything from designer leggings paired with high heels to feminine
dresses with fabrics such as denim or faux leather. The trend is being driven by people who are looking for more functionality from their wardrobe and who do not want to compromise on style for comfort. Tina Lobondi styled this printed short jumpsuit with a pair of trendy sneakers… a perfect look for a day on your feet.

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Designer: Marianne Fasser. Picture by Rizqua Barnes

6. Sheer clothing: Wearing sheer fabrics such as delicate chiffon, mesh and lace are best for showing some skin during the summer months. Consider a dress that features a section of sheer fabric, such as this elegant Marianne Fassler dress, right. The trick is to stick to dark colours.

Connect with me on Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat at @Nontando58

*This piece was first published in The Cape Argus and The Star on August 19 2016.