With a variety of photographers in South Africa I bring to you a young gentleman by the name of JayCucumbers who is on a journey of pushing boundaries in the filmmaking industry.
I’m Xhanti Jafta, formely known as JayCucumbers by those who are fortunate enough to know me. I am a multi-visual artist from Mthatha based in Cape Town. I’m underground but I’m mostly known for my photographic skills and editing finesse, my style is a term I call “Visual Telepathy”. Letting your mind guide what your eyes don’t see. I take it beyond the photographic realm and add life to it, create a picture that truly tells a million words. Bold, chic & original. I also draw a lot of my inspiration from watching films.
I mean cameras are a part of our everyday lives, people love capturing special moments for different occasions from way back. I did have a bit of a technical background when I was young like from using a few cameras at friend’s birthday parties, or maybe a weekend trip to the Grahamstown Arts Festival with the gents, if you had the latest smart phone that had a high mega-pixel quality camera etc.
I always knew how to work a camera, where to press, how to look for that specific angle, but 2012 was when I started doing photography as a hobby, just to get used to having a camera around since I was majoring in Video Production at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in Port Elizabeth (NMMU). I wanted to apply a few tips and techniques I learned by myself at the school library in my spare time, or even if I had a lecture I would bunk it and go sit at the library for hours reading filmmaking books, the history of cinema, how to shoot this and that, but it was the style of the shots I would see in these books and tutorials that captivated me. The imagery was amazing the framing, to be exact.
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So I invested in a Samsung camcorder that also had a picture capturing function enabled in it, cool. While I shot landscapes in video format I could also freeze them too as a picture. Using the same techniques and angles I learned from the filmmaking books I had been reading. I didn’t study photography even though it was offered as a major at the institution I used it as a way to escape reality and create a world of my own, with no words but the image speaking for itself.
I started working at events in Port Elizabeth, Summerstrand and Humewood. Taking pictures at Student night parties for their websites, and as time moved throughout the year I started working with a mentor and friend of mine,,Awonke Zidlele, who let me use her camera at these events and gave me tips and pointers on the art of photography because she was studying it at NMMU as her major.
It was a Nikon D300 camera I had moved from the video capturing genre even though I could have been good at it equally, but not completely just that videos took time for me to edit and pictures were quicker to publish.
I had developed the confidence of using the title “photographer” because I got my name out and my pictures spoke for themselves. People loved my pictures, they had a distinctive style from the rest and I also enjoyed taking pictures it comes naturally, I make people feel comfortable in front of the lenses. I then started moving from events and started traveling more in 2013 getting out of my comfort zone. Plus these events were no longer paying me what I felt I deserved. So I went to Pretoria, East London, Johannesburg, Port Elizabeth, Grahamstown, Mthatha Port St John’s, and Durban looking for raw inspiration from different places and different people. If you had a camera I would approach you and ask for pointers, maybe ask you to rework my shooting settings on my camera and exchange knowledge.
I began exploring other avenues within the photography world, capturing landscapes, learning the concept of street photography, portraits, architecture, fashion, brands etc. All this I did for myself, till last year on the 8th of September 2013 till the 11th of Feb 2014 when I was with LiveMagSA in Cape Town and MoreThanFood.co.za. which are both online magazine’s ,I was contributed for them as a photographer&writer. I then started collaborating with a few artists and photographers like Bra Daki, Katt Daddy, Andy Mkosi, Obie The Real, CallMe Holmes, FlowSweet, LeHydro. No big industry names yet but I’m getting there.
I’m planning on more collaborations from fellow bloggers, brands and creatives, I’ll be studying photography officially at The Cape Town School of Photography in October this year for a brief course till the end of the year, then next year The New York Film Academy for a BA Degree in Filmmaking, I have a clothing line named XVP dropping next year. The plan is to have a production company that matches the marvel status of Bomb Productions, Relativity Media, Newline Cinema, Dimension Films. Don’t forget TocaMe Pictures is Me.
Keep in touch with Xhanti Jafta through the following:
Facebook Page: From Chestnut With Love.
Youtube&Google Plus: Xhanti Jafta.
We from TheCreativePattern would like to thank you Xhanti for breaking down your photography history with us,All the best of with your future endeavours.We leave you with a meaningful quote:
“To photograph is to hold one’s breath, when all faculties converge to capture fleeting reality. It’s at that precise moment that mastering an image becomes a great physical and intellectual joy”~Henri Cartier Bresson