Capturing light, the path to documentary photography
The little farm my family ran was all I knew as I grew up in South Africa, running out looking for adventure in the bush. I loved the nature around me and I capture the light, people and surroundings which became the base for me as I took steps to develop my skills in documentary photography.
The first book that truly captured me was Roberts bird book, the first issue had painted birds in it, but later versions had colourful photographs and it furthermore made me appreciate good photography. As a young boy that grew up in Kwa-Zulu Natal near Durban, I started tracking animals and went birdwatching with my uncles. They worked within the tourism industry and often went to the game reserves so it was natural to developed an interest for animals both big and small.
SLR Camera and exploring light
I also remember sneaked into my elder sisters room, borrowing her SLR camera, in those days it was analog and film. With the camera I remember figuring out how to capture light, the beautiful african sunrise was magic and still makes me feel at peace.
I also spent many nights around a camp fire in the Drakensberg with friends, hiking in the mountains was another way of exploring and testing my limits. Watching or sleeping under the stars, always with the camera securely packed and ready to document my surroundings.
The Bang Bang club – documentary photography inspiration
Although I never did war photography as such, I was hugely inspired by The Bang Bang Club. It was 4 guys that went out to capture the transgression of South Africa with sometimes controversial documentary photography. Recently a movie came out about them and their work.
“One Life, Live it” just like Land Rover
Adventure is still calling and exploring the unknown, in South Africa it was mainly documentary photography that captivated me in the beginning, but I progressed to photographing my friends that came along on the weekend hikes and personal portrait photography was the next step.
As a young man I left South Africa in 2000 to work and explore new things in Europe, street photography was a new way of documenting the city of London.
I followed my heart, my motto that of Land Rover, “one life, live it” and today I have a defender that takes me where ever I need to go, travel photography.
Land Rover and my motto: “One Life, Live it” and I do it by capturing light, exploring portrait photography and documentary angle.
Becoming a photographer again
The idiot vs the photographer
For seven years I was staring into the computer screen, working my ass of for someone else in London.
The busy London life, stress and heartache that comes from running in the wrong direction. I am a nikon photographer, it was time to go back to basics and stop being an idiot.
Today I am still staring into a computer screen, the difference is and it’s a big one, I work for myself in Sweden and in South Africa.
I take photographs and work as a photographer.
There comes a point in your life, where you realise what an idiot you have been. I reevaluated the choices and made the decision to change in 2007 when I went full time as a photographer in London, England. I have found my mission in life, running my own business doing what I love, it hasn’t been easy. Several times I have asked myself if this is the right path to go.
In between countries
Living in London, I used it as our base while my wife ran a small independent Swedish Coffee shop. My photographs was displayed in Småland Coffee and we frequently traveled to both Durban, South Africa and Småland, Sweden to work as a wedding photographer.
Sure I still feel the stress, sometimes cursing the hamster wheel of a true workaholic.
Perhaps sometime in the future, sitting on my chair starring into the computer screen, I might look up and realise that I am still an idiot.
Life is precious, you only live once.
Perhaps I will create a new choice and a new direction when that day comes or I will be able to look back and see that the choices I have made has shaped me to who I am today, a creative commercial photographer.
Entrepreneurship and design goes hand in hand
I often found myself looking out of the window, the soft leaves that every spring sprung out from their buds.
The green grass in the peak of summer where the horses grazed.
A world of colour that came when autumn knocked on the door, the wind running through the hair.
Freezing cold feet and the relief of sitting in front of the fire with a hot chocolate in the darkest of winter.
Building blocks towards entrepreneurship and design
A creative child, holding tightly to a pen. I would make a name for myself as an artist they told me in school. The teachers would smile as illustrations of elephants, horses, houses, structures and people filled my papers. I even bought books to self study the anatomy of the body, typographic techniques, calligraphy, body language, animal behaviour, drawing technique and design.
Looking back, taking initiative, asking questions and being driven to excel in your chosen subject are characteristic of true entrepreneurship and design.
The digital media world, entrepreneurship and design
I knew at an early age that I needed a creative job with freedom to explore and shape, so I added extra lessons where possible in type writing, illustration, design, multimedia, philosophy and computer lessons.
But it wasn’t until later I realised that I wanted to run my own company and become an entrepreneur.
Languages was never my best subject in school, however I where able to write compelling stories but the grammar was never quite there. However the computers with spellchecker and grammar correction opened a new world and I still benefit from the early html lessons. I could see it clearly even then, the chosen pathway was made up early. The strategy was to develop skills in design, media, digital illustration and photography and much more.
The next step was to raise the grades in English to achieve my next goal, HyperIsland in Karlskrona, where I studied Design & Technology integrated with Project management, company- and marketing strategy. To furthermore enhance English I choose to work in England, London and it was here I met Kevin while working for Yahoo! Europe as a graphic designer.
The idea of running my own business took shape, the word entrepreneurship entered my vocabulary.
Starting and running my own business became part of my goal and vision, somewhere along the way I had to become an entrepreneur.
But I don’t think at this stage that I knew what shape or form I would have it running. I registered the first business in my name when I was 21 as a graphic designer. It was a hard learning curve and my first attempt failed, but I didn’t give up.
Service minded and customer relations
While thinking about what I wanted to do next I started to work in coffee shops, I realised to my pleasure and surprise that I was great at creating customer relations and whenever I was on shift the tip box was full.
I always wanted to provide the best possible service for my customers. Going the extra mile and enhancing the service with a wow-feeling no matter what the field I was working with, but the nagging feeling was still there, I wanted to be an entrepreneur no matter what.
I started up a Swedish independent coffee shop when I was 24 by London Waterloo, Småland Coffee, this time I had more experience, stamina and had a complete strategy and marketing plan. It was hard work being the director of a company, steep learning curves with stupid hours at the start, but I was stubborn, ambitious and I knew what I wanted. I did all aspects of the business but did out source the end of year and final bookkeeping.
The business became a success, I where able to step out of the operations and only manage it after a few years and later on I employed manager and staff. To prove the concept to both myself and others, I where even able to sell coffee shop as an ongoing business 6 years later.
Guidelines and Motto
I developed my own mottos while running the coffee shop, so if I got scared to do something or I had to do something I did not like to do I formulated my own guidelines and motto in this quote: “If you don’t ask, you don’t get”. With the added mindset that the worst scenario would be to get a no, and I have survived many naysayers.
To bridge and handle staff, coworkers, vendors and pretty much everything else I formulated this quote “If I don’t know about it, I can’t do anything about it!” I believe strongly that these two quotes has helped me overcome the biggest mountains and have made me take different routes to reach my goals, rather than to give up..
I learned to project manage myself and the business, create concepts and give me valuable experience for future work.
I was indeed an entrepreneur with a successful business to lean on for my portfolio and had achieved what I set out to do.
It’s so easy to be tangled up in your work, having said that being busy with work is an awesome, yes even addictive feeling.
We have done some great work for our clients this past year, some projects been re-design, other launches of brand new businesses and yet other returning clients that have realised and benefitted from photography and marketing images that tells a story and capture their core values.
So in the mix of work, life and personal projects we also need to look after our own business with the same care and love that we promote our client. We have just launched a re-design to our own website for Kevii Photography & Design, as we believe that a review and re-design are beneficial for the brand, concept and important strategic steps for any business, our own included.