Simbarashe Cha is a talented Photographer and Filmmaker who is a spontaneous traveler and has visited Amsterdam twice for leisure, staying at Zoku both times.
How long have you stayed at Zoku, and what were you thoughts?
I don’t recall how long I stayed the first time but it wasn’t long. The second time I had only planned to stay for 2 nights but due to some serendipitous circumstances, the Zoku family had me for 10.
What path has your career taken?
I was one of those people who had office jobs while moonlighting as an artist. In high school, I skipped homework because I was busy writing manuscripts and throughout my 20s I worked in finance during the day and played in bands all night long. I was 32 years old and working in a camera store when I bought my first camera; I started a blog where I would walk around New York City taking portraits of people but mainly it was just an excuse to meet interesting people. I still have the blog which I maintained religiously for the first 3 years; I took portraits of thousands of people and posted their photos for free. And then one day, an independent designer invited me to London Fashion Week to sit at her show. I spent maybe 2 more years shooting in and around the fashion industry before anyone took me seriously enough to pay me actual money. So I guess you could say, if there are “It happened overnight” stories, it surely isn’t mine.
What’s a life-changing song, film, event or book you’d like to recommend to others?
Anything by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, but especially for me, One Hundred Years of Solitude. I very often wish I could capture images the way that book made me feel.
What advice would you give to your 20 year old self?
- Buy a film camera, photograph everything.
- Just eat the food, it will be fine.
- Whatever you do, never leave your recordings with your parents when you move.
What does home mean to you?
Oftentimes people describe home as the place where they live(d) or a signifier for family. But some people go through life without one or the other, or either. If this is you, the realisation of home isn’t impossible. Just try building one at a time.
Which book have you gifted the most, and why?
I can’t gift the same book to a bunch of people; if I’m going to give you a book, there is definitely something about the book that either reminds me of you, or I have faith that the text is something you’ll respond to.
What gives you your greatest inspiration?
I like photographing people; it’s a super simple thing. I just hope that people like the work and that I can keep doing a super simple thing for a living.