Hailing from Limpopo, Tebogo Mametja is a photographer aiming high. In his Take Ten feature, he shares his ten top Fujifilm images with us while chatting about the impact of photography, his favourite gear and the road ahead.
Why do you love photography?
I absolutely love photography because it’s been a part of my life since I was just ten years old. My dad, a former photographer, introduced me to this art form and I’ve been captivated by it ever since.
It all began during a family vacation when I had the chance to use a professional camera for the very first time. As I clicked away, the sound of the camera capturing each image felt like music to my ears. This experience sparked my imagination and made me realise the incredible creative potential that lay within this tool.
What truly ignites my passion is the ability to capture and share my unique perspective on life with the world through photography. It’s a medium that allows me to express myself and connect with others in a profound way, and that’s why I love it so deeply.
Tell us a bit more about your photography?
My photography is more than just images; it’s about capturing the essence of individuals, their souls, and their stories. For me, photography serves as a form of therapy, a sanctuary where my creativity flows freely. The process of creating an image is immensely fulfilling, but what truly lights up my world is the impact it has on people. Witnessing the smiles, the joy and the newfound self-appreciation in those I photograph fills me with immense happiness. That’s why I often say that I don’t just take pictures, I capture souls.
As for my goals, they tend to evolve, but right now, my focus is on continuing to capture souls and exploring the world through my lens. It’s a journey of self-expression, connection and discovery that I’m deeply passionate about, and I want to share this passion with others as I travel and create meaningful art.
What made you switch to Fujifilm and when did this happen?
I made the switch to Fujifilm in 2018, and it was a transformative experience. However, I first had the opportunity to use a Fujifilm camera in 2017. I collaborated with one of my favourite photographers who used the Fujifilm X-T2 with a 23mm f1.4 lens. It was a revelation for me because, at that time I believed that bigger cameras equaled better photos. However, as we continued to shoot, I noticed he didn’t use any additional lighting even as it got darker. When I asked why, he explained the remarkable low-light capabilities of his Fujifilm camera.
He generously let me use his camera and that was my first experience with a mirrorless camera. I was absolutely blown away by what this small camera could achieve. It was a game-changer for me. I decided to sell all my existing gear and invest in the Fujifilm system. The Fujifilm X-H1 eventually became my primary camera, and I’ve been honoured to have used the X-T2 from other photographers as well. This switch to Fujifilm opened up new creative possibilities and changed my approach to photography.
Which Fujifilm camera(s) do you use and what’s your favourite lens?
I use the Fujifilm X-H1 and X-T4 cameras, paired with a 35mm f2.0 and a 16-55mm f2.8 lens. These two lenses are my absolute favourites because they offer versatility and meet all my photography and video needs.
What I love most about the Fujifilm cameras are the physical dials that allow me to quickly and intuitively adjust settings like shutter speed, ISO and aperture. This feature significantly speeds up my workflow when I’m capturing moments. Additionally, the aesthetics and build quality of these cameras are simply outstanding. They’re beautifully designed and feel incredibly well-built.
Furthermore, the compact and lightweight nature of these cameras is a real game-changer for me. I can go through a full day of shooting without feeling the strain on my muscles, which is a huge advantage. These cameras truly combine functionality, style and ergonomics in a remarkable way.
What’s on your photography bucket list?
My photography bucket list is filled with exciting goals and aspirations:
- I’m looking forward to getting my hands on the Fujifilm X-H2, paired with the 50-140mm lens and a 23mm f1.2. It’s an exciting prospect for expanding my creative capabilities.
- Travelling the world and capturing the stories of influential individuals to everyday people with powerful narratives is a top priority. I want to document the diverse human experiences from different corners of the globe.
- I have a strong desire to tell compelling stories from my hometown in Limpopo. It’s important to me to capture the unique essence and stories of my community.
- Ultimately, I aim to be recognised as the “Soul Capturer” not just locally, but across borders. I want my photography to resonate with people from all walks of life and leave a lasting impact.
These goals are what drive me and keep my passion for photography alive and thriving.
Do you have one photography tip to share?
Certainly! Don’t limit yourself to what’s possible, embrace every opportunity to shoot. And if you’re looking for a camera that combines versatility and performance, consider trying out a Fujifilm camera – you won’t regret it!
What never leaves your camera bag?
In my camera bag, you’ll always find:
- The trusty Fujifilm X-T4 camera
- My versatile 16-55mm lens
- An SSD drive for storing all those beautiful captures
- Cleaning gear to keep my camera looking its best, because who doesn’t love a clean camera?
- A flashlight for those moments when light is scarce
- Extra memory cards because they tend to fill up quickly!
These essentials ensure I’m always ready to capture the perfect shot, no matter the situation.
Find more of Tebogo’s work online here: