European Union Delegation to the Republic of Zimbabwe

#facesinurbanspaces: Bulawayo photographer wins EU photo competition

30/05/2018 - 16:26
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The #facesinurbanspaces photo competition has a winner: Photographer Chinula Mandla from Bulawayo, who scooped the first prize, a professional camera with accessories, with his photo of a well-dressed gentleman in urban surroundings.

The #facesinurbanspaces photo competition has a winner: Photographer Chinula Mandla from Bulawayo, who scooped the first prize, a professional camera with accessories, with his photo of a well-dressed gentleman in urban surroundings.

The EU caught up with Chinula, who is a freelance journalist in the City of Kings and Queens. Initially only regarding photography as a hobby, he is now (also due to his background in journalism and media studies) more and more into photojournalism and documentary work.

What we did not know when the jury selected Chinula Mandla was the fact that his professional camera had been stolen a while ago during a political press conference that escalated violently. This was a serious spanner thrown in his work, he recalls: “Without a camera I had to start from scratch. I had to do more odd jobs and basically anything that would give me a bit of money. The most stressful time was in November last year during the Operation Restore Legacy. I would see photojournalists I admired like Marco Longari, Ben Curtis and Kim Ludbrook coming into the country to come and shoot. I would see their published photos and get angry at the fact that I couldn't visually document what was happening in my own country.”

The winning photo. © Chinula Mandla

Chinula had submitted a wide variety of photos for the competition, and several made it into the top 20, which was adjucated by a jury of indepedent, professional photographers. We asked him what inspired him for the winning photo: "The Gentleman in the poster is a friend who was going for a local event in town. He is an avid fashionista and I was fortunate to see him in town in his gear. His dressing was attracting a lot of attention but at the same time he seemed calm and in control. I simply asked to take a portrait of him just as the sun was about to set. For me, his posture and balance seem to reflect him as being more in control and in charge of the structures around him. That’s why I like that photo a lot. I hope it inspires other people to be in control of their urban spaces."   

He went on: “Winning the professional camera will definitely improve the quality of my work and make it easier to work on the field. I have a couple of personal projects lined up and I can't wait to see what else this baby can do. Super excited about it.”

The #facesinrubanspaces was embedded in the European Year of Cultural Heritage and the EU Delegation's exhibition of Jean-Marc Caracchi's "Homo Urbanus Europeanus". The competition was looking for Zimbabweans' individual views on architecture, vibe, style, fashion and people of their respective cities and towns. A total of 249 photo submissions reached the Delegation.

 

 

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