Pieter Coetzee

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Pieter Coetzee (b. 1987, Johannesburg)
Jozi-based — after selling my soul to the devil and falling in love with the beast.

What kinds of things do you most enjoy photographing?

People. Portraits.

I enjoy showing someone a portrait of themselves and them liking what they see. Especially the timid, insecure, or self-loathing: Society isn’t a very compassionate space for the individual and we’re generally too hard on ourselves.

Everyone has something beautiful about them. Everyone has a story to tell. Everyone is hurt and lonely and fucked in their own unique way. I just want to capture some of that uniqueness.

Take a moment to pause and acknowledge the other: “You’re beautiful and I see that. I see you.” And at the same time, I feel a connection with someone. I get to escape my own loneliness for a moment — even if it’s only for 1/125th of a second.

That’s how I see it. It’s what the romantic in me would like to believe. He’s infamously delirious.

Describe your photographic style.

Impulsive? Opportunistic? I don’t think if I’ve really developed a definitive style yet.

I rarely plan what I shoot: I carry my camera everywhere and take pictures of the things I see. Things I find beautiful.

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 would like to think it has made me more mindful.

The thing I love about film is how slow the process is. Life is too fast for my liking. Film photography helps me to slow down and appreciate the smaller things in life. Feed me a couple of beers and I’ll start ranting about the ‘underratedness’ of shapes and colours.

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?

Carry your camera everywhere you possibly can? Shoot for yourself? Not sure you can call it much of an approach: Either you have your camera on you and catch the moment, or you don’t and you miss it. And you can only shoot what you enjoy, what you find beautiful… you can’t force an eye, so don’t try to be something else in the pursuit of pleasing others’ validation.

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

Nope. It’s therapy. Part of what keeps me in balance.

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

Pentax Spotmatic SPII is where it started, and I’ve shot most frames on some version of that camera: SP1000, K1000, SP, F, etc.

The film I’ve used most is probably Kodak Gold 200: Cheap, unassuming, and I like the saturation. Go-to everyday shooter. My favourite to date is Ektar 100. For that special day out. The grain and saturation is unbeatable in my opinion. Also, did I mention I love colours?

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

God, there’s so much to learn. I haven’t shot much medium format, so that’s up next. As well as shooting some ideas regarding photo stories/essays. And learning more about different printing techniques.

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

I think the local scene is quite inspirational. So many exceptional photographers making the format their own. I’m glad we’re not just copying the big international names. We’re forging our own style/presence. I’m very optimistic about what the future is going to produce.

Guys worth mentioning are Mark Reitz and Michael Ellis. Two friends whose pictures were some of the first work that really made an impact on me and inspired me to shoot more film.

Also, Janus Boshoff and Dennis Da Silva at Alternative Print Workshop, for sharing their knowledge on film photography, printing, using old techniques, etc. They play an active role in keeping the local film scene alive.

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

I used to enjoy avo toast, but who can afford that AND film these days.

Just kidding, I have too many hobbies and interests to mention here: I won’t want to put everyone to sleep!

Any tips for aspiring film photographers?

Buy a solid cheap camera: there are so many to choose from. Buy the cheapest film you can find. Get off your ass and start shooting.

Learn the Sunny-16 rule. Mechanics > Electronics. Most importantly, do it for yourself.

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

Be sure to catch the Joburg B&W Group Exhibition at In Toto Gallery (opening Thursday 30 November 2017) which will be showcasing work by local shooters focusing on the love we share for this city.

Also, I’m looking for a fellow artist to share a studio/darkroom/creative space within the Joburg CBD area. Holla at me if you are interested.

Instagram: @pietskietfilm

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All photos by Pieter Coetzee a.k.a. Piet Skiet

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

 

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Willem van den Heever

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Willem van den Heever (b. 1994, Pretoria)
Cape Town

What kinds of things do you most enjoy photographing?

For me the most interesting subject matter on this planet; humans and the human body, which is probably the subject I photograph the most. When taking photos I usually try to either tell a story in a single image or just try and convey a certain emotion/feeling deep inside me. There are a lot of things I feel, and emotions I experience, that I’ve always struggled to explain or found words for. Photography – specifically images created in film – and art in general has helped me express those emotions and created an outlet for me.

