Gray Kotze

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Gray Kotze (b. 1992)
Cape Town

What kinds of things do you most enjoy photographing?

People and their interactions with their environments. I like to try and capture expressions or places in a way that is representative of the reality of that moment and tells a story. I also enjoy capturing beauty, landscapes or otherwise.

Describe your photographic style.

Coming from a background of film and cinematography I like to try and photograph in a visually pleasing manner, focusing on light and composition in order to best tell the story of the place I’m photographing. I like working with natural light, finding beautiful spaces and interesting characters.

Photography is also a means for me to test cinematic looks and techniques. I like trying out different equipment which inevitably influences the style in some way.

Photography is a lot about the journey. How has it influenced your personal life
and the way in which you view the world (around you)?

When I walk around with a camera I’m far more aware of my surroundings. It forces you to wake up, concentrate and appreciate the environment rather than walking around with your head down. I started taking photos whilst traveling and found I was always more in tune and engaged with new places when I had a camera and was walking around trying to capture the feeling of the place.

Photography is also about capturing a moment in time. What is your approach to a
shot, and your approach to a new body of work?

Photography is more an interest than my primary creative pursuit so I’m not too serious about putting together a specific project. But when I do have an idea for a series it usually comes out of a desire to take photos that are visually linked, therefore I usually end up limiting myself to using the exact same equipment (same lens, stock, etc.) for the whole series to maintain the visual aesthetic.

Is photography your professional career? Or do you work in another field?

I work in the film industry. Photography isn’t my career but it supplements it.

What gear do you shoot with? Specifically camera arsenal and film stock.

Nikon F3 with a set of Nikkor AIS primes.

I like to experiment with different 35mm stocks. Ideally I’d love to primarily shoot Cinestill 50D (which is rebranded Kodak Vision3 stock) — but it’s not financially viable. I usually shoot Agfa Vista for colour and Agfa APX for black and white — it’s cheap with nice contrast. When I have money I shoot Portra.

Growth is important for any artistic craft. How do you stay motivated and
enthusiastic about your work?

By looking at great work by other artists — cinematographers, photographers, etc.

What are your influences? Please list other photographers you look up to or
things that generally inspire your image-making process.

I’m inspired by both the South African cinematographers that I’m lucky to work with and the work of international cinematographers such as Christopher Doyle, Sean Bobbitt, Emmanuel Lubezki, Bradford Young, Reed Morano, and many others. As well as film-makers/photographers like Nuri Bilge Ceylan, Jonas Lindstroem and Sean Metelerkamp.

I love the work of classic, slightly surreal photojournalists like Gordon Parks, Henri Cartier-Bresson and Robert Capa. Stanley Kubrick also has some incredibly cinematic photo journalistic photography.

What else do you enjoy? (Hobbies, etc – Any other creative exploits or interests?)

Reading, writing, traveling, hiking, going to the cinema.

Any tips for aspiring film photographers?

For any creative field, study the work of others that you love and copy it until your work begins to change from imitation into something original.

What lies on the horizon (any plans for series, exhibitions, travels etc)? And what do you hope to achieve in the future?

We (myself and director Greg Bakker) went to Durban International Film Festival in 2017 with our debut feature film, Relics. Now we’re moving on and trying to produce our second feature. We’re also re-writing a bunch of South African scripts, which we hope will get funded one day.

Website: http://www.graykotze.com/
Instagram: @graykotze

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All photos by Gray Kotze

DEAD TOWN™ | Film-only Photographic Showcase ©2017-2018.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Alet Pretorius

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Alet Pretorius (b. 1980)
Pretoria

What kinds of things do you most enjoy photographing?

I am a compulsive photographer. I photograph everything with my camera and often my phone. I find that the medium sometimes dictates what and how I photograph. If I use my phone I am more relaxed and not really thinking about the outcome. Photographing objects, people, light… indiscriminately. When I use my DSLR, I go into work mode. I become very conscious of the outcome — where the photograph is going, what the story is. When I shoot film it feels more personal. I tend to shoot more intimate subjects like friends and family, but mostly I prefer shooting people. I love portrait photography. I enjoy working with people and telling their stories.

Describe your photographic style.

I prefer using natural light. I try to use the technical language of photography to tell the story. I have a journalistic style but I like to experiment. Film gives me freedom to experiment. I try to incorporate what I learn from film photography into my digital photography, for example I have been experimenting with double exposures on my digital camera lately. I try to think more about the light and how it will affect the outcome. With digital you get lazy because you can see the outcome immediately and correct accordingly. With film you have to actively think about light and how it will affect your picture. I would love to translate the intimacy of my film photography into my professional work.

