Photographer and cinematographer Zane Titizana grew up “all around Jo’burg”: in the inner city, Hillbrow and Soweto, to be precise. He works at the digital communication agency, Five Star Media.
Titizana’s talent and drive attracted the attention of Five Star’s Daron Chatz three years ago. He saw Chatz shooting in Maboneng and offered to assist (free of charge). Soon enough he landed a full-time, paying job as a junior director of photography at the agency.
Chatz isn’t the only industry hotshot to have noticed him: Titizana is mentored by award-winning director Dean Blumberg.
This year, Titizana was nominated for a South African Film and Television award in the Best Youth Programme category for an episode called Game Ranging on the show Teenagers on a Mission.
In a marriage of different art forms, Titizana’s recent short documentary on Jo’burg-based glass artist and lighting designer Stephen Pikus is itself a triumph of lighting and photography.
As well as his film work, Titizana is developing his passion for photography. His Jo’burg Streets compilation showcases portraits of homeless people, through which he aims to raise awareness of homelessness, as well as accord his subjects dignity by, for example, shooting them with proper lighting.
Titizana wants his work to give youth from the townships the confidence to chase their dreams, mostly in arts. At his high school, in Soweto, there were no extra-mural activities; he would like to change this by running a film and photography programme.
What advice would he give his younger self? “I would tell myself that I should be more confident and believe in myself,” Titizana says. That’s certainly something he has learned — his Twitter bio is short and to the point. “Visual genius,” it proclaims.