Continuing with our #SupportAfricanCreatives Initiative, it is only fitting for us to bring you creatives who are based in Africa, who we feel are making big strides in their respective industries. With so much creativity abound on the continent, we’re inspired everyday by creatives who produce work
In our most recent interview, we spoke to Tanzanian photographer Osse Greca Sinare, whose work we stumbled across through Instagram. We instantly loved his work which often features vibrant, loud colours, intense backgrounds and well thought out props.
The photographer talks to us about how it all started, the best places to visit while in Tanzania, and the best advice he received to date!
MoonLook: Hi Osse. Thank you for taking the time to do this interview! Very much appreciated.
Osse Greca Sinare: No… its honestly an honour for me be interviewed by moonlook.
M: When people ask, “what do you do?” what do you tell them?
OGS: I respond with I am a fashion & Portrait photographer! but I also do videography, and graphic designing so sometimes I find myself explaining a bit more into what exactly I do.
Tell me a little bit about your childhood. Where did you grow up and what are some of your fondest memories?
OGS: I was born and raised in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, which is the place I spend most of my young years, some of my fondest memories were building small cars from junk and slippers with my friends in my neighbourhood, I think that’s where I found the joy of creating.
M: Why photography? Did you always know that you were going to go into it growing up or is it something that just happened?
OGS: It was actually never photography! *Laughs* I never thought I would become a photographer, as no one in my family was one. I stumbled upon photography when I was in university in Kuala lumpur, Malaysia as I was doing my Degree in Business Computing Specializing in Management. While I was doing my degree, I felt that I was lacking the feeling I had when I did Art and Design in high school. So I decided to pick up Graphic Design & Photography & that’s when my journey began. Definitely a lot of sleepless nights learning from youtube and online websites!
M: Tell me a bit about your technique and the equipment you use. Do you have a favourite camera?
OGS: In terms of my technique, I am forever changing and adapting & I try to not get comfortable with my style so I keep challenging myself constantly to create differently. But my equipment doesn’t change much. I use my Trusty Canon 5d Mark iii, and some of my favorite lens’ are Sigma 35mm f1.4, Canon 50mm f1.8 and Canon 85mm f1.8
M: What mediums do you work with? And what type of subject matter are you drawn to?
OGS: Currently I do a lot of digital work, but I am looking to shift to print medium. Speaking of print, I’m working on my first exhibition this year called “Solace” which will be launching on the 18th of March. I am drawn to colourful, striking fashion portraits.
M: Tell me about your very first photo-shoot (if you can remember it!) What was it and how did you feel being behind a camera?
OGS: My very first photoshoot wasn’t as exciting as the stuff I do now, but it was definitely a learning process. A lot of my first shoots were shot in Malaysia with classmates or uni friends. I was still learning so I didn’t feel nervous or have any reputation I had to live up to, so it was a lot of fun, I felt at home.
M: Do you see your work as autobiographical at all? Does personal history work its way into your practice?
Currently not as I am still exploring photography and the different directions I can take. My history of always creating and building stuff definitely comes in handy in a lot of my shoots. Plus I’ve always been someone who imagines and thinks a lot so now this helps me visualize a lot of my shoots before I actually do them.
M: When coming up with a new photo shoot concept, how do you approach the process?
OGS: I usually start off with an image from a shoot I have seen that has inspired me. Then I create a moodboard to create the direction of the shoot. After that I meet with my creative team and see how each person can bring the ideas to life.
M: How do you unwind after completing a shoot or project?
OGS: Usually a great glass of wine or sundowners by the beach does the trick for me.
M: What are you currently inspired by – are there particular things you are reading, watching or listening to that fuel your work?
Currently I am very inspired by African fashion & models, other photographers, and art.
M: Name one thing you don’t think you can live without.
OGS: I would definitely say my mind or eyes.
M: Do you currently have a studio you can call your own? If yes, what does having this physical space to make your art in mean for your process, and how do you make your space work for you?
OGS: Yes I do! It’s awesome having a space because whenever an idea rushes into my mind I know I can work on it straight away. I also have a team of very creative people around at the studio that I can bounce ideas off of which really helps keep the creativity flowing.
M: What’s the photography world like in Dar es Salaam? Do you think it’s grown since you first started out?
OGS: The photography world in Dar es salaam is still at its infancy but I am positive about the growth. We have a lot of talented people and everyone is working really hard to present their best work whenever possible. It has grown so much since I got back 3 years ago; there has definitely been a boom!
M: From all the pictures and photo shoots you’ve created, do you have a favourite that you always go back to and think ‘I really like what I did there!’ If yes, which one and why?
OGS: Yes there is one photoshoot I did for one of my first magazine shoots for ‘Hot in Dar Magazine’ for Vanessa Mdee (she’s an Award winning musician). I always go back to that cause it reminds of a different time, before anyone knew about my work.
M: What would be your ultimate dream shoot?
OGS: My ultimate dream shoot would be to shoot a fashion editorial for an international magazine. I can’t wait for that to happen!
M: Are there any artists/ photographers (from Tanzania or otherwise) whose work you really admire at the moment?
M: What’s a typical day like in the life of Osse?
OGS: Just like any other photographer would say, ‘A typically day in the life of Osse is a lot of Post Production!’ *Laughs*
M: Are there any particular places in Tanzania you would highly recommend people to visit while there?
OGS: There are so many beautiful places to visit and also the weather is lovely here. I would definitely recommend for people to visit Arusha & Moshi. Didn’t want to say Zanzibar because I am sure everyone knows about how beautiful Zanzibar is already.
M: If you could invite one artist for dinner, living or dead, who would it be and why?
Casey Neistat, dude’s just awesome!
M: What are the biggest struggles you’ve had to face since taking up photography and how do you deal with them?
OGS: People under valuing the creativity of photographers or creators from African countries. And usually the people under valuing us are our own country-men and women. Only way to beat this is by always pushing the boundaries and creating outstanding work 100% of the time.
M: What are you most proud of?
OGS: I am proud of being able to create a team at OGS Studios, it has definitely kept me motivated to keep pushing forward.
M: How would you describe yourself in one word?
M: Now how would you describe your work in one word?
M: What do you want your photography to do for people?
OGS: Inspire people to follow their dreams and do what they love.
M: Is there something you are currently working on, or excited about starting that you can tell me about?
OGS: Working on my Exhibition! Super excited about it.
M: What are some important things young photographers should know in order to get, and retain clients?
OGS: Be consistent with your work and get a manager or someone who can handle the business side of things so you can stick to creating. You will enjoy the photography business so much more.
M: Any advice you would give those who are just starting out?
OGS: Be like a sponge; take as much information in as you can and be open to criticism so you can improve and also shoot as much as you can!
M: Can you remember the best piece of advice you received? Who was it from?
OGS: Keep creating and executing constantly and don’t stop to hear the noise. It was from my team mate Junior Sam.
M: Are you currently involved in any shows or events? If yes when and where?
OGS: Not yet but I am currently work on doing an exhibition in Cape Town.
M: And finally, what’s the one question you wish people would ask you in an interview but never do?
OGS: Can you dance? *Osse responds by busting out some moves!* lol!
Thank You Osse! It’s been a pleasure!
See Osse’s full photoshoot here.