GABORONE, BOTSWANA — The past few years saw a new wave of photography resurgence in Botswana thanks to social media evolution in the country. And among those that contributed significantly to the growth of the local photography industry is one Peter Yuri whose rise to fame and game was shooting Botswana’s first couple, His Excellency the President, Dr. Mokgweetsi Masisi and First Lady, Jane Masisi.
The epic photoshoot was done at the first citizens’ personal home on their first day in the presidency, and since then Yuri has never looked back, and continues to become quite popular as one of the presidential photographers. Yuri’s noteworthy work and professional conduct continue to elevate his career where he now soar with the eagles.
During the recent Rwandan president Paul Kagame’s State Visit to Botswana, Peter Yuri Tlometsane, 26, was commissioned as the official creative director of photography for the entire Rwandan delegation. Yuri explains how on his way to Cape Town, South Africa for a weekend chill-out, he received a phone call from a Rwandan delegate who on the same day convinced him to make a U-Turn to Gaborone despite him being in Johannesburg already en route the Mother City.
“It felt like a presidential honor bestowed on me,” he chuckles. “I didn’t expect it and to be in the midst of somebody who is well celebrated and an exemplary leader, a Pan Africanist, a role model to the youth and proponent of gender equality, I grabbed the opportunity with both arms,” added Yuri.
Furthermore, Yuri added, “When I got back into the country around 9pm, I went straight into a briefing meeting which was rather casual and welcoming than I was expecting. I was intrigued by the intricate stipulations, and high expectations they wanted me to meet, it was nothing new to me, so I assured them they had made the right decision to work with me,” he added.
In the past year alone, Yuri’s career has taken a positive trajectory which he never imagined was possible. His profession has seen him work beyond Botswana in countries like Namibia, the United States of America, Eswatini and quite often South Africa. Quite fascinating though is that Yuri never imagined his life in the creative field; his interest growing up was getting an office job and doing something related to office work. However things changed in his second year of tertiary education.
“I studied Business Administration and completed with a bachelor’s degree. I developed interest in photography in my second year of study, it is then when I asked my mother to assist me purchase my first DSLR camera. I practiced with it throughout my study years, as a diversion to be honest. It got me good pocket money and I loved that about it. After completing school and thoroughly pondered on my career prospects, and it dawned on that my photography talent was so pragmatic that it could solve several problems for some businesses, which I had in mind. Then I decided I was going to pursue photography and treat it like a business and a brand,” he remembers.
He adds his greatest motivation was seeing rampant loopholes in a few local photographers. “Given a chance to lead the industry, I think I would like us to have a body that regulates and governs the photography industry. With the hope that this will help communicate and compel industry players to uphold high professional and ethical standards with other photographers and clients.”
As it can be imagined, creatives like delicate things in life, apart from his deadlines, one can learn a thing from Yuri’s wine cellar, this matured from his father who spent most of his youth in Russsia.
“I do not necessarily see myself as a wine connoisseur. Having wine is a truly remarkable experience that I cannot explain however, my concern here really is the restaurants in Botswana that serve wine in petite and underwhelming glasses that ruin the entire experience. What a faux pas,” he laughs .
All pictures supplied by @bypeteryuri and @peteryuri on instagram