Most of the time these stories or emotions are my own, but some times they come from the person in front of the camera as well — I think these can be seen when focusing more on portraits. I’ve always had a deep love for the ocean, mountains and our natural surroundings, which sometimes come forth in my images as well.

Describe your photographic style.

This is a difficult one for me as I myself am not completely sure if I have a specific style, and if so what that style is. Maybe there’s a sense of nostalgia in my work; memories, feelings or moments once had and now buried by the subconscious. I do know light, form and colour are normally what my brain picks up on first, and are elements that I try to use in creating these images.

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)?

Over the years, and by shooting more and more, I definitely started seeing the world in frames or pictures. Maybe I’ve always looked at the world a bit differently, always trying to escape reality and create my own worlds in a way— and now this has just become a part of me. Most of the time my first instinct would be to grab my camera and try and capture the moment/image I see in front of me, but a lot of times, especially when traveling or hiking, I try and force myself not to. To rather saver some of the best moments and just appreciate the moment/journey as it is— let it play off and just enjoy the journey for what it is, because in the end that is still the most important part; to experience something fully.

The camera – or the images – should always still come second, and rather the moment felt or experience first. I think that’s one of the reasons why I prefer shooting on film; you are forced to only go back to that moment days/weeks/months later, and not focus too much on it in the moment.

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?

That’s probably one of the aspects I struggle with the most, to just capture it in the moment, spontaneously. My personality just doesn’t work that way. I think I’m quite a perfectionist, especially when it comes to my work, so naturally I like to take my time, plan the images and set-up before hand — or at least have some sort of idea in mind of what I want to create before shooting.

This is also how I approach a new series; start planning days ahead and even create (very rough) storyboards. I guess in the end it’s about finding that balance: an equilibrium between knowing what you want to capture/convey and being able to see and just capture the moment, even when things don’t turn out the way planned.

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

Even though I spend a lot of time on photography, and even do some commercial work from time to time, I don’t see it as my professional career. My main occupation, and what I see as my professional career, is film-making (combined with a lot of other stuff on the side).

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

I’ve built up quite a collection of analogue cameras in the last year, but my go-to camera is always my Pentax 35mm SPii. I’ve recently started shooting medium format on a Mamiya 645 and have done some underwater stuff on a Canon AS1.

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

This is definitely something I think all photographers/artist struggle with, especially if it becomes your life and the only thing you do. That’s why I think I’m in the fortunate position of being able to keep myself busy with a number of other things, such as film-making and writing.

Nonetheless, it can still be a struggle when you want to shoot and just don’t feel it. I find my inspiration mostly in other forms of art — literature, films or music. I try and explore these channels as often and as deep as I can, always looking for something that strikes or sparks something inside me.

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

As mentioned above, films are probably my biggest passion and where I get most of my inspiration from. Literature, poems and music also play a big role. When it comes to other photographers; Ryan Muirhead had quite an impact on my life and work, Chelsey Sinclair, Niklas Porter, recently discovered Matt Kelly, local photographer Elsa Bleda and legendary film photographer Platon — to only name a few.

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

Except for my other artistic projects such as film-making and writing, I hate sitting in one place for too long, so traveling, exploring, hiking and mostly either being somewhere on a mountain or in the ocean.

Any tips for aspiring film photographers?

In a visually over saturated world flooded with images, the most important thing when taking a photo should be your intentions and motivation — why do want to take the picture? Just for the sake of another pretty image or are you conveying/trying to say something? Except for that, light is your best friend when making images. Learn to see and play with it (something I myself am still busy learning). But then again, who am I to tell someone who and what to photograph.

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

I’ve recently started working on a very big film project that I can’t say too much about at this stage, but that’s where most of my time is going into at the moment. In terms of photography, I’ve been in the process of a black and white series which I would like to finish. Depending on the outcome I might do another exhibition this year, or it might just end up on my website, we’ll see.

