We're proud to partner with Exposure Toronto on this new series of artist features. Exposure Toronto was founded in 2020 as a not-for-profit organization focusing on the amplification of Black creatives within the photography industry. Their community and studio are built to provide a safe and accessible space as well as financial, physical resources and opportunities.
We want to get to know these talented artists involved and support Exposure Toronto in highlighting the artists' work and thoughts. We've sent Exposure Toronto some Lomography films and Art Lenses for their photographers to play with. Today, we're featuring Shaza Tariq, a fashion and documentary photographer, and her photos with LomoChrome Metropolis.
Hi Shaza, welcome to the Lomography Magazine. Please introduce yourself to our readers in your own words.
Thank you for the opportunity to be featured! My name is Shaza, and I'm a Black femme photo maker. I love working with color-grading and aspects of visual storytelling to create fashion and documentary photos that are lasting!
How did you find your passion for photography?
I think I've always had a camera attached to my hip whether on my phone or a physical camera from a young age. My parents encouraged me to take a weekend photography workshop in high school, and I fell even more in love with it. I saved up and bought my first camera in 2018, and I would travel between cities after work and on my weekends to Toronto to connect with creatives.
What's your favorite thing to shoot and why?
I don't think it reflects in this shoot, but I love to photograph behind-the-scenes. There's something really peaceful about slipping away into the background of a set, talking to the crew, and capturing them at work. The photographs are always candid and real to me, and I feel like it's important to convey and showcase that side of photography too where we see the hard work and effort of creatives.
Where do you draw your inspiration from?
It's tough to parse that out since lately it feels like I'm inspired by whatever piques my interest at the moment. But I have been trying to more time to be considerate and critical about what I consume, and identify what really speaks to me.
What are some of the struggles/obstacles you've personally experienced as a young, female, black photographer in this industry?
To be honest, I'm still trying to find my own voice. One struggle I've personally experienced is learning to set my own pace and stick to it. I really want to slow down and take my time to learn how to be a great technical photographer and storyteller; for me to be able to do that, I'm learning that I have to check in with myself whenever I feel overwhelmed. Saying no to opportunities when they don't feel right, and also trusting in myself to do what feels right. I am hard on myself in many ways, because I always want to put my best foot forward and I know I'm capable of doing so.
“I think my resolution in my creative career is to own my mistakes and celebrate my wins as fully as I can. There are some hard and life-long lessons I'm so thankful to have learned this early on, and I want to contribute to providing a safer educational environment for other aspiring photographers down the road.”
How did you find out about Exposure Toronto and what has your experience been working with them so far?
I have nothing bad to say ever about the Exposure Toronto team. They've become such an integral part of so many Black photographers' lives in Toronto, it's so beautiful to see how they have grown!
Tell us a little bit about this beautiful series you shot on LomoChrome Metropolis. What camera/lens did you use and how did you plan this shoot on a film stock you tried for the first time?
I shot this series on a Canon 3000N film camera mainly with a 50mm prime lens, as well as some Diana F+ plastic lenses. To prepare, I watched a lot of videos on how the film stock looked in a studio setting and outside at different times of the day! I also paid close attention to recommendations that different photographers provided on some color palettes that would be interesting to play with when using LomoChrome Metropolis!
What do you like about shooting film in particular?
A part of what I love about shooting film is how it pushes you to slow down. I recently learned how to use a light meter, and it made me realize just how much goes into composing one film image!
What would be the biggest compliment someone could give you about your photography?
The biggest compliment someone could give me about my photography would be an honest and genuine response - without pretense, and as vulnerable as possible. Everyone is bound to perceive art differently; we all come from different places and have our own individual experiences that shape our likes/dislikes. I know it's something that I have to work to receive, but I know that hearing someone's true opinion is the highest compliment I could ever get.
Do you have some advice for younger aspiring photographers who want to find their visual voice?
I think I'm in the midst of finding my own visual voice, but this is what's worked for me, and maybe it could give insight to anyone else out there!
It was important for me to find myself again. Around the time that I started to dig deeper into photography was the same time that I was dealing with many incredibly personal shifts, losses, and new growths in my life. I started to notice little things about my personality and how my mind worked that I didn't fully pay attention to before.
“It was only through these continued periods of self-honesty and vulnerability that I started to see more clearly what it was I needed, and how it was that I saw the world at present - and ask myself what I wanted to change and keep the same.”
A lot of my visual voice so far has been coming from studying and practicing the technical aspects as much as possible, but it's just as much (and not quantifiably so) about sitting with myself, re-learning parts of myself, and just living in the way that's going to be healthy.