The freedom to choose and dream is one of the most powerful tools a woman can be equipped with. A liberated woman will feel confident in her sense of self, and her ability to live her life as she sees fit, writes MISHRAH SONDAY.
WHEN the founders and mentors, Quaniet Richards, Nawawie Mathews and Shamiel Albertyn, established the #shoot4purpose initiative, their mission was to use the freedom of street photography as a medium of healing, rebuilding self-esteem and confidence. The aim was to empower and facilitate healing in those who have experienced the pain and trauma, gender-based violence and loss in their lives.
After the success of their first workshop, the Shoot4Purpose team launched a second five-week workshop. It consisted of five women, and was held from November 27,2021, until January 18, 2022, and culminated with a photographic exhibition hosted at the Koena Art Institute Gallery, in Observatory, on January 22, 2022.
The event was well attended and supported by the community at large. Guest speakers included Lindsey Appolis, a self-taught FujiFilm X-photographer. His work extends into film, advertising, street photography, performance and fine art, and is largely influenced by the city in which he grew up – the beautiful, colourful and multi-layered Mother City.
The women walked the streets of Cape Town, geared with their Fuji cameras to find the beauty in the ordinary. Quaniet Richards explained: ‘Each week a different location and theme was focused on, i.e. human emotion, landscape, architecture and portraits. The idea was to allow the women to express themselves and build a body of work that they could be proud of. Something that they find beauty and purpose in.’
Nawawie Mathews added that even though each participant came with a story, and/or history, that was not their focus. The mentors did not need to know their individual stories as the aim was to ‘show empathy through art’.
A more perfect setting could not have been asked for when the cohort was invited as official photographers to the outreach programme hosted by the Anwar Jakoet Foundation (AJF) and La Motte Feeding Scheme. The Anwar Jakoet Foundation focuses on three specific areas in assisting impoverished communities. They aim to make a difference by concentrating on sustainable food provision, primary education and sports excellence.
The event, which was held in Franschhoek on December 11, 2021, honoured 40 elderly farmworkers and 30 children. There was lots of entertainment, dancing, food, music and, most importantly, their stories being captured in the frozen moments of photography.
Mathews so aptly put it that, ‘Shoot4Purpose is much bigger than the sum total of Quaniet, Shamiel, and myself. We are but mere tools to facilitate healing. The true hard work is done by the extraordinary women who trust us enough to take them on this beautiful journey of discovery and, essentially, liberation.’
The Shoot4Purpose team wishes to acknowledge and thank the sponsors of the photographic exhibition, namely, Fujifilm South Africa, Koena Art Institute Gallery, Dog Ear Editions and The Frame and Art Factory. Another group of enthusiastic participants was scheduled to start on February 26, 2022.