Website: http://www.willemfilms.com/
Instagram: @willemdafilm

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All photos by Willem van den Heever

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

Legend | Pierre Crocquet

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Pierre Crocquet (b. 1971) was a South African photographer who left behind a significant archive of black and white photographs. Born in Cape Town and raised in the small mining town of Klerksdorp, Crocquet only pursued a career of photography in his later years. After moving to London in 1996 to work as a qualified chartered accountant – work that he hated – he switched lanes and enrolled at the London College of printing in 1999. From there, he returned home to South Africa in 2001 and began documenting life in Africa. One year on he had released his first book, Us (Bell-Roberts, 2002), and was commissioned for more work and subsequent book releases by the likes of South African Airways and Standard Bank.

His second book, On Africa Time (Bell-Roberts, 2003), featured photographs from destinations around Africa, his third, Sound Check (Bell-Roberts, 2005), about South African and visiting international jazz musicians, and his fourth Enter/Exit (Hatje Cantz, 2008), about Karatara, a small, isolated settlement on the outskirts of the Knysna forests. With this book, Crocquet began to explore elements of human identity, part of a new obsession. He later dove deeper in regards to subject matter with his fifth and final book, Pinky Promise (Hatje Cantz & Fourthwall Books, 2011), shining light on childhood sexual abuse with stories from both victims and perpetrators.

Crocquet received success for his works with worldwide exhibitions and photography awards, but sadly passed away in 2013 at the tender age of 42. After years of immersive projects, the work had begun to take a creative toll on the artist and his death can only be described as tragic. The work that he created had global themes, not just African, focusing on aesthetics of human life and psyche, with a sense of timelessness. He definitely left behind a legacy that one can be proud of.

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

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All photos by Pierre Crocquet de Rosemond, courtesy of Jeannine Du Venage

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

Meghan Daniels

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Meghan Daniels (b. 1993)
Cape Town

What kinds of things do you most enjoy photographing?

When people ask what I do, it’s difficult to say I’m a ‘photographer’ and that I ‘photograph’. I’ve always felt that my camera is an extension of myself in a sense — I don’t really see what I photograph as ‘subject matter’ but rather a collection of experiences that happen to take the form of a photograph. Basically, I guess I don’t care too much for photography but rather a sense of what I interpret to be honest.

I started off photographing as a sort of personal diary. I document those closest to me; friends, family, myself, and spaces that reflect a memory or what I am feeling in quite a candid yet intimate way. This all falls into themes of gender issues, sexuality, intimacy, relationships, love, hurt, mental health, recovery. I guess photography acts as a mirror of myself as well as the world around me.

Describe your photographic style.

Hmm, I’d say: uncompromisingly honest (or at least what I interpret honesty to be); candid yet intimate, gritty yet poetic, vulnerable yet unashamed, blurring the lines between voyeurism and ‘the personal’, snapshots that immortalise personal memories of people, places and certain times.

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’s my personal life that has influenced my photography as opposed to the other way around. Ah man, this medium has saved my ass throughout my life without me knowing it for the most part. It’s been a clutch, and a way to process a lot. I look back on some self-portraits, as well as my friends and I looking back at some portraits I’ve taken of them and we think, “shit, we’ve come a long way and we’re doing okay”, when at the time it may not have felt that way at all. I’ve also learnt a lot more about being still and humble through the medium.

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?

In my personal work, my approach is just capturing things as they unfold around me over time. For bodies of works – such as some documentaries I have worked on – the approach will be primarily based on research and participatory research methodologies with the people/person the work revolves around (although self reflexivity is always key, these bodies of work are not about the photographer’s agenda). And, in my commercial work, I always bring elements of honesty, grit, vulnerability and intimacy into my work.

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

Yeah, it is. I also work as a cinematographer.

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

I shoot mostly on my beautiful baby point-and-shoot Contax. I then jump to the opposite end of the spectrum with a medium format Mamiya.