Photography is a lot about the journey. How has it influenced your personal life
and the way in which you view the world (around you)?

I think your view of the world, your personality and your photography have a reciprocal relationship. They influence each other. Photography has definitely influenced my personality and world view. I have learned patience and to be more methodical. It’s a cliché but you do learn to look at the world differently. You try to see the story behind everything, the symbolic meaning of every object. You learn to look for detail and how that fits into the bigger picture. My personality has also influenced my photography. I am an observer, I like to be in the background — this is why I prefer documentary photography. The empathy I have with people translates into my photography.

Photography is also about capturing a moment in time. What is your approach to a
shot, and your approach to a new body of work?

I always look for the light first. I like to research a lot but know that you have to be flexible. I like to just start a project and see where it goes. The act of photographing is like a kind of investigation for me. Ideas evolve while I take pictures. Sometimes you have to pin down an idea otherwise the project just gets to big.

Is photography your professional career? Or do you work in another field?

I am a professional photographer. I worked for a daily newspaper for 13 years, but recently started freelancing and get to work on more diverse projects now. I still love photojournalism, but also work on more commercial projects.

What gear do you shoot with? Specifically camera arsenal and film stock.

I currently shoot with a Pentax ME Super which I bought for myself just before going to university. I have a Nikon F80 which I actually used when I started working for newspapers. I was part of the generation of photographers who switched from film to digital. Looking back, it is hard to imagine that we shot news on film. We shot a lot less pictures but still got good news images. I like the immediacy of digital photography for journalism work.

I shoot with my Nikon D750, transfer the images with the built in Wi-Fi to my phone, email or tweet and the images can be distributed to people within minutes. But I miss the process of film photography – you have to think about what and how you photograph. The time between taking the picture and having the picture ready for publication leaves a lot of space for contemplating.

I recently bought a medium format camera, a Zenza Bronica. I’m still trying to come to grips with it but want to shoot a portrait project soon. I mostly use any expired film that I find wherever I can. I love various kinds of films and the different feel each give your photographs.

Growth is important for any artistic craft. How do you stay motivated and
enthusiastic about your work?

I lecture at the Market Photo Workshop from time to time. Interacting with young photographers is exciting and I think I learn a lot from that exchange. It is inspiring to be in an environment where so many of the great photographers in South Africa studied.

I take part in some projects by Pretoria Street Photography. It’s great to meet up with different photographers and work on one goal. Everybody brings something else to the table and we inspire each other.

What are your influences? Please list other photographers you look up to or
things that generally inspire your image-making process.

There are so many in SA and internationally. I can mention a few:

Locally; Samantha Reinders, James Oatway, Retha Ferguson, Ernest Cole, Santu Mofokeng, and Omar Badshu.

International; Nan Goldin, Sebastião Salgado, Mario Testino, Andrea Bruce, Ami Vitale, and VII Photo.

I love reading, watching movies and looking at art. Other artistic mediums influence my photography a lot.

What else do you enjoy? (Hobbies, etc – Any other creative exploits or interests?)

Most of my interests are photography based. I love photography books. My boyfriend is a painter and we have a project where he paints on my photographs. We have had two exhibitions and are planning another one soon. I have also collaborated with artist Banele Khoza for a Found Collective exhibition at No End gallery in Johannesburg.

Any tips for aspiring film photographers?

Look for mentors. Shoot, shoot, shoot. Find someone that can help you edit. Work on projects that mean something to you. Shoot more. Walk more. Be curious. Look for the light. Be brutal when you edit.

What lies on the horizon (any plans for series, exhibitions, travels etc)? And what do you hope to achieve in the future?

I am working on a couple of portraiture series at the moment that will hopefully be finished by next year. I want to start a big documentary project too. I also want to shoot an intimate personal project on DSLR and a big commercial project on film.

Website: https://www.havecamerawill.wordpress.com/
Instagram: @aletpretfilm
Behance: https://www.behance.net/aletpretor7cf0

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All photos by Alet Pretorius

DEAD TOWN™ | Film-only Photographic Showcase ©2017-2018.

Our Exhibition & Zine Launch at Yours Truly Café

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On the 5th of April 2018 we hit Cape Town for the second launch of the DEAD TOWN publication, along with an exhibition of featured work, at the Yours Truly Café in Loop Street, presented by Vans South Africa.

The show features 14 works, printed and framed, as well as exclusive pins, stickers and tote bags for the First Thursdays party. Catch the show while it’s up for the rest of the month of April, then it moves to the bigger Yours Truly on Kloof Str for another month. The prints are super affordable and exclusively 1/1 for this showcase.

