35-year-old Pako Kevin Tetlanyo Lesejane has established himself as one of the country’s best photographers.
From behind the lens, the bespectacled Mochudi native has the uncanny ability to breathe life into even the most mundane of settings.
For the first time ever, Lesejane, who is also known for his love of adventure and travel writing, will showcase his work in a two-week solo exhibit scheduled to start on the 2nd of July at Thapong Visual Arts Centre.
Q. Apart from your camera, what essential tools do you take with you on your travels?
The first thing I make sure I have is my survival kit, which is the most crucial thing for any expedition.
It contains my First Aid Kit, fire lighter or waterproof matches, a multi-tool mostly Leatherman brand or Swiss Army Knife, a torch and a rope.
These are the things I must carry in case things don’t go as planned!
Q. How did you become a professional photographer?
Photography started of as a hobby.
I grew up surrounded by cameras but I never thought I would end up as a photographer.
In 2005 I sold photographs to The Midweek Sun, which made the front page and I was hired as a freelance photographer after that.
In 2006 I started school at the National College of Photography while still at Botswana Guardian and The Midweek Sun, where I worked for five years.
Then I joined The Voice Newspaper as Chief Photographer for three years before rejoining Botswana Guardian and The Midweek Sun again as Photo Editor, where I still work today.
Photography is a profession to me and not a hobby anymore.
I even do it outside work where I practice fine art photography.
Q. How do you finance your passion for photography?
As a photojournalist I get paid by my employer and outside work I do fine art photography which is bought by those who appreciate art.
It is not easy making a living with fine art photography in Botswana.
I have actually made better money outside the country than here at home.
Q. Whose work has had the greatest influence on you?
Well I look at many artists’ works especially those who practice fine art photography.
Ansel Adams is one to look at, Martin Osner, Sandy Mclea to name a few.
Q. Exactly what is it you want to say through your photographs?
My art carries a lot of emotions mainly depending on the subjects.
I have a passion for landscape photography and fine art photography.
Landscapes, if well photographed, always drop people’s jaws so I want them to see themselves in those particular places just by looking at a photograph.
With fine art it’s a completely different story as the photographs carry the feelings of an artists but what is most important to me is being able to share my skills of art before evoking people’s feelings on the image.
Q. What are the challenges involved with landscape photography?
Full frame cameras are ideal for landscapes even though a cropped sensor can do the trick but a full frame camera is the best gadget for me and they are pricey.
Another challenge is studying the weather of where you are going to photograph.
Sometimes you do not have enough time to wait for the weather!
Q. What motivates you to take pictures?
Basically for me everything comes with my mood.
f I don’t feel like taking pictures I don’t.
If I am sad I don’t take photographs because the photograph will resemble my feelings at the time of the photo shoot.
Sometimes I just wake up and feel so happy to photograph, that’s when I jump in the car, take a drive and look for interesting subjects.
Q. Five things people don’t know about you?
- I am an aviation lover
- I love documentaries
- I love snakes but am a bit scared of them
- I can be very, very quiet
- I love speed