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

I’m quite ‘to myself’ a lot of the time with one of those minds that is constantly looking/searching/staring, listening, processing and questioning. I am that friend who will stop you mid pertinent conversation to record a broken, flickering light. Basically, I think this means I find inspiration in a lot: staring out of windows, walking through the streets, driving (all over and everywhere), spending time with those closest to me, seeing the works of other South African creatives, South Africa and Africa in general, conversations, the internet, music and people who have contacted me saying that my work has made them feel less alone.

Other than that, it’s also more difficult events in my life that have motivated me to photograph — trauma, hurt, break ups (one in particular), etc, etc. You know how it goes.

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

Again, I’m always motivated by those mostly in my immediate circles. I road trip a lot around South Africa, sometimes with those I love to pieces and mostly by myself. This is a big motivator for me too.

In terms of photographers, I’ve been really inspired by Zanele Muholi, Nan Goldin, Eric Gyamfi, Mary Ellen Mark and LaToya Ruby Frazier. I’m also blown away by a lot of young, up and coming creatives in South Africa who I follow on Instagram. I feel like the medium is expanding and emerging in such interesting ways here.

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

Boxing & driving & writing & dogs.

Any tips for aspiring film photographers?

Some of the most beautiful moments will be those best not photographed. It’s important to put your camera down sometimes. And then, don’t objectify others or tell stories that you don’t have a right or place to tell. Stay close to your truth — it’s more interesting than you may think.

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

I’ll always continue documenting my life. Other than that, I’m working at pulling a focus on documentary cinematography work focusing on issues of gender, sexuality and intimacy. More importantly, I’m still figuring it all out and trying to keep my shit together when the occasional existential crisis visits.

Instagram: @meghan.daniels

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All photos by Meghan Daniels

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

Matt Slater

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Matt Slater (b. 1994, East London)
Cape Town

What kinds of things do you most enjoy photographing?

Whatever I find beautiful in some way. Something, someone or a place that I connect with. I particularly enjoy spending time in natural spaces like forests.

Describe your photographic style.

Archaic, romantic, melancholic.

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)?

Photography has had – and continues to have – a huge impact on my life and the way I see things around me. My personal life plays a large role in the work I make — in a way it’s a reflection of myself. Photography has allowed me to access a new way to view and engage with the world or this reality.

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 by definition about time. Traditionally photography was used to document and freeze a moment in time. Personally, I prefer work that seems timeless, and makes you feel something. I’m constantly making new work, and after a while it seems all the work groups itself together and begins to form it’s own category or a finished form.

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

I work at a photography college tutoring and occasionally lecturing. But yes, for me it’s all photography related; whether I’m doing product shots, shooting a small wedding or preferably, expanding my own work.

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

I use quite a few different cameras and they all have their specific purpose. I love to have the variety of perspectives, and it gets me to change my routine if things get a little stagnant. I use a Mamiya RB67 mainly, along with a Fuji GW670iii, Yashica T4, Polaroid 250 land camera, Diana F, an old box camera and some odd half frames and cheapies.

Film wise, I mostly use Ilford Delta 3200, HP5 and sometimes Delta 100. Along with Fuji FP100-C for the Polaroid. I use a variety of paper stocks in the darkroom — a personal favourite is Agfa Brovia.

Tell me more about your interest in the traditional darkroom – how has your exploration helped to build the unique look and feel to your images?

The darkroom is where I make 90% of the work. I love the hands on feeling of working with the images and chemicals, as well as the meditative environment of the darkroom. I’m able to experiment with new processes and use it as a place to isolate myself and create under the safe light.

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

Growth is key! The way I see it, I’m making the work regardless of what comes my way and I use that motivation to keep growing and evolving. Making work helps me grow personally. Curiosity is the motivation, I get very excited when I feel I’ve made a new and interesting piece or I see something in the work that I can explore more deeply.

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

Sally Mann, Jeff Cowen, Robert Adams, David Goldblatt, Dan Estabrook, Daisuke Yokota, Takashi Homma, Wolfgang Tillmans, John Gossage and Jungjin Lee. I also find William Basinksi and Brian Eno hugely inspirational.

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

I enjoy surfing. I would like to get involved in printmaking and publishing too, at some point.

