Teresa Nel -In December 2009 I went on a bucket list trip to Antarctica and in November 2009, just before the trip I bought my very first SLR camera.
Upon my return from the trip I realized I paid a lot of money for the camera and that I better learn how to use it properly and so my photographic journey started. I am thus fairly new to the world of photography and my introduction to this was in the digital era with no experience in or exposure to the art of film photography.
As as newcomer to photography trying to learn as much as possible and not having access to formal training in photography I depended a lot on magazine articles and the internet in order to try and get an understanding of both the technical aspects of capturing images and developing these images digitally. I was instinctively drawn to black and white photography as I always found this much more simplistic and relaxing to look at. Black and white images in my opinion also send out a much stronger message than color images and I can relate to that.
While trying to understand all the aspects of photography I came across photographs that was taken using long exposures and these captured my interest as this type of photography further emphasized what I initially liked about black and white photography. Long exposure photographs give a dreamlike feeling to images and strips away further aspects in a photo that impacts on simplicity. I always experience a calmness both while I am busy taking the images and when I look at the final processed images.
Another element of my photography is that I love nature and love being out early mornings and late in the evenings with my camera. So in a sense I am much more into capturing what is offered to me by nature than spending time contemplating on how to set up a specific shot and controlling all the elements of that to get the perfect shot. Having said that I have to emphasize that you still need to get the best composition possible in the specific circumstances but I like the fact that each time I visit a place the shot will be different with a similar composition as nature will supply different types of weather and light and plant growth and so forth. These aspects and the fact that I do not enjoy the interaction with people while trying to get a shot of them is why I have no interest in photographing people.
The closest I got to a shoot that was set up was when I did the horses in the Camargue. These horses are handled by the guardians who chase the horses on the beach or through the shallow water for you to take photos of. What initially draw me to photographing these animals was the sense of freedom one experience when you see them running though the water or on the beach. Before this photographic experience I had very little contact with horses and while I was doing the shoot I was amazed at how easy it was to interact with the horses. So with this series of photographs I wanted to portrait both the sense of freedom of the horses as well as their power and interaction they have with each other. I thus tried to portray these elements in the series I did of these horses. This series have a slightly bluish tint as I wanted to emphasize a feeling of lightness and freedom and love.
I am from an arid area of Africa and my recent project is much closer to home. The Kalahari and arid areas surrounding it is the habitat of small animals called meerkats. They are specially adapted to living in the harsh desert environment. Dark patches around their eyes help them to be effective lookouts by reducing the glare of the sun, much like a baseball player who paints dark lines beneath his eyes. Their eyes also allow them to take in a wide angle view of the scene. This helps prevent predators from gaining an advantage by sneaking up. These animals further function in a closely knit family structures in which only the dominant couple in a meerkat family are allowed to produce pups. All the other family members however are actively involved in babysitting the pups. The family members will also give their lives trying to protect the young ones. I am now busy working on a series of images where I want to portray the concept of being a family unit amongst these animals. I am utilizing portraits of meerkats which are processes to look like old family photos. Hopefully these images will create an awareness of these animals to a broader based audience than what the standard nature photographs will do. [Official website]
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