Ola and welcome to another edition of 158 Fridays, this week, I am bringing you a man who has made his name synonymous with word "Awesome" to 75 graphers, some envy him, some want to be him, well I say shame to those with such thoughts - The man in his own words has summoned what I like to define graphers I have interviewed " When it comes to photography I prefer to be a generalist"
What is your occupation?
My career has gone through a few iterations. I started off in 2002 designing graphics for software interfaces in a super dead-end job. I did this until 2004 when the company I was working for had some financial difficulties and laid off a bunch of people, including me.
Having had my taste of working for bosses I decided not to do that again, and with my girlfriend at the time started a small, I guess you could say freelance, design studio called Dreamfoundry Design. (To this day I use Dreamfoundry as my nick on most websites.) Design soon morphed in to web design, so that's what I did for a few more years.
So, to finally answer your question, I'm currently floating in a sort of no-man's land between what's left of my design career and the birth of my career as a photographer.
Where do you live and work?
I live and work in a great, big top-floor apartment in the old east of Pretoria. I converted what used to be my sitting room in to a studio. I have a great view of Pretoria while I work.
Can you tell us a little more about yourself, your answers above are interesting?
I was born and raised here in Pretoria by two university professor parents - a mathematician and a social psychologist, and yes, that's exactly as weird as it sounds.
After school I studied computer science at the University of Pretoria for just long enough to know that programming is best left to the sort of people who like spending entire lifetimes fighting with computers. No thank you, sir.
I landed the job I eventually got retrenched from at this stage. At the same time I started studying a Bachelor of Visual Arts degree through Unisa. Eventually, after what I like to call my "gap decade", I ended up where I am now.
How did you get into Photography?
In 2009, on a whim, I got myself an old Pentax ME-Super 35mm film camera to play with. I'd taken photos with various digital cameras before then, but never seriously. When I saw what came out of that camera I fell in love with it. I still use it.
Why do you love Photography?
Oh, that's the hardest question to answer. It's a tempestuous relationship you could say. A favourite photographer of mine, Toyin Ibidapo, was quoted as saying that taking a photo is like falling in love. When I read that I felt that she took the words straight from my mind. Photography is a really personal thing for me. It is only when
I take photos that I feel alive inside. Some days I really hate photography, or maybe just specific photos I took that I'm just not happy with. Days like these, when I'm my own worst critic, can be rough.
What is your proudest career moment?
Oh, I hardly feel as if my career has even started. Maybe ask me a few years from now. Being part of an amazing community of photographers on 75.co.za makes
me proud, even though it's not strictly speaking my career at all.
Who if anyone has influenced your work?
Right now the biggest influences on my work would be Toyin Ibidapo and Nelli Palomäki. Neither of them are well known, but do yourself a favour and look them up.
When I started out I found Joe McNally to be a great explanation. He can explain anything to even the biggest photo dummy, and he's funny too.
If you could give someone just starting out one piece of advice, what
would it be?
Submerse yourself in your work and make it your obsession. That's the only way you'll ever be good. If you can't do that the most you'll ever be is someone with an expensive hobby. A second piece of advice, if I may, would be to spend some time shooting with film. Digital is wonderful, and flexible, but the real magic of photography is hidden at the end of a roll of film.
What is hardest thing about photography today?
Probably having to listen to everybody having pissing contests about which brand of camera is best. I think they're all missing the point. But apart from that, the hardest part is probably to get one's work noticed in a saturated sea of information, art, design, music... Culture in general. It's really a jungle out there.
What do you think the future holds for Photographers?
Oh, it's hard to tell. There are always amazing technological advances around every corner, but in the end that's secondary. There will always be a need for people who capture those special moments, places and people. So, as long as you can keep your eyes open and your finger on the shutter there will be a place for you.
Tell us something about yourself that people wouldn’t expect?
Well... Shucks. I can fire dance. I used to even do shows with a troupe of performers when I was younger. People never expect that.
Thank you for your time Diaan and thank you reader for reading, till next week's post.