Connecting the dots | Nkima De Faria
‘Under The MAGNIFY Glass’ is our new series talking to extraordinary, yet ordinary women whose passion for life and faith can inspire us all to dream big and dare to fail.
Hindsight is an amazing thing. If we were given the ability to see the path laid out before us, perhaps things in life would be a lot easier. But without life’s unexpected twists and changes, who would we be today?
South African born photographer Nkima De Faria’s childhood was spent immersed in nature, living in a tropical landscape and fostering pet monkeys (!) Then, at 13, she and her family made a bold move across the world to an altogether new environment.
‘In South Africa, my world revolved around the outdoors. We lived right by the river and beach. We would spend days walking around barefoot in the African sun, taking showers in our bamboo shower right by the Sabie river, grabbing a few mangoes from our tree for school lunch.My family would have lots of visitors to stay with us. Me and my sister used to help her press fresh orange juice for the guests all the way from London. Little did we know…’
Although idyllic, life in South Africa was challenging for the family. ‘There were times when it was really hard for my parents to provide to their fullest, and at that point, we had to trust and pray. One time when I was 8 or 9, we didn’t have enough money for bread and milk. I was swimming in the river by our house that day and I felt some strange stones..it turned out to be money. Money that we needed! I remember running up to my mum yelling it’s a miracle!’
A change needed to happen for a better future for her whole family and early into her teenage years, Nkima was forced to adapt with a move to the capital and the big girl shoes came on. Life could not have been more different in a big city and it took her some time to get used to the different culture, weather and surroundings.
‘Growing up, I always used to be the girl behind the camera, obsessed with capturing every detail in my life that I saw beauty in.’ And it was this passion and instinct for photography which played a vital part in her transition into an altogether new way of life. ‘Looking back, this move inspired me to get out of my little bubble and step out of my comfort zone, to reach out and be more confident!’
In fact, it was the encouragement and inspiration of a friend in England that led Nkima to make the bold foray into turning her creative eye into a career. ‘When I was younger and knew I wanted to be a photographer, voices all around me said that it was not a business but a hobby. I was determined to prove them wrong and to be the very best version of myself. I can see now that South Africa has influenced me. I love bright and airy images and think my style is very focused on landscapes, not just the subject. Living like the Family Robinson really made me appreciate life and the quality of it. It’s not what you have, it’s how you embrace the life that you have given to you.’
The change of living in London, though scary, was the catalyst to Nkima realising her dream and chasing it. It made me be the independent woman I am today. London pushed me and taught me to be strong in who I am.’
WORDS BY Hannah Lancaster
PHOTOGRAPHY BY Nkima De Faria