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Urban Creator Trudy Kazangu: “to be able to say: I did it, is really fantastic”

Trudy Kazangu has a passion for photography because she thinks that images say much more than words. She has been a part of the Chase team for a couple of years now, and with an interest in fashion and urban music, we can count on her for seasonal fashion updates and festival reports. 2019 is the year she wants to do - well, everything.

Interview by Joke D'Hooghe

The Chase Urban Creators are digital creatives who make videos, photos, articles and social stories about topics such as urban music, lifestyle, creatives and society. It is a diverse group of young people looking for a platform for their passions and expanding their skills.

Hey Trudy Kazangu, what do you do for Chase?
I mainly write articles about fashion. Often this is season related: articles about winter coats or about colours for the summer. Furthermore, I am interested in various social topics, as long as I can learn something from it. That is why I wrote an article for Chase about identity crisis among Congolese youngsters. I am also a photographer at various events. I am currently studying journalism at the Erasmushogeschool in Brussels, and I'm combining the second and third year. So it is still a bit of a struggle to combine everything.

Self-portrait by photographer Trudy Kazangu

Where did you study photography?
I do not really like to call myself a "photographer", because I never followed a photography course at a recognised institution. I recently bought a new camera, and I really enjoy working with it. I also started with analogue photography, which gives a different feeling and is super cool to work with. I do not develop the photos myself and leave this task up to a professional.

How long have you been an urban creator at Chase?
Maybe I've been with Chase for four or five years? I ended up here via-via. A friend of mine already wrote for Chase and she thought Chase would meet my interests. That is why I did an intake and offered myself as a volunteer.

What are your main interests?
For Chase, I write about fashion, and within this theme, I also wrote a couple of list articles. But the thing is: I would rather not have a "fashion stamp", so I wanted to write about something more profound. I wanted to delve into something more serious that is also close to my personality.

So I end up writing the article about African girls with tattoos: I have tattoos myself and I notice how difficult it is to be accepted in this way, for example in my own family. I want to write from that human aspect and feeling. That is why I also wrote the article about identity crisis among Congolese youths: I started again from a personal angle, and then I interviewed a few people to open up the subject.

What was the most exciting assignment you already did for Chase?
The most exciting thing I did for Chase, was to go to WECANDANCE 2017 on my own. Taking photos at the festival was really stressful, but also very cool and very revealing. Back then, I didn't have that much professional photography experience, and I had so much stress to introduce myself to everyone. You have to take enough pictures, and especially take enough good photos. Everyone looks at you and wonders whether you are a real photographer or someone who pretends to be a photographer. You are alone and know that people count on you: I felt a lot of pressure. But WECANDANCE was a great place and experience, and I managed to shoot many nice people. To be able to say: voila, I did it, is really fantastic.

Do you also work on other projects besides the assignments for Chase?
I recently answered an open call from the Fotomuseum in Antwerp. Their project, Black History Month Antwerp, aims to bring young Afro-Belgians closer to art in which they recognise themselves and find inspiration. They made an appeal to young, gifted and black people to reflect what freedom means and how that can be expressed creatively in photography. A number of my photographs were selected, and are currently exhibited in the FOMU on the occasion of Black History Month under the heading 'What does freedom mean to you as Afro-Belgian?'.

Which skills would you like to expand?
I would really like to write more, but I am actually very insecure about my writing. So I'd rather do something that I'm more sure about, and that's making videos. What I would really like to do later on is making documentaries, because I am pretty good with images. At least, I think so, because I often hear this. I want to do everything myself: from making the images all the way to editing. I like to work around social and cultural topics, but also fashion and lifestyle interest me. Although I prefer to focus on the social aspect of beauty. I would love to make a docu about beauty ideals among street children in Congo for example.

Taking photos with a little bit of text is therefore perfectly suited to me. Chase's main goal is to publish content about music and lifestyle. But there is also room for more in-depth topics so I could publish my articles on tattoos and Congolese youngsters. All the photos I've taken for Chase are on my Instagram feed. And I have always received very good feedback. I think that because people see that I work for Chase, they take me a bit more seriously.

Trudy's little sister, an image made by photographer Trudy
Trudy's little sister. An image made by Trudy Kazangu selected for Black History Month by FOMU Antwerp.

Do you also use other social media to distribute your work?
I am only active on Instagram. Snapchat is nothing for me, I do not understand anything about Twitter, and I never had Tumblr. I sometimes use Pinterest, especially to search for photos that fit my style. I use Instagram to post photos that I make myself. Currently, photography is really a hobby and I would not describe my work on Instagram as "branding" myself. If I were working full-time, I would indeed use Instagram like a channel to present my work.

What would you like to do in 2019?
I plan to travel in June and go to Costa Rica for a month. I would really like to do something about this for Chase because there is a very large urban scene there. In the coming days and weeks, I may also want to make some trips in spring and do something about fashion this season.

2019 is the year where I want to do everything, especially focusing more on music. I am a bit insecure about myself. So I thought: "Trudy if you do not do anything with it now, nothing will ever come off it". Making music and producing is therefore at the top of my list for 2019: my style is very acoustic, with my guitar and synthesizer and own vocals.

And I also want to get my driving license this year. That is really important when you are young and want to do creative assignments because it is annoying to be dependent on other people. I do not necessarily have to have my own car, but if I have to work at the seaside or in the Ardennes, I can just go.

Do you have tips for other creators: young starters or creatives who might struggle with the same things as you?

I have a tip concerning social media: there is an abundance of content, and you are influenced by so many things. There is a lot of competition, so many people are already working on the same, and they might even be better at it. But keep in mind that it is only the best of the best you get to see. You can quickly get the feeling: what is the use that I still do what I do? I find it very dangerous to compare yourself with other people. It’s very pleasant to get positive feedback and it helps to build your self-confidence further. So, if you are a creative person, do not do your job for other people, but only for yourself!



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