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Juicy Snaps with Llwellyn Makhanya

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Zama Khumalo

The beauty is always in the eye of the beholder and it is no wonder that photographers are praised for capturing the environments that surround them and with Llwellyn “Juice” Makhanya, it is no different.

Okay Africa, Bubblegum Club and even the amazing Blazon Magazine have been some of platforms that his images have been on. His love for photography knows no bounds and he shares his views on what this form of art truly means to him.

When did you realise that photography was your calling/had a deep passion for it?

“Honestly speaking photography has always been in the background, just there is a thing people crossed paths with and not like how it is now with social media platforms and such. I only recently started seeing as something that can be developed (excuse the pun) into a skill then afterwards a career. Where I come from, we only come across during the social gatherings and the annual class photo sessions at school. So I would strongly say that I didn’t really pay attention to it till later,” he says.

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Who inspires you to create art that you produce within your photography?

“That’s easy! I’m inspired by the people that I come into contact with on a daily basis, people always raise an eyebrow when I say this but I’m really obsessed with facial expressions, contours made by smiles, frowns and other different emotions people show using their faces. I find it interesting the way people choose to present themselves to the camera in every photo session. It’s like a constant battle between you and the sitter where I’d sit and talk to the person sitting in the ”hot seat” and wait for them to share with me their truth with me and that’s what I will try to make an image of,” he explains.

How would you describe your style of photography and how long did it take to develop it?

“My photography is more like the study of portraiture than it is any style but if I had to describe it I’d say it is an up close look at the people and their truth. I’m not out to flatter people with what society deems perfect but rather show that people are different in their own way and that’s normal, ”

Within your career, what has been your greatest achievement thus far?

“Meeting and working alongside Fotobooth Durban”  excitedly he mentions.

What are some of the misconceptions that you feel that people don’t understand about photographers?

“I feel that people are still looking for reebies from a lot of photographers because believe it or not there are people who refuse to see photography as an art form. Secondly self-taught photographers like myself suffer a lot due to not being well read into all the possibilities that photography opens up, there are a lot of photographers out there that have inspiring stories to tell via their images but only those that depict some form of trauma are chosen and put on major platforms like art galleries. The craft is vast and I just want it to be available to new photographers like other art forms,” he emphasises.

Certainly a sentiment that many can agree on, as there are times that people feel underappreciated for their craft.

In your view, how do you educate yourself to take better pictures?

“Firstly, I don’t use words like “take”, “shoot”, “capture” or even “freeze” when talking about photography because I believe that every photo is made. To answer your question, I just like what I do a lot and therefore I am always willing to learn either by practicing or watching Youtube or even just by watching other fellow photographers. There is a wealth of knowledge available outside of university institutions.”

What is the one thing you wish you knew when you started taking photos?

” Patience. Not every photo make will be loved and praised so have patience and never stop.”he mentions.

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Your photography has taken you to many places, where is the one place you will never forget?

“Funny enough it’s going back home and making portraits of my friends and family. During that month I looked at these people I’ve grown to love with ”new eyes” when I made these portraits of them.”he says.

Whose work has influenced you most?

“Easy, Platon and Lee Jeffries but as I continue to learn more about my ”style” I learn a lot about myself too so when making self-portraits a lot of what Fiona Larkins speaks about hits home”, he mentions with such ease.

Where do you see yourself within 5 years time?

“Still making portraits with Fotobooth Durban (with a better camera lol) but also I’d love to be given the opportunity to help others learn photography. I don’t have a huge dream of making images of famous people or being a superstar photographer that’s just not who I am”, he says.

Other than photography, what is your favourite thing to do?

“Either I make photos or I just make beats at home and share the music with friends. I’m a huge anime fan! I think I’m currently watching 4 shows simultaneously I stopped watching TV years ago because I got into anime,” he happily mentions.

It’s never easy being a photographer. When people dismiss or praise your work, how does that make you feel and how do you handle it?

“I don’t know how to act when people praise my photos I just awkwardly nod and say thank you. As for when my work is dismissed, I just accept it. Working the family of Fotobooth I have learned that not all people who have their photos made like the result so you have to accept that some people have the same appreciation for photos as you do”. he says.

The one thing that can be agreed is the love he has for his craft and it is exciting to see what else the future has for him because we will be waiting to see the creation he has cooked up for us, only time will tell.

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