A local self-taught photographer is gaining traction on social media with his three-part series of photographs highlighting the beauty of Pietermaritzburg.Ndumiso Bonaventure Mkhize (28), who is a qualified environmental scientist, has opted to follow photography over pursuing the career he spent years studying for in varsity. The former Eastwood Secondary pupil said he chose to look at our city in a positive light to capture its true historical beauty.Mkhize said the idea came to him when he was in Cape Town around this time last year when he started photography, after realising that most people had no idea where Pietermaritzburg was or what it looked like.“In the three weeks I spent in Cape Town people would ask me where I was from and when I told them Pietermaritzburg they’d ask me, ‘Where’s that, near Durban?’. I’d tell them to Google it, but they would find nothing. I found this very frustrating considering that Pietermaritzburg is the capital city of KwaZulu-Natal,” he said.Driven by his frustration, when Mkhize came back from his Cape Town trip he decided to take lengthy walks through the city of Pietermaritzburg on Saturdays, capturing the familiar sights of Pietermaritzburg.“I had no grand idea of what it would become. I posted the pictures on Facebook and the response from locals and outsiders has been amazing, beyond what I had expected.”Mkhize said the first series of pictures were posted in mid-2018, the second series was posted towards the end of last year and the latest series of pictures were taken and posted last week. His three-part series on Pietermaritzburg has received over 8 000 views and hundreds of shares on Facebook. After posting the pictures, Mkhize said he has received job offers from all over the country. The young and upcoming photographer said he only started photography last year after his Cape Town trip.“We were on an outreach trip and were at the top of Table Mountain when the guy who was taking pictures was tired and I offered to take over. When everyone saw the pictures I took they complimented me and said I should consider photography. “Since then I have been practising and have been watching YouTube tutorials on photography, and so far, I am loving what I do and the pay is not that bad,” he said.“For now, it was just seeing beyond the dirt and decay of the city and capturing its historical Victorian era beauty which is locked into the architecture of many of our buildings,” he said. Speaking of his experience walking through the city centre which has its fair share of muggers and vagrants, Mkhize said his experience has been rather pleasant throughout. “Most of the time I have my camera in my hands but there have never been any attempts to mug me. The people have been very inquisitive and willing to pose in some of my pictures. My experience has been great fun so far,” he said.To add onto his three-part series, Mkhize plans to take several trips downtown, notorious for being busier and with many vagrants, to capture the “other side” of our city. Offering advice to other young and upcoming photographers, Mkhize said, “Stay humble, take advice and be willing to learn. No one wants to work with a know-it-all.”His three-part series of Pietermaritzburg can be found on his Facebook page, Thousand Word Photography.