Any tips for aspiring film photographers?

Constant practice, research and reflection.

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

I’ve got a book coming out soon called Efflorescent Cherry, published by Quiet Sun Books. I finished up a project from my recent residency at Amplify Studio, which manifested into an exhibition and a book. For the future, I hope to keep on making books and participating in residencies abroad.

Website: http://www.mattslater-photo.com/
Instagram: @mattsl8r

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All photos by Matt Slater

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

Touch | 004

A selection of books from South African photographers, in no particular order:

Golden Youth by Oliver Kruger (2015)

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Size: 24.5 x 30.5 cm
Hardcover, 74 pages
Four-colour printing

Text: Sean O’Toole
Publisher: L’Artiere (Italy)

“Golden Youth is not a document of any particular Joburg sub-culture, nor is it a study of consumerism. It does not explain the izikhothane, those cloth-burning youths from Soweto who are the latest subject of written enquiry by pedigreed explainers of things. Golden Youth is, quite simply, a portrait study of some Johannesburg youth at a very particular moment in time, the city’s time as much as their personal biographies.” 
“It is a very thin slice of people seen at a very specific time,” says Oliver. “It is not a broad statement about Joburg.” And yet, he concedes, the idea of Joburg is contained in every portrait. “This particular look and style could come from nowhere else.” – Sean O’Toole
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https://www.lartiere.com/en/shop/publications/golden-youth/


 

Subjectively, Objective (Volume 31) by Vincent Bezuidenhout (2017)

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Volume 31 of Subjectively Objective’s Mini Monograph series, featuring Vincent Bezuidenhout. Limited Edition of just 50 copies, now sold out.

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https://www.vincentbezuidenhout.com/
https://www.subjectivelyobjective.com/product/volume-31/


 

Twenty Journey by Sipho Mpongo, Sean Metelerkamp and Wikus de Wet (2015)

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In 2014, twenty years after democracy, three young South African photographers travelled throughout their homeland to examine to what extent Nelson Mandela’s vision had been achieved.

The year was a significant one to make a journey of personal and societal enquiry into what it means to be a South African; The nation’s guardian Nelson Mandela had most recently passed away, a new young and energetic political party had recently emerged in the EFF, and the 2014 National Elections were imminent.

Each photographer focused on a particular theme:

  • Wikus de Wet, an Afrikaner from Bloemfontein, looked to discover the relationship between land and the people who occupy it.
  • Sipho Mpongo, a Xhosa from Nqamakwe, documented the ‘Born Free’ generation – those born after the fall of Apartheid.
  • Sean Metelerkamp, an English-speaking South African from Knysna, sought to capture the idiosyncrasies – the alien and absurd realities of his country.

The diversity of each photographers cultural background, experience and chosen theme, collects fragments that together frame the realities of contemporary South Africa. Twenty Journey was funded by a successful Kickstarter campaign wherein 134 backers pledged $12,402.

Stretched out over 7 months, this sum enabled the photographers to travel in a motor-home and reflect the magnificently puzzled country that binds them.

First Edition limited to 250 copies (Sold Out)
90 pages, 260 x 182mm

Edited by Sarah-Claire Picton
Designed by Hanno van Zyl

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An award winning documentary, The Journeymen was also released.

https://www.twentyjourney.com/#overview


 

1991 by Kent Andreasen (2015)

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A self-published book by Cape Town photographer, Kent Andreaen (named after the year in which he was born). Featuring images shot between 2012 and 2014.

Colour Offset, Edition of 100
96 Pages, 15 x 24 cm

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http://w.kentandreasen.com/books/
http://10and5.com/2015/04/29/1991-a-book-chronicling-3-years-of-photographs-by-kent-andreasen/


 

The Southern Wild by Emile Kotze (2017)

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Published by ARTSKWL
Text by Haidee Kruger

“The Southern Wild is a project that I never really planned. I just started photographing again about two years ago and the book is what I have to show. It’s basically an exploration of the strange, found within the familiar South African landscape.” – Emile Kotze

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Previously self-published a book titled Cars & Bars in 2008.

https://www.instagram.com/mieliemile/
http://emilekotze.co.za/projects/the-southern-wild/


 

*NOTE: Not all mentioned publications feature film photography.

