Capturing the lives of people through her exotic eyes and
the epiphany of knowing thy self.
Award winning Creative Photographer, Motivational Speaker and Writer BELINDA BARROCKS is snapping people’s evolution from behind her lens.
By SIMONE DA COSTA
When you think of sweet, angelic, soft and warm, Belinda Barracks comes to mind. Her Jovial character seems to come naturally with a bright peaceful smile. At least for me, her friendliness and warmth was contagious, quite evident, quite refreshing. I had to reciprocate the feeling. I arrived at her studio for my 11:00 am appointment. Actually, I arrived at 11:08, but did not get in the studio until 11:11. I blame the pre-historic, yes, ancient elevator that seemed to have taken too a long while to come down to the main level just to take a century to get back up to the third floor where her studio lay. My sister who came with me commented on the eclectic designed of the elevator door. “I love the hand craftsmanship; it’s like an art deco look. Very ‘30s,” she said.
Still antiquainted,” I uttered. “I’m glad they don’t make them move as quick anymore,” of course I was being sarcastic, referring to how slow it moved from floor to floor. The elevator reached the third floor with a scary squeak and suddenly stopped. “What in the world?” we both uttered in fear because the elevator door did not open. We then realized that, when it stopped, that was our cue to push open the door to cause another door to swing in the opposite direction to let us out. “Ancient, I say, we’re free at last, my God, free at last!” We both walked out of the time machine— the elevator that almost gave us a heart attack— and into the studio.
We said our hellos and good mornings to Belinda and her crew while studying the studio. Typical studio, I thought, large, spacious, gray and drab. Even so, it had huge windows that allowed the sun to pierce through— it would do. Belinda was dressed in a cute black crop jacket with gold buttons, floral print blouse and a pair of short sexy black shorts. “Very cute outfit,” I commented.
“Thanks, I wanted to wear something comfortable but summery seeing that the weather is going to be hot today and this is what I decided on,” she replied. Her hair was dark brown with blonde streaks and cut it an asymmetrical style with a hint of funky flare; one side short and the other long. Giving each other a friendly hug while we maintained our professionalism.
Out of the BOX
As I changed into my first out-fit for the shoot she drilled me, a drill I did not mind, about the look I am aiming for. “I ask you these questions because I want to make sure that you get the desired look you want to achieve. Find your space, get comfortable, have fun and be free,”she enthusiastically suggested.
“Turn this way, position your hand downward, shoulders forward, head tilted to the side but looking at me. That’s it,” she said. I was a nervous Into her OWN wreck, obsessing over my appearance, “Is my hair on point or out of place? Is my face gleaming with oil? Do I need a touch-up.“
“Stop fussing about those things. Your hair and make-up are fine,” my sister barked, jolting me out of my ‘anal-retentive state, ‘as my loving sister would call it.
“Do you have lipstick on?” Belinda asked.“ Put some on, you look plain, you need more to brighten up your look my sister interjected. I am sure everyone in the room was thinking “Who is the photographer here?” Though my sis had my best interests at heart, I listened to Belinda the professional photographer and not my sister, the not-quite-the professional photographer (not yet anyway).“A few more shots and you are done.”
“You did good, Simone, your photos look great,” Belinda said. After the shoot was over, I thanked her profusely. She did an excellent job, not only as a photographer, but as a coach, coaching me through the shoot and making the set comfortable and fun. It was such a pleasure working with her.
Belinda Barrocks is the Owner and CEO of Kamshuka, an independently owned creative photography business for seven years. Belinda explains that Kamshuka is the name of an Ugandan Princess. A name also given to her at birth. Belinda did not like the name Kamshuka at first, partly because she was teased a lot as a child with name calling like “come sugar,” she says. This made it all the more reason to dislike her name so she rejected her distinctive name. More significantly she rejected who she is. A great name with a great meaning in which she was ignorant.
It was not until many years later Belinda started doing some soul searching. She wanted something more, but what? She could not explain or describe, but she knew something in her being was missing. In her hunt for that unidentified thing she discovered the meaning of Kamshuka. A meaning that changed her life completely. “One day I asked my cousin if Kamshuka means anything and she told me that does. It means that even the smallest of things have great force. For example, stars in the sky look small but in actuality they are massive in size and contain incredible power if we were to ever see their true cores revealed. That was an epiphany and I began to acknowledge my name, Kamshuka, and own it. Almost immediately my life started to change for the better,” she says happily.
“I got an epiphany and I acknowledge my name ‘Kamshuka’ and owned it.”
Kamshuka, is an award-winning international photographer, motivational speaker, writer and artist. Belinda began her love for expressing her unconventional images by capturing the expressions of life through photography years ago. Eleven successful years later, Kamshuka is still creatively standing on her own two feet without conforming to the way people want her to do things. Accordingly, she has made her artistic mark in Toronto and around the world.
Belinda, has trekked to countries and Islands such as Dubai, Bahrain, the Bahamas and South Africa, capturing their inhabitants’ ways of life through her lens as seen in her inspired and inventive images.
She was recognized as one of the 12 Phenomenal Women changing our world in the spring issue of Planet Africa and appeared in Toronto’s Sway magazine. Her ingenious work can be seen as the recognized images of companies and products such as Chiggy’s Touch Canada, Doo or Die Studio, Coconuts Chocolate and others.
Never a stranger of cultural blends and mixes, Belinda was born in Uganda, Africa of an African father and a Anglo–Indian mother from South India. Belinda spent a few years living in India and then in The Middle East. The many varieties of societies and cultural merges that she has encountered has helped Belinda appreciate cultural diversity. She quickly attests that no culture is better than the other. She states, “We are all one people. “I appreciate the many cultures I have been introduced to and I am fortunate to have gained a lot of it. I am most thankful for my diverse heritage that has helped me get to know who I am, to know me and who I want to be.”
When not in her artistic photography mode snapping original icons, Belinda helps out in her community by giving back. In 2009, she orchestrated her first fundraiser, a Kamshuka gallery show to help raise money for cancer research, which was a huge success. In 2010, Belinda experienced major success with her second show for Cancer research named “Out of the Box: The Black and White Collection.”
As a motivational speaker, she has done speaking engagements at a Brampton and North Albion Collegiate High School girls Clubs. She addresses the importance of self-esteem, the power of knowing who you are as well as being confident in all areas of life to teenage girls. On December 4, 2010, Belinda received The Aroni Award for her commitment to youth and entrepreneurship.
Spreading her contagious warmth and pulling people in with her magnetic love for people and culture, Belinda is indeed an unparalleled being. Belinda is Kamshuka, Kamshuka is possessing incredible power no matter how small. She turns her camera lens and focuses on her subjects, guaranteeing a picture perfect satisfaction by adding more creative control. With the influence of a great aperture opening, she zooms in on her passion for depiction, ready to take a portrait of life’s most precious moments to which none can compare.
This fall, Belinda will be traveling to India for a few weeks doing humanitarian work for Operation India. Operation India’s mandate is to help improve people’s lives by providing provision and building positive relationships in Orphanages and Brothels. She will be listening to their stories as well as telling her tale of how she overcame her fear from past unpleasant memories. She puts it assertively. “I now have greater power over my fears.” Belinda, is sure to set a side some time to exercise her art of photography by liberating the Indian people’s stories by bringing alive their true essence.