Below are some images of what went down on the opening night:
Photos by Grant Payne

If you would like to contribute film photographs to our platform then please send them via email (deadtownphotoclub@gmail.com). We always welcome submissions and are dead keen to create more projects relating to analogue photography.

#DeadTownZine

DEAD TOWN x Vans First Thursday | Cape Town Zine Launch

 

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The Cape Town launch of the first DEAD TOWN zine takes place on Thursday 5 April at Yours Truly, Loop Street as part of the VANS First Thursday series.

There will be a selection of prints on display and for sale, as well as zines (of course).
I will also be there – so pop in and say hello!
Special thanks to Vans ZA for their generous support. Follow the Facebook event link for more info: https://www.facebook.com/events/180156805951213/
(Image by Gabriella Achadinha)

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36 by Sivan Zeffertt

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“I got a camera from a friend quite unexpectedly in exchange for something that I sewed, and just really started enjoying it. I was heavily depressed last year, struggling to finish a degree in architecture that my heart really wasn’t in, and needed to create something tangible for myself. I tried not to make it too serious. I was considering adding more writing, but decided to let the images stand alone.”

“It’s called 36, which references the number of photos on a roll of 35mm film, but more often than not someone will bring up that All Gold ad from ages ago, and that makes me happy. But, it’s basically a collection of moments bundled into one package to remind myself that there were moments when I found things beautiful through my depression haze, and captured them. It’s personal and light at the same time, and whoever’s gotten it has taken from it what they will.”

Sivan Zeffert, 2017

All shot on 35mm film with a Canon FT-b.

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Justice Mukheli

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Justice Mukheli (b. 1985, Soweto)
Johannesburg

What kinds of things do you most enjoy photographing?

I love to photograph people.

Describe your photographic style.

I would say my style is portraiture — Portraiture that carries a feeling with it, evokes emotion, and, most importantly, shows blackness in a beautiful and positive way.

Photography is a lot about the journey. How has it influenced your personal life
and the way in which you view the world (around you)?

My journey with photography is beautiful. I started out as a blogger, just wanting to capture my brothers and I (I See A Different You) and it grew very fast from there. I soon realised the importance of framing and showing black people in a beautiful way. With that realisation, the narrative changed from just blogging about fashion to telling our story from a positive point of view. At that time, the demand for a new narrative of black and beautiful people telling their own story, from their own point of view was just beginnning, and became very important to our country.

Photography has influenced who I have become in so many ways. It gave me a sense of purpose, it gave me a voice — a voice that not only speaks for me, but for many other black people, both young and old.

Photography is also about capturing a moment in time. What is your approach to a
shot and your approach to a body of work?

A persons face is so powerful. You can read someones life through their eyes. I’ve always had an interest in what people feel and think about in their daily lives. What do they like? What are their struggles? What is it that makes them who they are? All these questions made me want to see the world through the eyes of another and grasp their experience of life. I obviously could never actually see the world through another persons eyes, so I decided to capture a portrait in such a way that that persons journey speaks beyond their photograph. If I manage to get that right, a portrait of a person becomes a reflection of their world. So I love photographing people.

Is photography your professional career? Or do you work in another field?

Photography is my professional career commercially, but it isn’t my artistic career yet (although I am working very hard on that). I am also a film commercial director and I direct ads that play on TV as well as some content for brands.

What gear do you shoot with? Specifically camera arsenal and film stock.

I mostly shoot on Kodak Portra 400, sometimes Portra 160. Cameras include Pentax67ii (with lenses: 55mm f4, 75mm f4.5, 90mm f2.8, 105mm f2.4, 165mm f2.8), Mamiya RB67 Pro-S (with lenses: 50mm f4.5, 90mm f3.8, 180mm f4.5, x2 backs, view finder with light meter and chimney viewfinder), Hasselblad 500c (with 80mm f2.8 lens), Rolleiflex 2.8f and Leica M7 with 50mm f2 summicron.

Growth is important for any artistic craft. How do you stay motivated and
enthusiastic about your work?

Growth is so important, and it’s weird that I don’t need motivation to keep creating. I love photography so much that it almost feels like breathing, I literally cannot spend one day without even touching or just feeling one of my cameras.

I am so thankful to have all the cameras I have, every time I look at them I feel the urge to shoot. I am always in the mood to shoot. Even in my down time, I want to shoot.

In the age where digital photography is prevalent, what draws you to film and what makes it special to you?

I never had an interest in film, I always called myself a digital kid. Then I met Andile Buka and saw his work – which I really love – and he kept on telling me to try film. It took him four years or more to get me to start shooting analogue, which I started doing early last year and I’ve never looked back.

The beautiful thing about shooting film is how much it slows you down. You think before any shot. It’s been a beautiful transition. Film gave my work soul and also opened up a new direction for my work.

