From Kalokolevu Village in Rewa Province, Fiji, Savenaca Nakete Rosanabalawa is a talented 25-year-old with a passion for photography. A self-described “photography enthusiast”, he is “interested in all genres of photography, the latest gadgets and photography trends”.
Living next door to Naboro Seventh-day Adventist Church where he is a member, Savenaca says his photography skills developed through attending church and social events. “When we got our first digital camera at home, I was obsessed with it; exploring its features and effects. I captured anything that caught my eye (at the cost of repeated lectures from my father for AA battery replacements),” he laughs.
“I would take photos of family get-togethers, church activities, youth and school events and just play around with it. I posted my photos [to social media] and would get compliments and advice from viewers to further pursue photography. [But] in the eyes of my parents, this was not a stable career pathway for me.”
Savenaca completed his Bachelor of Commerce degree at the Univeristy of the South Pacific, and now works as an accountant for Fiji Mission in Suva, all the while pursuing photography as a creative outlet.
“I do photography as a side-line job that started off as a hobby,” he explains. “I was doing gigs for extra cash and continued with my studies, simultaneously. Tertiary learning was a challenge and photography was my escape. Often, I felt like throwing in the towel, but I am so grateful for our Heavenly Father’s guidance, the support from my family [and] church family . . . and having faith in myself.”
To show his support, Savenaca’s father purchased a DSLR camera, which enabled him to pursue photography more professionally. “This boosted my spirit and elevated the quality of my photos. My brand ‘Igare Images’ was born. Igare is a word from my mother’s province dialect which means ‘exceptionally good or outstanding’.
“The beauty of my work is that I’m capturing moments, memories that will live for generations to come. Here in Fiji, culture and tradition is of great significance to who we are. My photography gigs are mostly capturing celebratory occasions like weddings and birthdays. Each comes with a cultural aspect to it. This allows me to connect with new people from different backgrounds, walks of life and experiences.”
Photography has opened doors for Savenaca to share his faith, grow deeper in his relationship with God and practise gratitude wholeheartedly. “Reflection is my way to experience God through creation. [I] continually thank Him for this talent that He blessed me with, which I can use to bless others and share with them.
“The lesson of being reflective—taking time to really see the shots I take—teaches me to grow deeper in faith individually, and to share God’s greatness with whoever I encounter, giving Him all the glory, honour and praise.”
While Savenaca doesn’t know exactly what lies ahead, he plans to further his studies in finance and continue to refine and perfect his photography craft.
“Every day I am learning something new. This ensures that I’m continuously growing and sharing God’s goodness in my life.”