Growing up, my grandmother always gave me illustrated encyclopedias and books about earth’s natural history that were filled with fantastic landscape images. I spent many afternoons paging through these books and marvelling at nature’s beauty. Few things in life made me feel more alive than a landscape that engaged all my senses – seeing the rhythmic rolling of waves in a bay, smelling the coastal flora, hearing and feeling the ocean crash against the cliffs and then tasting the salt in the air. At some stage I realised that the photos in all those books had the ability to bring back memories of such experiences in nature – The best of photos had the ability to take one back to the most nostalgic sights, sounds and smells experienced. I wanted to be able to capture such evocative photographs.
The first time I picked up a camera was in my late school years. I enjoyed taking snaps of everything around me and wanted to pursue a career in photography. Coming from a semi-conservative family, I found myself heading to university to study math and science instead. Due to a lack of interest I quickly dropped out and after a few serious talks, the powers that be gave in and I was the owner of a Canon 400D.
After the first few months of getting to know the camera, I found my calling in the mountains and on the beaches of South Africa’s Western Cape. I spent about two years shooting locally every single day and searching the Internet all night learning how to better my photos. As my skills improved and I started earning some income from my photography, I could buy better equipment and travel a bit further afield. I met many people, tried many avenues of creativity and business and I learned many lessons.
Now, ten years later, I am able to call myself a professional landscape photographer. I have travelled to many of the world’s grandest and most exotic natural destinations and I have seen more of Southern Africa than most people will see in their life. I am remarkably grateful for the amazing people I’ve met, the places I’ve seen and that my photos have been published worldwide in every imaginable form of media. I am very fortunate to call companies like Samsung, National Geographic and the World Wlidlife Foundation clients of mine.
To this day I can still reduce my photographic ethos to the one that started it all – wanting to capture images that can transport the viewer from their current location to the landscape in the photograph. I believe that to be the purpose of landscape photography – to be able to experience a landscape without being there.
I enjoy the risk and thrills of entrepreneurship, but it does keep me behind a desk more than I’d like to be. It also takes me back to the same locations many times, when I’d much rather be out exploring new ones. Currently on my bucket list is to get to know the Drakensberg more intimately, do a month-long wilderness hike on Baffin Island in the Arctic and go storm chasing in the US.