“If you lose hope, somehow you lose the vitality that keeps you moving, you lose that courage to be, that quality that helps you go on in spite of it all. And so today I still have a dream.” – Martin Luther King
Vitoto Sakhrie is a man with many strings to his bow. He is a self-taught creative graphic designer, serves at his local church, and is now somebody who counts photography as one of his biggest interests – particularly since he rekindled a dead but intense childhood dream from a decade ago.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I was born and brought up in Kohima in a big family. So big that people often recognize us by just our ‘serial number’ among the kids. I am the 9th oldest kid in the family and am 35 years old. I am currently working as a graphic designer in our church at Kohima and just started work as a freelance photographer
Is photography your full-time occupation?
I am a full-time church worker. I love my job as a graphic designer and also my new found passion for photography. It’s not easy doing both but right now my priority is where my assigned job is. I am hoping that one day I will be comfortable doing both.
What sparked your interest in photography?
I’ve always had a keen interest in the arts. I think I’ve been drawing ever since I could remember. I once participated in an art competition when I was in the 7th standard, and ended up winning the first prize! Since then I knew I wanted to become an artist and pursue a career in the field of fine arts. I had to abandoned my dreams of becoming an artist by the time I graduated from college because of personal reasons. I was literally lost and aimless after that.
Fast forward to a decade, I find myself in my church putting in work as a full-time creative graphic designer without any prior training. I picked up photography during this state of limbo, where I was still figuring things out and kept that aside as a mere hobby. Then, a friend of mine thought my photographs were really good and asked if I could shoot her sister’s wedding. I did that and uploaded some pictures to Instagram. The rest is history! It’s been a year since then and after all those years of hanging a dead dream around my heart, I think I may have finally found my canvas.
Where do you draw your inspiration from?
I draw a lot of inspiration from various artists and photographers who aren’t necessarily famous. Mostly, it’s artists whose work catches my fancy. But, I believe that everyone is creative in their own way. By that, I do mean everyone because we have been created that way. So I believe in tapping into that God-gifted ability to create my own work. God forbid should I plagiarize someone else’s work.
What do you hope people take away from your photographs?
A moment lost is a moment gone forever. So, I try to capture the most precious of these moments for others to see them through my eye. I hope that when people look at my photographs they would not only enjoy looking at the images but they also see that every moment in life is precious and that it counts.
What gets you particularly excited about pursuing photography?
As soon as I discover or learn something new in photography, I immediately want to try that out on any subject that is close by. My family members have mostly been my victims and they have also been the most supportive victims.
“It excites me when I get to test my photography skills on an assignment through trial and error because that’s where I learn the most. The thought that I would eventually get better at this keeps me going.”
Tell us about a project or a photograph from your recent work that you are particularly proud of.
I can distinctly think of a recent portrait I shot of my mother. She has seen and lived through years of pain and hardships. I am glad that I was able to capture her laughing.
What has been your greatest challenge while pursuing your passion for photography?
That would definitely be being able to afford some good gears. I bought my first camera, a second hand Nikon DSLR in 2013, upgraded to another used entry-level camera in 2015 which stopped working when people started hiring me (talk about bad luck). So, I’ve mostly been covering events and weddings on borrowed cameras from friends who have been gracious enough to lend cameras out to me.
What are your charges for one photoshoot?
I am still yet to get into full-time professional photography. So, I still struggle with trying to fix my rates. Most of the times I’m just happy that I’m getting paid anything at all for something that I love doing.
You can follow Vitoto’s photography work and connect with him for further enquiries on his Instagram
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