I met Gus IRAGUHA through one of my colleagues. Though we live worlds apart – Gus in Kigali, Rwanda, me in San Antonio, Texas – we discovered our common passion for photography, I suggested that we collaborate on a project called Beautiful Rwanda! – Beautiful Texas! Here is a link to that effort.
Pursuing our dreams can be challenging for any of us. For Gus, the economy of his native Rwanda—slammed by the pandemic—has made his quest even harder. He has been struggling for years to carve out a niche as a professional photographer. Sadly, his progress was halted when two men attacked him on March 22, 2022, beating him and stealing his camera bag with all its contents. I have established a crowdfunding campaign that seeks to raise the money to help him purchase new equipment. It is sponsored by the nonprofit Rwanda Joy, which has helped Gus and others like him rise out of their poverty and survive the trauma of Rwanda’s unspeakable genocide in 1994. View Gus’s photos here and watch his promotional video completed just before the vicious attack. Anyone who donates to this campaign will receive a high-definition digital download of one of Gus’s best photos. Your support is deeply appreciated!
Here are some of Gus’s own words about the meaning and importance of photography in his life.
Because we grow and change every day and landscapes do the same, photographing my native Rwanda keeps memories alive. It has given me the opportunity to see myself when I was a kid—only a few months old – and how I am today. I would like to see my Mama when she was young, but that is not possible because are no images and she is gone.
We are always growing and changing. The food we ate 10 years ago is different today. The language we spoke three years ago is different now. If I document Kigali today and look at it in 50 years, it will certainly not look the same as today.
Photography has an incredible impact on our social and family lives. It impacts our political life as well. It does this by keeping memories alive and creating a chronicle of time. Photos serve an important role in our daily lives as reminders, as indicators. Photography helps us in so many ways. That’s why I have dedicated my life to it. For me, it is more than capturing images; it is the creation of a narrative, a shared type of language that is understood between the photographer, the viewer, and the society or community at large.