What are your influences? Please list other photographers you look up to or
things that generally inspire your image-making process.

I get influenced by my childhood a lot. The moments shared with my mom and dad when they were still together. Between the ages of 13 and 18, I felt like I had a calling to be a priest, and that time is very important in my life because a lot was happening.

What else do you enjoy? (Hobbies, etc – Any other creative exploits or interests?)

I don’t know really, I am a bit of a nerd. If I’m not shooting or working, I am mostly on YouTube looking at tutorials about techniques I want to learn or maybe on the Internet trying to find new music. My other interest is sculpting, I am so in love with it but I haven’t spent time doing it yet. Maybe later this year when I have more time.

Any tips for aspiring film photographers?

I would advise them to shoot a lot so that they make all the mistakes early. Shooting on film is not going to make you a better photographer, it will just be an adjustment to what you already have. Good photos are not made by your camera and the film stock you choose to shoot with. It all boils down to your use of light and what you see and capture.

What lies on the horizon? (any plans for series, exhibitions, travels, etc.) And what do you hope to achieve in the future?

I am currently working on an exhibition called “Through their eyes” and will be launching it very soon — on Saturday 3 March 2018 at Daville Baillie Gallery in Johannesburg. I will also be traveling our country extensively as I just got awarded the opportunity to direct a TV commercial for South African Tourism. I cannot wait to share my view of South Africa.

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All photos by Justice Mukheli

DEAD TOWN™ | Film-only Photographic Showcase ©2017-2018.

Thomas Revington

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Thomas Revington (b. 1989)
Johannesburg

What kinds of things do you most enjoy photographing?

Everything and anything that interests me, catches my eye or makes me feel a certain way. It could be sad, funny, sentimental or just odd.

Describe your photographic style.

I am first and foremost a D.O.P. (Director of Photography), so I look for a balance of story with aesthetic. I generally shoot pretty loose to favour the moment over the technical aspects. Of course I aim to achieve both, but story comes first.

Photography is a lot about the journey. How has it influenced your personal life
and the way in which you view the world (around you)?

I think it teaches you to live in the moment and appreciate life around you. When walking around with a camera in hand I’m always looking at the world like a photograph, which makes you notice things that you normally would not. Apart from that it’s a passion, and I want to be as good as I can so I spend as much time looking through a lens as possible.

Photography is also about capturing a moment in time. What is your approach to a
shot, and your approach to a new body of work?

One of my favorite things to do is explore a new city or place alone with a camera. I shoot loose and rough. I think that sometimes people get too wrapped up in the technical and can’t see the wood for the trees.

Is photography your professional career? Or do you work in another field?

I am a cinematographer by trade.

What gear do you shoot with? Specifically camera arsenal and film stock.

I have a range and love collecting old cameras. There is something sentimental about giving new life to old things and the fact that these things are made to last forever – nothing is made like that nowadays. I have a Mamiya 67, Olympus OM1, Pentax Ashai 1000, and a bunch of others. My favourite camera that goes with me everywhere is a Nikon L35 AD. It’s a little point and shoot 35mm from the 80’s. That with Ilford HP5 400 or Portra 400. But I generally like to stick with black and white so I can print in the darkroom.

Growth is important for any artistic craft. How do you stay motivated and
enthusiastic about your work?

Sho, I don’t know. Make the most of when inspiration hits and trust it will come around again. I generally don’t force it, maybe I’m lazy.

What are your influences? Please list other photographers you look up to or
things that generally inspire your image-making process.

I love local. Fausto Becatti, Jono Wood, Elsa Bleda, Mooki Mooks, Ross Maxwell, Wilhelm Venter, Yetunde Dada, Deji Dada.  We’re all in the same spaces but look at things so differently. Internationally, I love the work of my cinematic heroes like Roger Deakins and Emmanuel Lubezki.

What else do you enjoy? (Hobbies, etc – Any other creative exploits or interests?)

I play in a band. *eyerolls*

Any tips for aspiring film photographers?

Shoot, shoot, shoot. Also don’t listen to Instagram likes; listen to yourself.

What lies on the horizon (any plans for series, exhibitions, travels etc)?
And what do you hope to achieve in the future?

Not much. I just enjoy what I’m doing for now. I love the dark room so maybe more prints in the future. Also possibly a platform where I sell my work for charity.

Do you have a specific series or body of work that sums up your portfolio best?

No, I’m erratic AF.

Website: http://www.tjrevington.com/
Instagram: @tommyrocket89

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All photos by Thomas Revington

DEAD TOWN™ | Film-only Photographic Showcase ©2017-2018.