L’Alliance Francaise de Gaborone has an ongoing competition in which the first prize will afford the photographer a chance to showcase and sell his or her work at a prestigious gallery in Paris, with the flight ticket and accommodation paid for.
As yet another initiative to promote the French language and culture in Botswana, the competition, which is themed ‘Planet Women-a photographic vision of women in/on the world’, is open for submissions at their Gaborone office and the deadline is the 26th of August.
Such an opportunity is not a regular occurrence in Botswana. What is even more interesting about this competition is that one of the prerequisites to entry is that professional photographers are not allowed to take part, neither is there discrimination by gender, age or nationality.
All that is required is that you have a camera, just as long as it is not a cell phone camera for the sake of quality.
These days, Batswana are becoming more interested in photography although the trend over the years has been such that most of us go to school and get degrees in other fields like engineering, accounting, law, etc. Photography in our country is largely a hobby that gets picked up later on in life.
Recently, we have become very keen and passionate photographers to the extent that there is even a photography industry that has erupted.
In that regard, a competition of this type is timely because it is bound to positively impact on our photographers and elevate them to a higher level through exposure to an international market of such caliber.
“Last year the theme was ‘I am 20 in my country’; it ended with a beautiful exhibition at the Louis Vuitton Cultural Centre in Paris this January and due to its success, it has now become an annual event,” said Daphne Batlhoki of L’Allince Francaise de Gaborone. “We will pick one winner from Botswana who will compete internationally to get a chance to exhibit his or her work in a French gallery.”
The primary objective of the competition is really to give a chance to all those that have a desire to express themselves through photography, whatever their academic or economic background.
The fact that it is so easy to borrow a camera from a friend means that a lot of people can have a shot at the competition although this does not rule out the fact that one still needs an artistic eye and a sincere wish to learn how to capture the winning picture.
As it is an annual competition, everyone who takes part in it gets the chance to network with different professionals in the arts field. It may even be a stepping stone into a career in photography.
“We strongly believe that photography has a lot of potential in Botswana. Cameras are becoming a lot more accessible and our country is very inspiring from a photographic point of view, and for this reason we are expecting a satisfying response from Batswana, with the support of media to publicise the competition, I see no reason why Batswana wouldn’t be quick to grab such an opportunity,” said Batlhoki.
Given the big chance that comes with winning, L’Alliance Francaise de Gaborone is looking forward to working with those passionate Batswana who really invest their time and talent in educating the nation through photography.