Sisterpreneur: Fify Loewen
A great part of what made me want to find out more about 24 year old photographer Kefilwe Loewen from Gaborone, Botswana, was from the detail and emotion in her photography.
One look at Photos by Fify and you can tell that Fify, captures the spirit, love and emotions in every shot she takes. Fify’s first name Kefilwe is a Tswana name for gift (literally translated as ‘I am given’) and Loewen (pronounced lo-wen) is German for Lion.
” Apart from being a full time home executive, CEO , portrait and wedding photographer, I’m in love with and married to one husband, Matt Loewen. I have two sisters- I’m the middle child.”
I recently got in touch with Fify and she answered a few questions about her photography. Read on.
How old were you when you first found an interest in photography and what were your first subjects?
My interest in photography came late in life. I’ve always liked arts, especially performing arts. I pursued a Media degree at the University of Botswana. In 2007 an exchange lecturer brought in a young man named Shabba to teach photography basics to anyone interested. Two of us took this up. I enjoyed it but after this, the interest was forgotten. It was only during my last semester in that I really developed an interest for photography. This happened when I was doing my final project, which happened to be a bridal magazine. My first ever subjects were at a Miss Botswana pageant where I practised shooting at night. I have been shooting for 8 months now.
What does photography mean to you?
Photography for me is an act of worship to my Creator. I get to really see people and appreciate their uniqueness once I get behind the lens. Photography for me means connecting with people in a way that no one has ever connected with them and getting them to really appreciate the purposes that they were created for. It means documenting those fleeting moments that are so hard to freeze in this fast-paced day that we live in, and showing the world the beautiful people that we have in Botswana and Africa.
Did you go to school to learn photography or are you self taught?
Apart from those few days with Shabba in 2007, whatever I know now is self-taught, coming from a lot of hours spent researching and practicing.
What made you take the leap into professional photography and who was your greatest influence?
I realized after doing an internship during the course of my degree that I did not enjoy the practising part of it. I wanted to do something more meaningful, flexible and challenging. This combined with the realization that there was a gap/niche in the market for the vision that God had given me, I took the leap. But it was not easy since we don’t exactly grow up being encouraged to pursue creative vocations. My husband was my biggest influencer and supporter, still is. He encouraged me to dare to be different and not fear to follow what I knew to be right. Artistically I’m influenced by people like Jasmine Star (USA) and Christine Meintjes (South Africa).
How do you describe your photographic style?
My style is very relaxed, spontaneous and very focused on the subject. Where relevant I capture the Ethnic/African element boldly, I absolutely love it! I feed a lot from the subjects at that particular moment, and where they are in their lives. I try to capture their personalities then translate their life experiences and stories into photographs.
Writers sometimes experience writers block, do you find yourself in a ‘photo block’ (for a lack of a better word) and how do you get out of it?
I haven’t reached that point yet because I make it a point to shoot for fun, yet professionally. But I do keep going by making sure that I take time off to myself, reading the Word, going through the endless list of blogs with amazing work and having fun projects,where I try out new things, and the fact that every person that I shoot has a different story and experience makes it almost impossible to run out of ideas, so far.
What one thing haven’t you shot yet but you always wanted to?
The one thing that I’ve always wanted to shoot has to be a destination wedding. I hope to do this one day.
What has been your most memorable photo shoot?
This is a tough one. A few shoots come to mind but my most memorable one has to be the one with Boineelo. Everything seemed to be going wrong at the last minute, I was tired but somehow the Lord pulled me through and the result was fantastic. And Boineelo was great to shoot, great attitude and very unique looking.
What kind of impression do you hope to leave upon others who see your photographs?
The impression I hope to leave is one of realness. I want people to feel something, not just appreciate the technicality of my photographs. I want them to see my subjects as I see them, individuals uniquely and wonderfully made.
What are your long term goals with your photography?
In the long-term I hope to build lasting relationships with my clients, build a world-class brand and help other people, especially women, to discover their God-given purpose and worth.
You are pursuing your passion, any advice to women out there about making their dreams a reality?
I would say start somewhere, don’t sell yourself short and stay true to who you are, make no compromise. For me personally, getting my priorities right works well too. By this I mean loving God, my husband then my business. Having this any other way is disastrous.