Exploring the African Narrative

The aim is to tell a story that your audience can both see and feel

Portrait of Self

You have a great passion for Zimbabwe, your home country, tell us why…

In such a diverse climate, both culturally and environmentally, I grew up with an appetite to explore the unseen and less travelled routes of Zimbabwe. One could spend a lifetime exploring Zim and still find new and amazing places that demand exploration. My passion is to show the rest of the world that it’s not just another developing nation with an uncertain future, but also an exciting destination with an amazing diversity of cultures, landscapes and wildlife that make it a crown jewel for adventure in Africa.

 How would you aptly describe your other passion for exploring and expressing 'The African Narrative’?

With over ten years of collective experience as a photographer and filmmaker, Timothy Marks enjoys the challenges of large-scale production as well as the triumphs of small personal projects with his focus always on exploring and telling the African Narrative.

My passion for exploring this vast and wild continent is the driving force behind my personal and professional work as filmmaker and photographer. It takes patience, perseverance and determination to explore this vast narrative. I am passionate about exploring the remotest places and people that have had very little exposure to modernisation. Africa is a melting pot for cultural clashes, from traditional practices and beliefs to western postmodernism and pop culture, which is how you get a beautiful mix that can only be described as African.

 How does your background in film influence your work as a photographer?

As a filmmaker, you are taught to look at an image in a sequence of moving images as opposed to a photographer who sees a single image standing on its own. There is also the element of sound that is so crucial to filmmaking that doesn't come into the photographic realm as much. Filmmaking is in many ways like photography, in that technical knowledge needs to be coupled with artistic experimentation. The aim is to tell a story that your audience can both see and feel.

What personal attributes and skills do you think one needs to capture good photographs?

Patience, determination and perseverance are crucial elements that all photographers need to grasp. It does help to have a technical understanding of photography, however, having an eye for photography is something that cannot be taught, it is more intuitive.

What are some of the challenges and triumphs of your job as a photographer?

Challenges can vary from people-related to technical limitations, but challenges should be a welcomed norm as a photographer, and you should not shy away from them. Some of the greatest triumphs I have personally experienced as a photographer have risen from the greatest challenges.

Do you think the art of capturing images is an innate gift or a craft that is learned through experience?

I believe it is a bit of both. You can have raw talent and capture outstanding pictures, but have very little technical understanding of how you did it. You can also have a very technically good photographer that knows how to work their equipment to capture a good image, but they lack a creative eye to find the “wow” factor.

 If a picture speaks a thousand words, which of your images tells the best story?

 One of my first pictures, ‘Clouds of Glory’. When I took this picture, I had just started out in photography and had very little technical or artistic knowledge. I was at Mahamara Reserve (about 120 kilometres outside of Harare) and had been fishing for bass all day when a huge thunderstorm formed overhead. The cloud formation was truly unique; the way the light from the sunset was captured in the clouds was nothing short of biblical.

What are your thoughts on the evolution of photography with the influence of social media and Instagram?

The ability to take a picture and share it across different global platforms is astounding! It opens you up to a whole community of like-minded creative people that are as interested in photography, and it is accessible to everyone - from the amateur to the serious photographer. It also allows you to view inspiring images, which pushes you to take better pictures and tell better stories.

What is your advice to aspiring photographers? 

“Find out what you’re passionate about and you will never have to work another day in your life.” This is not only a life principle but also a photographic principle. Find out what genre of photography you love taking pictures of, and start! As you take more and more pictures, you will find out what works and what doesn’t work. Don’t be afraid of experimenting, work at it until you get it right, and never give up.

To view more of Timothy Marks’ work or to contact him visit: