Master of the lens, 29-year-old Maitham Basha-Agha is a sought-after socialite photographer. The travelling photojournalist, who lived in Iraq until the age of 12, currently calls Botswana home, where he ranks amongst the very best in the photography industry.
If you had the chance for a ‘do-over’ in life, what would you do differently?
I wouldn’t ‘do a do-over’ because I believe I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for my childhood and the roads after.
I was born in a war zone and living under the Saddam Hussein regime was an everyday survival. I learned how to care; I learned how to fight; I learned how to be humble – and most importantly, it taught me how to be a storyteller.
What are you most proud of?
I am very proud of where I am today in my career because I get to meet and take photos of many unique people each and every day.
What do you think of body shaming?
With the rise of social media users, more and more people are using platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to attack others. ‘She’s fat’ or ‘She’s too skinny’, that’s the first thing people will comment when looking at someone.
Due to cyber-bullying, many have committed suicide simply because they were not accepted into society by their peers. We must have a clear mind and tell the future generations that this is not OK!
Education from an early age is the way to go. We cannot look at someone differently just because they don’t have the same body genes.
How do you spend your free time?
I am a creative so I don’t really have much free time. I’m always busy and always up early too. I get up at 5:00am every day, including weekends. I get on my computer and I write my agenda and prepare for my shoots.
What do you want your tombstone to say?
“I was not a photographer, I was a humanitarian.”
What are you most afraid of?
I am afraid of heights for sure. A friend of mine was talking to me about her skydiving trip and how she enjoyed it and I immediately asked her to stop talking about it!
What is the one thing you wish creatives would do in Botswana?
I tried to fight for the creatives here and how they should approach business but at the end of the day it seems like there is a community that I don’t belong in.
People always tell me, “You are white, you are here to take my job.” I don’t really talk much about it anymore.
Five things people don’t know about you?
I was born and raised in Iraq until the age of 12
I lived in four countries and travelled to 11
I am a big Chelsea supporter
I am an extrovert
I am a return Peace Corps volunteer