My journey started with an inheritance: a Pentax K1000 (my father was the first proud owner), of which I took possession (at 16 years of age) with a stock-standard 50mm F2 lens attached to it’s silver body. At first I just marvelled at it’s build quality and craftmanship. My very first film was a 12 exposure Konica 100 ISO. Once this was developed, I was hooked and experimentation with different films soon followed.
I subsequently spent hours reading the Asahi Pentax Book book by Clyde Reynolds that came with the camera (which was quite good, actually) as well as books from the public library, trying to broaden my knowledge of this amazing craft. All this eventually led to me signing up for a three-year Diploma in Photography.
Studying photography at the Faculty of Art and Design at NMMU was one of the richest experiences of my life. I had the opportunity to use every type of camera available (self-made pinholes to 4×5″ and medium format (Hasselblad, Linhof, Mamiya, Rolleiflex, Sinar) and the rules remained the same no matter what the assignment. Photography has since taken me to exotic places, made me see things no other occupation could match and matured me as a person. It is about seeing where others don’t, working with light and solving problems on your feet. This continues to challenge me every time I pick up a camera.
PHOTOGRAPHY AS A CAREER...
I get asked a lot what it’s like to do photography full-time. Many aspiring photographers dream of doing what I do, but do not realize that, as with any discipline, it requires a lot of dedication to do well. But becoming experienced has helped me cut through the noise and focus on that which never changes: the image. The quality of it. And how it communicates.
Little else matters when it comes to the evaluation of photographs. You can’t fool people into admiration, an image has to have stopping power. Photography is a visual craft that doesn’t suffer fools gladly. Long after everyone stopped talking about cameras, lenses and megapixels, the photograph remains. Born of light, it is a moment in time written by photons on a two-dimensional, light-sensitive plane. People instinctively understand and relate to photographs without initiation. This makes it different from other art forms. It’s so easy to appreciate a good image, but harder to make. As a photographer, I try to make every single image count. Only in this I continually find my place as a professional. And it’s a special one…not everybody can be content here.
I exclusively use Canon cameras, lenses and on-camera flashes(and, no, the picture above is NOT my personal collection!) and Elinchrom off-camera flash equipment. My equipment work as hard as I do and is an integral part of my workflow, but I try not to put too much emphasis on it. Brand name loyalty and tech-ratings are quite popular nowadays, but there’s little in it and arguments about which manufacturer is better waste valuable shooting time. In fact, my pride has been so ruthlessly tempered in the past by inspiring artists using humble equipment that I’ve grown silent and simply enjoy whatever gear or processes photographers use to create their art.
Having said that, I am enthusiastic about camera gear, lenses in particular as their characteristics and traits can vary tremendously. Some lenses are downright special, like Canon’s now discontinued 50mm F1.0 (replaced by the 50mm F1.2L) and the 85mm F1.2L, which is still available. Investing in good quality lenses is always worth it and can even fetch good prices when you eventually decide to sell them. Zoom lenses will always be a compromise optically, but offers flexibility. Prime lenses are optically superior but you’ll have to use your legs more to isolate and frame your subject matter.
As with any craft and discipline, your needs grow with your skill. You may find a particular lens useless now, but in a year or two it may become a necessary part of your kit. I look at photography as something of a journey. Mind your own path as you develop your skill and don’t be too concerned with the hype surrounding new camera gear. Or trying to get to the end of something that has none, for that matter. Rather spend time studying the photographic greats like Ansel Adams, Paul Strand and Edward Weston and learn from their art.
Equipment is good, but photographs are better.
WHERE I'VE BEEN...
This is a list of all the venues I’ve been to and where I’ve photographed weddings. I’m proud to say that I am at 400+ weddings and counting. (Please click on the links added to the venue list to see what they have to offer.)
Beaufort-West / Boeteka Guest Farm
Brackenfell / Schoongezicht
Calitzdorp / Uhuru / Calitzdorp Spa
Camp’s Bay / The Bay Hotel
Cape Town / Groote Kerk
Ceres / Koue Bokkeveld, Rocklands Farm
Durbanville / Durbanville Hills
Elgin / Rockhaven
George / Tramonto / Blue Whale Resort / Oppi Plaas (Waboomskraal)
Gouritz / Rein”s Private Nature Reserve
Graaff-Reinet / Clifton Estate
Hartenbos / Riviera Hotel / Kleingeluk Wedding Venue / De Vette Mossel
Oudtshoorn / Oude Meul, Surval Boutique Olive Estate, Patat Restaurant (Swartberg Country Manor), Signature Divine, Queen’s Hotel, Rosenhof Country Lodge, Protea Hotel Riempie Estate, De Zeekoe Guestfarm, Buffelsdrift Game Lodge., La Plume, De Denne , Highgate Ostrich Showfarm,
Paarl / Rhebokskloof
Plettenberg Bay / Plettenberg Park Boutique Hotel, Tsala Treetop Lodge
Port Elizabeth / St George’s Park Venue
Prince Albert / Aviator Estate, Abrahamskraal
Riebeeck Kasteel / Groenrivier
Robertson / Du Von Estate
Somerset-West / Lord Charles
Stellenbosch / Zevenwacht, Skilpadvlei, Nooitgedacht
Still Bay / Jongensfontein
Tanqua Karoo / Gannaga Lodge
Three Sisters / The Vale Guest Farm
Touwsriver / Kopbeenskloof / Leeuwenboschfontein Guestfarm
Victoria Bay / Victoria Bay Lodge