Please tell us about yourself, your full name, what inspired your nickname, age, a mini-biography if you will.
My name is Tinashe Gakaka, a 25 year old, photographer, creative director and head photographer of Gaxx photography x KREATE. My nickname originated from my surname, I don’t know how but Gaxx became a household name 😊. I have been on this photography journey for a good 3 years now. We are the future of creativity in Zimbabwe. My other personality is me being a Civil & Structural Engineer, I discovered my gift for photography whilst studying for this degree. Photography was really a reality gap for me and eventually it became bigger than I expected.
What equipment is a must-have for you no matter where you are going to be working?
Tinashe Gakaka: The equipment that I always carry with me is a camera 😂, okay let me be serious. I always carry a good prayer with me. I believe our creativity and vision is a spiritual gift and asking for direction and inspiration before a shoot is always something I keep on me without fail. – A good prayer
What professional photographers have influenced your work, and how do you incorporate their techniques into your photographs?
Tinashe Gakaka: I have had a few photographers influence the way I work, the technique that I managed to extract from all of them is to shoot with emotions, how your visuals need to have a story and not just seen like a random catalogue shoot. Everything needs to be intentional and to break the photography rules. These guys are Keef photography, Lexash and Bedge.
What details do you believe make for the best photographs and how do you go about maximising on them in your work?
Tinashe Gakaka: The details that make for the best photograph had to be composition, the mood in the image (color grade), it’s very easy to tell if someone shot something with emotions involved or it was just a random photograph. Everything in the image needs to relate, background, model, wardrobe, color grade. These things make an image become what it is.
What sets you apart from other photographers in the industry?
Tinashe Gakaka: What sets me apart from other photographers in the industry is that we focus on the clients’ experience before and after the shoot. Apart from that, it’s in how I make sure all my images have a story line. Work is not rushed and we don’t go into high end retouching, we want to the feel to be as natural as possible. We also focus on telling the stories of women of colour.
Do you prefer studio shoots or on location?
Tinashe Gakaka: I prefer shoots that are on location. The uncertainty of the conditions can alter an image and that’s what excites me. You never know what to expect when it comes to shooting outdoors.
What’s the most exciting creative project you’ve undertaken?
Tinashe Gakaka: The most exciting project I’ve gone into had to be my ethereal concept with the amazing Mikayla at the Quarry. That Photoshoot is simply one of the best I’ve done.
Do you have formal training as a photographer, if so where did you learn?
Tinashe Gakaka: I didn’t get any formal training as a photographer, I am a self-taught photographer who just practices frequently in order to reach the level I want to get to.
What inspired you to pursue photography and who/what has motivated you to keep going?
Tinashe Gakaka: How I started photography is a true testimony but all I can say is when I started I didn’t think it would be where I am right now. It’s all the support that I have been receiving from my friends, family and girlfriend. The need to put the Zimbabwean creative industry on the map is what’s been motivating me to keep going.
Your work has been featured in GQ that must’ve been so exciting for you which other brands would you like to collab with?
Tinashe Gakaka: The GQ feature was a big milestone for me work, I cannot wait to work with Nike, Adidas and Monster. Those brands are what I am aiming for.
Have you worked with any celebs?
Tinashe Gakaka: I have had the opportunity to work and tour with a lot of celebs both regionally and internationally.
What are your packages like?
Tinashe Gakaka: We are currently going through a whole restructure of the pricing but it’s nothing unreasonable especially because you have different packages to pick from.
Any advice for any one thinking of getting into photography?
Tinashe Gakaka: My advice to anyone thinking to get into photography is to always ask, be curious, the latest gear won’t give nor produce the content you think you can put out. It’s all in the photographer. Don’t compare your craft to anyone in the industry, your work is unique and with more practice you will get closer to the level you want to get to.
What are the challenges you face being a creative in Zimbabwe?
Tinashe Gakaka: My biggest challenge as a creative in Zimbabwe has to be trying to feed the audience my creativity and moving in my own direction when it comes to how I do my work.
Are you looking to diversify from just doing photography into something else?
Tinashe Gakaka: Yes, I am looking to diversify into a media warehouse where we will have more services, cinematography, videography, graphic designing in-house.
How can a potential client get a hold of you?