Through urban’s Eyes: The View From her Camera
Sharpile to @_thanda_ aka Thanda Kunene for asking great questions of such an inspirational young South African creative, urbanmosadi. We ♥ the way urban describes why she loves living in Cape Town as well as her nickname for Johannesburg… and our favourite line from the interview has to be… “I seem to thrive outside of my comfort-zone, and in this case being away from home, is the only way I grow.” Representahs, make sure to shift your comfort zone every now and then – while you can, and always DO what you love. We’ll leave it up to Thanda and Urban to convince you: Tiisetso Molobi AKA Urban Mosadi is an ever-changing soul with plenty of thoughts and silent serenity. She speaks deeply about her love of photography and the need for vintage in one’s life…
The name is Urban Mosadi. How did it come into existence?
urbanmosadi (with the lower case) urbanwoman. I needed to open up a new email account and I needed a name that described who I was, and what I wanted to become. Mosadi means woman. The t.molobi@blahblah was really not an option for me. For the longest time I have been a tom-boy, so wanting to blossom into a woman/lady one day, made it easy for me to stick with the word and name. I have had this alias for about 5 years now. Although I still have tom-boy tendencies, I feel like I’m evolving into this urbanmosadi I envisioned years back successfully.
You now reside in the windy city of Cape Town. What made you change scenery from Joburg which is also your home town?
I’m a rolling stone. The moment I am in myJoHo for too long I start getting ants in my dashiki pants…lol. After coming back from living in Los Angeles for most of last year (2009) I wanted to find a place that I could connect with back home, Capetown is alot like LA, or LA is alot like Capetown. Lots of landscape similarities, I reckon the C in Capetown definitely stands for Creativity. I love that about this city. Call it what you will Slaapstad, Apetown Little Europe, but there is an organic creative buzz about this town. I also love that folks out here are mad stylish. I love love that. But over and above that, I needed a place that would be kind to my heart. I seem to thrive outside of my comfort-zone, and in this case being away from home, is the only way I grow. I never understood the “cut throat” term used to describe myJoHo…I still don’t. I’m actually starting to like the 4Season-in-one-day weather going on out here, I find it funny actually.
Speaking of photography, what made you become interested in becoming a photographer? Why not a lawyer or doctor? (Or any other career?)
That’s a very good question that. What did make me become interested in photography? I actually don’t know. It would probably make more sense to say how I have adored Annie Leibowitz and Paul Strand for the longest time, but the truth is, I didn’t even know about these famous photographers before this year. *wants to run and hide in shame* I remember while studying for my Advertising degree majoring in Graphic Design 3 years ago, my mother saying to me, “you know Tee, you might even end up doing something completely different to what you are studying now.” I was skeptical & faithless almost, and thought it impossible. But I guess, it’s true, mothers do know best. While out in LA I started blogging again on the regular, and decided to one day buy a proper SLR digital camera to try take better images. I also met a professional ‘grapher that used to take amazing shots of us riding around the city on our bikes. Meeting Scott Schuman was instrumental. Meeting and shooting Mark the cobrasnake, Fanie Jason and support from my family has affirmed a talent I keep discovering. Also, Graphic design and photography are creative cousins – suppose it was an organic career shift. I could never be a lawyer or a doctor, ever. I’m a creative.
Out of the photo shoots you have worked on, which three have captured your “eye” the most?
Well, I wouldn’t really call what I have done photo-shoots, but they are photography assignments I have given myself for blog content. Live gigs are my favourite, during the day or in dark low lit clubs, I heart snapping my favourite artists on stage doing their shit. I’m also a shy ‘Grapher, so inconspicuous corners suit my personality best. So, I would have to say the Wazwa Vol.1 at the Bassline in myJoHo, The Cape town Jazz Festival and The Kronk x Nike x Shelflife party were pretty epic in terms of photo-blogging. Working on other small collabo’s with other taste-makers gets me going.
Would you trade your camera and its accessories just to be with your secret “crush” ?
I have many crushes! Lol. My girlfriends and I were laughing at my many male distractions, we all couldn’t keep up. A close friend gave me such shit for having all these ‘silly’ crushes, I also got a ‘hate’ mail about it too. Bleh. Back to the question at hand. Nope.
Your music taste differs on a very wide-scale. What are you currently listening to and which five songs could you say are the most favoured?
This is an impossible question to answer in a way that will satisfy my soul. I’m currently listening to alot of stuff, lol. Led Zepplin, DirtyParrafin, Zaki Ibrahim, The New Badu, The Old Badu, Drake, DomKennedy, Pangea, LittleJoy, The Milkman Mix, and of-course the Blk Jks. #HeavyRotation
Top 5 Songs of all time : 1. Saturn – Stevie Wonder, 2. Fernando – ABBA, 3. , Everything by Donny Hathaway, 4. Jump – Kris Kross 5. Ibokwe – Thandisa Mazwai
Top 5 Songs currently : 1. Zaki Ibrahim – Computer girl, 2. Dirty Paraffin – Ok!Sharp MalumeKoolkat, 3. Led Zepplin – Whole lotta Love 4. Flying Lotus – Flight 5. Blk Jks – Cursor
You are a true admirer of vintage clothing and its scenery. What inspired the love?
VintageVixen comes out now and then…lol That’s my other other pseudo persona. I’ve always been a shopper and dressing up comes with that. I used to 2nd hand shop in highschool in downtown JoHo. But I find that I’m much more into what my mother and late father used to wear years ago in terms of style. My entire family loves clothes. I’m wearing brands my parent’s generation adorned but i’m also a huge fan of local brands. Something magical happens when I’m in a once off assemble. What I mean by that is, no one will be seen wearing exactly what you found. Finding and digging for pieces in smelly ‘vintage’ stores is hella satisfying. I love that, it’s even better when you can share that experience w/ a friend. It’s WonderYears material.
In your field of work are there any major competitors as opposed to most fields of work?
Competitors are all around, in all industries. In mine, the creative industry, most of the time your own friends are your competitors or clients, the man is one, but for me, I’m my own competitor, I’m my own biggest critic, so I gravitate to pushing myself. Infact, that’s how creatives vibe anyways.
As a professional photographer, what would your dream photo shoot consist of and why?
“As a Professional photographer”…I’m flattered that you would describe me as one. I’m more a student , learning to take decent photographs. I’m actually studying photography. But my dream photo shoot would be traveling with my favourite band at the moment, the Blk Jks. Style and document musical history as it continues to unfolds with Banna bana ba Modimo. Exhibit the moments captured and have a tangible end product in the form of Picture book an urbanmosadi x Blk Jks collabo. I love these boys, I feel their music, what they stand for and represent in our time. We live in hope. But if that fails to happen, I can settle for a photo shoot w/ Vashite, Anna Wintour, and Kanye under the bridge in Newtown myJoHo wearing all 100% Local brands and styled by me.
Tiisetso T Molobi :: thee urbanmosadi ::