See more books & zines:
https://deadtownzine.wordpress.com/category/touch/

Niel Bekker (Bkkr)

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Niel Bekker a.k.a. Bkkr (b. 1983, Johannesburg)
Cape Town

What kinds of things do you most enjoy photographing?

I learned how to shoot from a war photographer, so at first I was only trying to take pictures as an observer or a historian. Then I discovered the fun of consciously “making” an image with another person.

The images that I’m drawn to most are nudes. It’s hard to explain, but let me try: when you put an apple on a well-lit table, there isn’t necessarily magic in the room. On the other hand, when a person is naked to the world, there is always some kind of crackling energy or magic or vulnerability in the room. And when you can capture even a bit of it with a camera, it’s fantastic. Like putting lightning in a bottle.

Describe your photographic style.

I suppose I see a tension between bodies as sculpture and bodies as the vessels of real personalities. There is also a sort of romanticism in my pretty scenes with pretty people, but also occasionally an eerie nod to the non-privacy of these moments (or at least I hope there is).

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’ve actually become more anti-photography the longer I’ve been taking pictures. Not everything should be photographed, some moments are meant to expire and are not to be shared. I’d like to think it’s made me more judicious about when it’s the right time to review/record/take stock of life, and when is the right time to live it.

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?

They don’t always create my best work, but I like to photograph in-between moments, before someone has a chance to think how to present themselves, or when everything is just in natural motion. Odd; I go to all this trouble to set up a scene, to plan and to pose, and then I want shots that look unplanned and un-posed!

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

No, I do far too many things for my own good. I also make cold brew coffee and manage a small co-working space.

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

I started shooting film with a Lubitel 166, but for the last few years my main camera has been the Hasselblad 500cm with a 50mm lens. It’s apparently not the “right” lens for portraits, but the locations I use are often cramped so I need something pretty wide. When there’s good sunlight, I also make sure to bring my Fuji Instax 210 for that Polaroid-y fun factor.

As for the film itself, I love shooting with Kodak Portra 400. I’ve just started experimenting with Ektar 100 as well, which has a completely different, harsher feel.

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

It’s always gratifying to share ones work with other people and see how they connect with it (or don’t!). The other thing that really propels you forward is learning – whenever I “get” something about retouching or scanning or lens craft for the first time, it feels like I’ve just grown taller as a photographer.

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

Helmut Newton and Ellen von Unwerth are the most formative ones – their pictures were these formidable constructs of femininity, not so much about their subjects per se. But, perhaps more inspiring, are all the photographers I’ve found on Tumblr and elsewhere on the internet. It was those internet weirdos that helped me realise that there was no reason why I couldn’t just start shooting my own stuff. Off the top of my head it includes Teknari, Clayton Cubitt, Ellen Stagg, Corwin Prescott, Akif Hakan, Bleeblu, Mikey McMichaels, Rick Ochoa and Pablo Anwar among others.

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

I play soccer as often as I can and I collect the nerdiest boardgames you’ve ever heard of. I like movies in foreign languages where nothing happens.

Any tips for aspiring film photographers?

Try not to focus too much on gear and just shoot! Oh and don’t be shy about approaching photographers, models, stylists, make up & hair people about collaborations, etc. – they’re usually very nice and the worst they can say is no.

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

I’ve been experimenting with some slightly more fantastical themes and it will be fun to see if I can make that work as well as my more natural-looking work. You’ll see some of that I hope when I exhibit again next year.

I have no illusions about doing anything particularly new in photography – I am just another “guy with camera” photographing women. But I do want to encourage everybody to start making things, bringing things that they like into the world. Making art or bread or even a garden is far simpler and far more fun than most people realise, but we always seem to wait for permission to take on the projects that we really feel something for.

Website: http://www.itsbkkr.com/
Instagram: @itsbkkr
Tumblr: https://www.itsbkkr.tumblr.com/

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All photos by Niel Bekker (Bkkr)

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