It is no doubt that Arika Mani is one of the fashion gods when it comes to photography in Bulawayo, and Zimbabwe as a whole. His type of photography transcends the simplistic mere “taking of a picture”. The Bulawayo born photographer, is one self-taught in beauty, fashion and editorial photography.
When we asked him why the name ‘Arika Mani”, he simply replied, he wanted a name that represented him as a person, something more Afrocentric. He so cleverly took the last part from his surname, Chakavarika, to form ‘Arika’, then ‘Mani’ just sounded artsy, cool and African.
Photography is no doubt one of the most important factors in fashion, and Arika Mani is one with an impeccable skill in it. Have you ever looked at the model photographs on magazines such as Harpers’ Bazar, Vogue, Glam, and had an instant fun sensational rush, yes! That’s what a properly done fashion photography does.
This week’s figure is one with both style and artistic prowess, he sees a photo as a means of storytelling. “In its strictest sense, Fashionable photography that is dedicated to bringing out the desirability and vibrancy of different clothes and outfits, I however would like to believe it’s an infusion of culture, color and human psychology”, he denotes. He goes on to explain how his inspiration most of the time, comes from the outfits he shoots or is planning on shooting. The designer has a story they want to tell when designing the dress, and so Arika Mani recognizes the fact that he comes in as an additional story teller, him finishing it off as he sees fit. And just like every story should have a suitable character, in this case that’s where the model, comes into the picture, to embody the dress.
Arika Mani is definitely different from other photographers, his editing and color grading style is unique and very particular, and this, he believes has given him a comparative advantage, “ the color wheel is one of the primary tools I use when I prepare for my projects”, he continues.
Future plans? Well Arika Mani has one big dream, Vogue. Vogue is truly the place he wishes Arika Mani photographs belong, as he is slowly (but surely) trying to understand and grasp their aesthetic, with which day by day he gets the hang of it. Part of his plans include owning his very own academy aimed at teaching the different forms of photography as well as a modelling agency, ‘ I think I have an eye for scouting potential models” he denotes.
It would be a sacrilege to not discuss widely Arika Mani’s pictures, but since they are so many we’ve picked just three. The first one he calls: The Peregrine Falcon. A peregrine falcon is one of the fastest birds and also one of the few birds that can reach higher altitude. So this picture is one which tells a story of a man that is trying to sour higher and higher but several forces are binding him down.
The next one Arika explains it as, “Always keep a close on things that matter and pay little to no attention to things that may hinder your growth.”
Then the last picture is named “The Lady in Red”. The photo was inspired by the dress itself and loosely based on the Red Riding hood. The designer wanted the shoot to have a fairy-tale theme and it’s what Arika sought to deliver. For more photos check out and follow Arika Mani on his social media handles, get a taste of what true art is. And who knows, he might just feature you in his next project.
Dresses by Sozinio