It all started with a rock as a gift, and I do mean literally. One Christmas morning a few years ago, gifts where exchanged. The young girl with nothing but adoration for all her brother, sat there with her gift in her hand, the heaviness of the box drawing the excitement like fireworks ready to light the night sky. Tearing through the wrapping, papers flying overhead like planes shooting off into the wonderland of what possibly could be hidden. There it was, a rock. My Christmas present from my brother at age 15. Not wanting to let the disappointment stir on my face, I thanked him and put the present in my lap. The fireworks died down, planes pulled into the airbase and here I sat running my fingers over the rock. From the daze, I heard a distant call. My brother's voice coming closer, mischief in his walk. Looking up I stared into those bewildered eyes, and from behind his back, he gave me the 3 boxes. My very first, and still the one I use, a camera. By age 15 I had no clue what I wanted to become when I grew up, my brother knowing this saw a passion in my heart to capture, to draw out and to see things differently, an expression complimented by photography.

I made nothing of it in my head to become a photographer. I studied a bit with him, learning how to work my camera. Endless nights we would sit outside waiting for stirring storms to roar. Our hearts waited for a million different possibilities, hoping we could capture a lightning bolt.

Days spent in safaris, looking at animals urging them to play along for the photos. We just wanted to capture the beauty what made them, them. I was mostly in the backseat as my brother explored and expanded his life with colouring it with photography. I never knew how to get as good as he was, so for a while, I stopped.

My family and friends all knew I could take photos and of course, they urged me saying that I really had an eye. I did some matric farewell photoshoots, took my camera with on holidays and photographed my mother's book launch event.

It was in 2018 where I told everyone that this is what I want to do when the year ends, I want to become a photographer. I really don’t know where this thought first sparked or why it even entered my mind. I just knew this is something I would want to do. I dragged my commune people to mini-photo shoots in the middle of socials. I was asked to photograph friends and small events.

Coming into 2019 with a PA job all set up, My mind was set to start photography, and have my work and a sideline job of social media marketing. Life, as it often does, got in the way. Rather this was my ultimate excuss for not wanting to choose to pursue photography fulltime. I continued with my PA work and put photography on the sideline. People knowing that photography was a core aspect of things I've always enjoyed, at one particular outreach I was asked to “snap a few photos” in between. Between painting walls and socializing, I picked up the camera took photos and continued with my painting. I did not realize it then, but that day I painted more than walls, I was painting my future in images captured, possibility peaking through every sound the shutter made.

The weekend after, the one girl named Dimpho came up to me, she was at the outreach with us and said the photos I took was really great. We got into a conversation and I told her I’m a freelance photographer.

2 months later, Dimpho asked if I photograph weddings. With my heart pulsing like a train on tracks, I sent a reply.

This is the start of it all. From a simple rock as a decoy for my brother extending potential in the form of a camera, to starting my business based on a person seeing that same potential in “snaps” that no real thought was put into.

We cannot really say where one thing would lead. As a bee sits on a flower and then goes to the next in his everyday life, a whole garden is appearing over time. It's about doing what we love, what we need to survive. If we do the things we love, some way, show how it will flourish into something beautiful.

The question is, what is the potential someone sees in you? And what garden will you let grow?

Ani - Throne Room