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Why Photography

As a kid I smashed my father’s lens when I dropped his camera, unable to keep my hands off the fascinating object that held the stories of the places he'd been: mysterious, wild places that test the body and reward the mind. His nature photography of Namibia captured a raw beauty that made me eager to experience it. The camera became a symbol of exploration and discovery.

I don't need to travel to far-away places to explore (but do anyway). I’ve found that by slowing down and changing my perspective - sitting or lying down, climbing to a vantage point, or simply zooming in - the everyday world blooms with textures, colors and patterns (that patch of grass is a jungle if you look closely enough). A camera is a great tool for bringing together and documenting all these elements. I love how glancing at an image unravels a memory from years ago; one by one the senses from that moment bubble to the surface. I remember what I felt and how that memory connects to other parts of my story. 

Years after I bought my first camera, I discovered that my connection with photography has a longer story than I realised. On my father's side of the family I am related to James Gribble II, a well-known photographer in Cape Town and later in Paarl, where he started the Gribble Studio in 1888 and took thousands of photographs of local people.

I’ve been asked what I’m going to do with all the photos I take; well, there doesn’t have to be a purpose - I do it because it’s what I like to do and because I want to keep improving ('it is only by going through a volume of work that your work will be as good as your ambitions' - Ira Glass). Along with my writing and art, it’s part of what I find meaningful: to explore, express, document and share the experience of being alive.

Image by Emil Winther

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